Billboard Magazine 3rd July 1982 - v. 94, no. 26, page 39.
Billboard Magazine 28th September 1985 - v. 97, no. 38, page 40.
PRIVATE MUSIC, launched recently in New York by Tangerine Dream’s Peter Baumann, offers another CD success story. An ambitious, alternative instrumental pop line, the company has shipped its four initial album releases as cassettes and CD’s, with LP versions only now due to reach the pipeline.
Despite little obvious commercial cachet or ripe airplay, we’re told the initial CD stock on Private’s Jerry Goodman, Patrick O’Hearn, Etosha, and Piano One albums is already gone, with distributor Intercon Music Corp. hoping to land its first reorder shipment in the next two weeks.
Those who heard the label’s cassettes can attest to the high standards set by the fledgling firm, which clearly intends to push for audiophile performance. Analogue tapes we’ve sampled are first-rate transfers on chrome tape, using clear Shape shells. CDs are being pressed by Sanyo in Japan.
Billboard Magazine 19th October 1985 - v. 97, no. 42, page 29.
Avant-Garde Label Seeks Unconventional Visibility
BY STEVE DUPLER
NEW YORK Alternative marketing and distribution channels are playing a major part in the success of Private Music, the independent, “new age” instrumental label founded three months ago.
The company’s avant-garde, “image music” Compact Discs, cassettes and vinyl are carried in traditional record/tape outlets around the country. However, Private continues to set great store in the efficacy of trendy clothing boutiques, galleries and bookstores in moving product and establishing a positive image. The label says it also does well with its direct mail sales and regional distributors.
“We’d hoped from the beginning we’d be able to sell through these outlets,” says Jeff Klein, Private’s general manager and marketing director. “They offer a good opportunity to listen to the music, and the customers are already in a buying mood when they come in.”
A sampling of non-traditional retail outlets stocking Private Music product includes the seven-store In Gear clothing chain, based in San Francisco: the Dallas-based Arresta boutique; Japanesque, a “high-end design shop” in San Francisco; Domus in Salt Lake City; and the Charivari boutique on 57th St. here, which also carries Private’s line of clip compilation videocassettes, priced at $19.95.
“Charivari sold over 1,000 pieces of our product in about three months,” says Klein. “For just one store, that’s highly significant.”
Private recently concluded a deal with Milwaukee-based new age distributor in bookstores and other non-conventional retail outlets. The label’s regional record/tape outlet distributors are Precision Sound Marketing for the West Coast and Southwest, MS Distributing for the Central and Southern markets; Important Records and Intercon Music on the East Coast, and Backroads for the state of Colorado.
On the advertising and promotion side, the label recently bought into a Licorice Pizza co-op ad campaign, as well as a co-op arrangement with all seven Rizzoli book stores. In the latter deal, print ads are running in Costa Mesa, Dallas and Chicago. Here and in Boston, the co-op intervolves cable tv spots with excerpts from the three Private Music clips. “We’re also getting windows in all the Rizzoli stores this week,” Klein says.
Private has also been a steady trade and consumer advertising support for its first four releases: a sampler album titled “Piano One”; “Etosha,” a collection of Fairlight compositions by Sanford Ponder; Patrick O’Hearn’s “Ancient Dreams,” and former Mahavishnu Orchestra violinist Jerry Goodman’s “On The Future Of Aviation.”
“We’ve gotten tremendous response from both the trade and consumer,” says Klein, adding that label plans are to continue regular ad programs, and to expand in both cable and print co-op advertising.
When Private issued its first four releases in September, the company was billed as a specialty high-end all-CD and chrome cassette label. Klein says the CDs were quickly sold out. About eight weeks ago, Private began pressing vinyl in order to “keep up with the demand for product.” The label uses audiophile vinyl pressed by Electro Sound.
Internationally, Private is expanding as well. A Japanese distribution agreement is due to be signed this week with Alpha Records, which also distributes A&M (and of course, Windham Hill) product.
Private has licensed Japanese distribution of its videos to Pioneer’s Laserdisc Corp. Tokyo Television has already aired the clips several times, according to Doreen D’Agostino, Private’s vice president for promotion and artist relations. She says the label is “still talking” with a number of firms regarding a European distribution arrangement.
Private has six releases planned of the coming year, two each quarter. The first two, slated for February, are Lucia Hwong’s “House Of Sleeping Beauties,” produced by longtime Phillip Glass producer Kurt Munkasci, and Eddie Jobson’s “Theme of Secrets,” produced by label president and founder and ex-Tangerine Dream member Peter Baumann.
“Everything has just moved forward a lot quicker than we had anticipated from the start,” says D’Agostino. “We expect to be turning a profit by mid-1986.”
One issue Private has already been forced to confront is just how independent the label will remain. Klein and D’Agostino say the company has been approached by “quite a few” major labels with a distribution deal in mind. So far, the policy is to watch and wait.
“We’re not closing the door to a major distribution deal,” says D’Agostino. “We might be open to a p&d deal, but it’s important for us, to maintain strict control over our creative and technical standards.
Billboard Magazine 14th Dember 1985 - v. 97, no. 50, pages 6 and 69
Billboard Magazine 8th March 1986 - v. 98, no. 10, page 44
Billboard Magazine 24th June 1986 - v. 99, no. 21, page 57
New Age Music - Major Labels
RCA also distributes Private Music, which signed a distribution agreement with the label in July. “This obviously will give us a stronger presence in the retail stores and regular distribution,” says Peter Baumann. He estimates that about 10% to 15% of Private Music’s sales occur outside of mainstream record shops (including direct mail).
Private Music currently has eight releases, including Jerry Goodman’s “On The Future Of Aviation,” Lucia Hwong’s “House Of Sleeping Beauties,” Leo Kottke’s “A Shout Toward Noon,” Eddie Jobson’s “Theme Of Secrets” and works by Yanni, Patrick O’Hearn, Ryuchi Sakamoto and Sandford Ponder.
“And we have recently signing with Ravi Shankar for two albums,” says Baumann. “He’ll be working a lot with synthesizer – it won’t be typically classical kind of Indian record.”
Baumann plans a series of live concerts in 1987 to showcase his “contemporary instrumental” artists and has already directed lush, beautiful videos for Goodman, Hwong, Ponder, O’Hearn and Jobson. “I think the videos helped us establish the style of Private Music and they’ve been shown a lot at record stores and conventions.
Billboard Magazine 26th October 1986 - v. 98, no. 43, pages N22 and N5
Billboard Magazine 27th December 1986 - v. 98, no. 52, page 56
TID-BEATS: Private Music honcho Peter Baumann is dipping his toe in club waters by launching Max-Bilt, a dance indie based in Los Angeles. Though Baumann will sit in the top seat at both labels, the two are not connected in any other fashion.
Billboard Magazine 8th May 1993 - v. 105, no. 19, page 27.
Acquired by BMG, Private Music Begins A New Age
BY DON JEFFREY
NEW YORK – BMG has acquired Private Music, the eclectic label in which it held a 50% stake, capping a relationship that started with a distribution agreement seven year ago. Financial terms were not disclosed
West Hollywood, Calif.-based Private Music has enjoyed its biggest success with Yanni, the new age star whose 10 albums have reportedly sold 5.3 million copies in the past six years.
Other artists on the 11-act roster include Taj Mahal, Patrick O’Hearn, Leon Redbone, the Pahinui Brothers, Toots Thielemans, A.J. Croce, Eliza Gilkyson, and Jennifer Warnes. In the first quarter, the imprint is releasing albums by Leo Kottke, “Peculiaroso,” (produced by Rickie Lee Jones) on Feb. 1; Yanni, “Live At The Acropolis,” March 1; and Etta James, “Mystery Lady,” (a collection of Billie Holliday songs), March 1. The company is currently working two albums that have been nominated for Grammys this year: Taj Mahal’s “Dancing The Blues” in the traditional blues category and Yanni’s “In My Time” in new age.
BMG has distributed Private Music’s recordings since 1987. Two years ago, the major acquired a 50% stake and formed a joint venture.
Private Music was begun in 1986 by Peter Baumann, a former Tangerine Dream keyboardist for the new age band Tangerine Dream. He and his family owned all the equity in the company. Baumann will serve as “creative consultant” for the label.
Operating the label for BMG will be Ron Goldstein, Private Music’s president/CEO. He joined the label seven years ago from Island Records, where he was president.
Goldstein says, “BMG was very happy with the new direction Private Music has taken. We were new age in the beginning, and now we’re more roots-driven. We’ve created a niche in the marketplace. There’s a credibility about Private Music, a style, a cachet. And we showed them we knew how to run a record company.”
He says that BMG ownership “sets up a situation where we have financial resources we didn’t have before.” He explains, “Making this transition from a new age to an eclectic roster, you could fall on your face. It took some financing.”
Goldstein says he does not foresee a change in the label’s direction, but rather an “expansion” of its current efforts. Citing the signing of A.J. Croce, he asserts, “We’re looking to get younger artists.”
BMG has joint equity ventures with a number of small labels, including, including Imago Recording Co., Windham Hill Records, Reunion Records, Discovery Music, Zoom Express, and Jive. It wholly new label groups include Ariola, Arista Records, RCA Records, Zoo Entertainment, and BMG Classics. BMG is a subsidiary of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann.
Billboard Magazine 5th February 1994 - v. 106, no. 6, pages 2 and 92.