Concord Music Group Acquires Telarc International and Heads Up

The Concord Music Group today announced the acquisition of Telarc International Corporation. The Cleveland, Ohio-based Telarc has been a leader in classical and jazz recordings for over 25 years. Included in the transaction is Heads Up International, which became part of Telarc in 2000. Heads Up is known for its highly successful catalog of contemporary instrumental and world music. Following the recent acquisition of Fantasy, Inc, this transaction further bolsters the Concord Music Group as one of the world’s largest and most dynamic independent record companies.

Founded in 1977 by musicians and former teachers Bob Woods and Jack Renner, Telarc has amassed 46 Grammy™ Awards and a catalog of more than 1,000 master recordings ranging from classical and classical-crossover to jazz and blues, from such legendary artists as Dave Brubeck, George Shearing, Ray Brown, Andre Previn, and Oscar Peterson. The current jazz roster includes celebrated singer/guitarist John Pizzarelli and vocalist Tierney Sutton. Telarc’s extraordinary classical roster includes landmark recordings from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Artist-oriented and known throughout the industry for sonic innovation and super-high quality audio, Telarc became the first label to commercially use digital recording in 1978, and, in 1983, was one of the first to launch compact discs in a joint effort with Sony Corporation. In 2004, Telarc was named Label of the Year by Gramophone Magazine in the UK.

Heads Up International’s roster, headed by founder and label president Dave Love, includes internationally respected artists such as Spyro Gyra, Najee, Michael Brecker, The Yellowjackets, and highly acclaimed world music artists Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Hugh Masekela. Both Telarc and Heads Up have a significant number of recordings in high definition and Super Audio Compact Disc (SACD) format, based on the superior Direct Stream Digital recording technology.

The cultures of our companies are very similar and we see lots of synergies through the merging of our talented staffs and our mutual goals,” says Telarc president Bob Woods. “Glen Barros and I have known each other for some time and I respect the creative indie mentality our companies share, which allows us to respond quickly to the constant change and abundant opportunities in our industry. We’ll be a larger entity, but we won’t move slowly. Besides,” Woods added, “Telarc and Heads Up are certain that they will kick Concord’s butt in the company softball game.

Glen Barros, president and CEO of the Concord Music Group, said, “We are incredibly proud to welcome Telarc and Heads Up to the Concord family, as we truly admire these great labels. Telarc’s history of impeccable audio and musical standards has made it one of the world’s most respected independent labels and we are honored to be the ones chosen to safeguard this rich legacy. As with all great record companies, Telarc and Heads Up are built on a solid foundation of great artists and great people. We truly look forward to working alongside Bob Woods, Dave Love, and their talented team and know that they will make a great contribution toward the achievement of our mutual goals.” Added Barros, “The only thing I’m worried about is how Bob is going to take the news when he finds out that there is no company softball game.

The Concord Music Group is one of the world’s largest independent record and music publishing companies, committed to offering innovative, high-quality popular music. Concord Music Group’s family of labels includes Peak, Playboy Jazz, Stretch, Concord Picante, and Fantasy Records, which is home to such historic imprints as Milestone, Pablo, Prestige/New Jazz, Riverside/Jazzland [one word], Stax/Volt/Enterprise, Specialty, Takoma, and many more. The combined catalog features over 3,000 albums from such legendary artists as Charlie Byrd, Rosemary Clooney, Herb Ellis, Stan Getz, Mel Torme, John Lee Hooker, Little Richard, Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Thelonious Monk, Joe Pass, Art Pepper, Otis Redding, Vince Guaraldi, Sonny Rollins, Sarah Vaughan, Sam Cooke, Count Basie, and Creedence Clearwater Revival, just to name a few. In 2004, Concord Records, in association with Starbucks Hear Music, released Ray Charles’ final recording, ‘Genius Loves Company’, winner of 8 Grammy™ Awards including Album of the Year. The label’s current roster includes Grammy™ Award-winning artists Gary Burton, Chick Corea, Sergio Mendes, Ozomatli, Eddie Palmieri, and Poncho Sanchez, among many others. Peak Records, a joint venture with Concord, is an industry leader in smooth jazz and R&B and features a stellar artist roster including The Rippingtons, Gerald Albright, David Benoit, LaToya London, and Lee Ritenour.

Concord’s acquisition of Fantasy late last year paved the way for the re-signing of rock icon John Fogerty after years of estrangement from Fantasy. As founder and songwriter of the legendary band Creedence Clearwater Revival, and throughout a stellar solo career, Fogerty has written some of rock music’s most enduring classics such as ‘Bad Moon Rising’, ‘Proud Mary’ and ‘Fortunate Son’. ‘The Long Road Home – The Ultimate John Fogerty, Creedence Collection’, was released on November 1st, 2005.

Concord Music Group is owned by Act III Communications and Tailwind Capital. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. and JPMorgan Chase provided debt financing for this transaction.