Audio News

Weekly Audio News for Jan. 26, 2005


Published on January 26, 2005

Concord Records Buys Fantasy Records
- Here’s one merger that should be a positive move for jazz fans and
audiophiles: Concord Records, which began 31 years ago as a small jazz
label in Concord, California issuing recordings from the Concord Jazz
Festival, has merged with Fantasy Records of Berkeley, California, and
the new entity will be called The Concord Music Group. Since moving to
Southern California Concord has expanded, issued many multichannel
SACDs, struck a deal Starbuck’s Hear Music, and had great success with
their recent Ray Charles Duets disc. Fantasy – who got their start
recording Dave Brubeck, Cal Tjader, and Vince Guaraldi – owns probably
the world’s largest and most important catalog of jazz, blues and rock,
and has been reissuing high-quality remasters from such great jazz
labels as Prestige, Contemporary, Riverside, Milestone, Galaxy and
Stax/Volt. They have been reissuing a series of classic jazz in stereo
SACD format. Their financial viability was assured by Creedence
Clearwater Revival – one of the most successful rock n’ roll bands of
all time. And the award-winning film Amadeus is their property.

Fantasy’s President Ralph Kaffel stated “…my primary concern was that
the acquiring entity should have the proper understanding and respect
for the treasure that we are turning over to them, and be willing to
perpetuate the historical legacy these catalogs represent…My
colleagues and I are convinced the Fantasy catalog is in very good
hands.” Norman Lear is one of the owners of The Concord Music Group.

DISH Systems Buys VOOM
- Cablevision Systems’ struggling satellite business, called Rainbow
DBS but promoted as the hi-def-focused VOOM service, has been sold to
satellite competitor EchoStar, which does business as DISH systems.
Charles Dolan founded both Cablevision and HBO and he had hoped to make
VOOM his third media sensation by offering many more HDTV channels than
either of the other two video satellite services. But the service,
which started in 2003, still has only 26,000 subscribers and Dolan’s
son felt it was a financial black hole and outvoted his father to sell
it to EchoStar for $200 million in cash. EchoStar said it would
continue to provide service to VOOM customers during the transition but
didn’t say what would happen after that. EchoStar also got VOOM’s
ground facility in Blackhawk, S.D. and federal licenses to build and
operate 11 new frequency channels.

For complete illustrated coverage of CES with a focus on the specialty audio exhibits, see EnjoyTheMusic.

- John Sunier




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