Viastar Acquires Mastering Facility

Masterdisk includes six studios.

Viastar Corporation, a music, film, distribution and production company based in Mesa, Ariz., has acquired New York mastering facility Masterdisk.

For Masterdisk CEO Doug Levine, who has been with the six-studio facility since 1975, the acquisition is a timely shot in the arm as recording and mastering studios look for new sources of revenue.

"I need to be less dependent on being just a service business for the major labels -- which I'm not giving up," Levine explains. "I love to service the major labels, but we all know about the [music-industry] consolidation and reduction in artist rosters, so there's just less work to go around."

In recent years, commercial recording studios have implemented diverse strategies for keeping rooms booked, from launching production companies that develop and record artists and offering audio engineering classes to providing replication and graphic design services.

Though not alone, Masterdisk was in the forefront of this effort to diversify with its 1998 expansion into DVD authoring and mastering. Those services have since been supplemented with package design and replication, for CD and even vinyl.

"We're becoming a real one-stop," Levine notes.

An association with the multifaceted Viastar Corporation, he adds, seemed a natural fit.

"When Viastar came along," Levine recalls, "it became, 'If you want to be a one-stop, why not add distribution?', which is what Viastar offers. Besides distribution, they have their own labels and distribute labels who all need mastering and DVD services. That will all be funneled to us."

Masterdisk, says Levine, will essentially become Viastar's New York offices. A distribution deal for audio books on CD is in progress, he adds.

"This gives us a new opportunity to participate in the distribution of content," he says. "And it brings more service work and more streams of revenue. We're very excited about it."


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