About-Face: Concord Moving To UMVD

In a last-minute switch, Concord Records has cut a U.S. distribution deal with Universal Music & Video Distribution (UMVD). The L.A.-based jazz label recently decided to exit its deal with Innovative Distribution Network (IDN) and was believed to be heading to WEA.

Concord, which agreed last month to purchase Fantasy Records, will begin releasing albums through UMVD on July 26. First up is a new set from the Elektric Band featuring Chick Corea; August will see the release of "Genius Loves Company," the last album from soul legend Ray Charles, who died June 9.

Concord's deal with IDN was supposed to run through March 2005. But the label is said to have paid for an early departure, in anticipation of the release of the Charles album and an upcoming new album from Barry Manilow.

If Concord closes its deal to buy Fantasy Records, the company will have annual revenues of about $30 million worldwide. But that number could escalate if the Charles or Manilow albums hit big.

Concord had been close to sealing a distribution deal with WEA, when UMVD put an offer on the table at the last minute. Now that Concord has secured U.S. distribution, sources say it may turn its attention to trying to find an international deal.


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