Wood Creek Adds to Music Holdings, Acquiring ConcordBy BEN SISARIO
The Concord Music Group, an independent music company with an artist roster that includes Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Creedence Clearwater Revival, has been sold to Wood Creek Capital Management, a private equity firm that has been quietly building a collection of music assets.
The label was put up for sale late last year by Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the media conglomerate that has owned it since 2008. The price was not disclosed, but was estimated at more than $120 million.
Concord, one of the world’s largest independents, has carved out a profitable niche by catering to adult tastes, with veteran artists and classic catalogs like Fantasy, with extensive jazz holdings as well as Creedence; Stax, the soul label; and Rounder, which released Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Grammy Award-winning album “Raising Sand” in 2007.
“A lot of people want to paint music with a broad brush, but that is really not the case,” Brett D. Hellerman, the founder of Wood Creek, said in an interview. “If your business is popular music for the 18- to 24-year-old demographic, that’s one business, but it’s not something we’ve pursued. If you’re sitting on a catalog of evergreen assets that has multiple sources of income, that is a different business, and that is one of the value propositions at Concord.”
Wood Creek, based in New Haven, also owns stakes in the publisher Bicycle Music and Varèse Sarabande, a record label that specializes in soundtracks.
Concord was founded in 1972 as a jazz label, and was bought in 1999 by Norman Lear, the television producer, and the entertainment executive Hal Gaba. In an industry obsessed with youth and minute-by-minute trends, it quickly became a leading force in providing music to grown-ups. Its long association with Starbucks included Ray Charles’s 2004 album “Genius Loves Company,” which won eight Grammys.
In addition to Wood Creek, the investors in Concord include two music executives associated with the company, Steve Smith and Scott Pascucci, as well as members of Concord’s senior management. The management of the company will remain in place, with Mr. Lear becoming chairman emeritus.
“This speaks loudly for independent music and for timeless music,” said Glen Barros, the chief executive. “For investors, what they are looking for is long-term value, and the music we make delivers that. It’s great music and a great investment, too.”