Concord Records To Exit IDN

L.A.-based jazz label Concord Records, which recently agreed to purchase Fantasy Records, is

L.A.-based jazz label Concord Records, which recently agreed to purchase Fantasy Records, is exiting its distribution deal with Innovative Distribution Network (IDN) and is believed to be headed to WEA, according to sources.

Concord has been searching for a new distributor over the last few months and while it is said to have chosen the New York-based distributor, it is not known if the deal has been signed yet.

IDN staffers were informed during a conference call today (July 8) that Concord would most likely exit the distributor by Aug. 1.

Concord's contract with IDN ran through March 2005. But the label is believed to have bought its way out of the remaining time on the contract in preparation for Concord's next major release: the late Ray Charles' final album "Genius Loves Company," a collection of all-star duets, due Aug. 31. Concord also expects to release new titles by vocalists Peter Cincotti and Barry Manilow this year.

The exit of Concord represents a major loss for IDN, the New York-based distribution arm of one-stop Alliance Entertainment. A source estimates that the jazz label represented nearly 50% of IDN's sales.

WEA would be the first distributor to reap the benefits of Concord's pending acquisition of Fantasy. Beating out several other bidders, Concord agreed to pay somewhere in the range of $83 million-$91 million for the Berkeley, Calif.-based company, which owns Creedence Clearwater Revival's masters and major jazz and soul catalogs. If Concord completes its acquisition of Fantasy, the label is expected to generate about $30 million in annual revenue, Billboard.Biz estimates.

The arrival of Concord will bring fresh blood to WEA, since the Warner Music Group family of labels has drastically downsized its efforts in the jazz genre in recent years.

Executives at Alliance, Concord and WEA were unavailable for comment.