• R.E.M. Life’s Rich Pageant

    R.E.M.

    R.E.M.

    For those who are old enough to remember R.E.M.’s beautiful ballad “Fall on Me,” which was the soundtrack to my summer in ’86, Athens, Georgia great R.E.M. are releasing a 25th anniversary re-mastered version of “Life’s Rich Pageant.”  Teaming up with Capitol/I.R.S., this July 12 2CD release will have the works, including 19 previously unreleased demos plus liner notes from music journalist Parke Puterbaugh.

    R.E.M.’s fourth studio release was recorded in John Mellencamp’s Belmont Mall Studio in Indiana and was the first album to achieve Gold certification status.

    Contributed by Alex Espinosa, Audio Architect

  • Quiet but Busy

    muzak

    So you haven’t heard about the sale of Muzak to Mood Media for a while?  You aren’t the only one wondering.  Well, the process of getting this deal done is similar to closing a sale on your house… but this one is a whole lot more complex.  The Muzak and Mood Media parties involved in the sale might seem quiet, but they are very busy putting all the pieces together to what amounts to the biggest international event in the business music/media industry in over 75 years.

    The excitement in Muzak’s Home Office in Fort Mill is building every day.  As with any closing, it’s hard to predict when the sale will be final.  However, we can tell you that tentative plans for a closing announcement are being set for the next week or two.

    So stay tuned and we’ll let you know the second we get the scoop.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communications, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • The Numbers are Staggering

    Muzak Home Office

    As most of you have heard, Mood Media, a Canadian based, international business media company, is in the process of acquiring Muzak.  I took a little time this weekend to go over the numbers created by the combination of our two companies, and they are staggering.  Muzak already has the largest footprint in the US.  Now our combined presence internationally is amazing.

    Let’s explore some of those numbers (estimated):

    Muzak now Mood Media & Muzak after closing
    300,000 locations served 500,000 locations served
    7 country footprint 39 country footprint
    500 brands serviced 850 brands serviced
    $250 million in revenue $400 million in revenue
    $60 million in EBITDA $100 million in EBITDA
    2.9 million music tracks in library 4.5 million music tracks in library
    870,000 licensed music tracks 1.7 million licensed music tracks
    20,000 original recordings 30,000 original recordings

    The news marks a significant upcoming milestone in our 77 year history here at Muzak.  Our Fort Mill Home Office is buzzing because of the potential opportunities this brings to the company and its employees.  We still have a month or two before closing, but the excitement is real today.

    Click HERE to see Muzak’s official Press Release.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communication, Heart & Soul Foundation

  • Did You Hear the News?

    Image courtesy Brandon Schauf

    So what’s happening at Muzak you ask?  You’ve probably seen the headlines…

    March 24, 2010 (Charlotte, NC)—Muzak Holdings LLC (“Muzak”), a premier provider of music, messaging and video for business, today confirmed that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Mood Media Corporation (TSX:MM/ LSE AIM:MM), a leading in-store media specialist, for an enterprise value of up to approximately US$345 million.

    Yes, BIG news for Muzak and for our industry.  But what does it all mean?

    Since 1934, Muzak has been owned by a multitude of companies.   Initially the concept of Muzak was financed by the utility and telephone conglomerate, North American Company.  They had the music distribution vehicle (electric and phone lines), so it made sense.  In the late ‘30s Warner Brothers purchased Muzak because of their need for a movie soundtrack library.  William Benton, a marketing mega star, senator, founder of the Encyclopedia Britannica and visionary for Voice of America, owned Muzak from the early ‘40s thru 1957. He saw Muzak as a vehicle to offer communications solutions worldwide.  Muzak’s support of WWII both internationally and in the US delivered on Benton’s vision, as our growth continued.

    The Wrather Corp. purchased Muzak in 1957, followed by Teleprompter in 1972, then Westinghouse in the early ‘80s.

    Since the mid ‘80s, Muzak has been under the ownership of a series of financial institutions, including The Field Corporation, Centre Partners, ABRY Partners, and most recently Silver Point Capital.

    The pending acquisition of Muzak by Mood Media signals a huge change for us.  After 25 years of control by financial institutions, we will become part of a company that shares our passion to expand the business that we have loved for 77 years.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan, Company Communication, Heart & Soul Foundation

    If you missed the Press Release it is available HERE on our website.

  • SXSW Proves It Isn’t About the Money!

    Wealthy West at SXSW

    Wealthy West at SXSW

    So imagine yourself among tens of thousands of aspiring musicians, artists, industry experts, and enthusiasts as they gathered in Austin last week at the 25th anniversary of SXSW (South by Southwest).  My last count was over 3,000 music showcases, 100 presentations and panels, and more business meetings than this exhausted participant could even imagine.  Musicians were found playing in every corner of the city, traveling from across the world for the opportunity, the dream, to be heard.

    But why?  It has become a foregone conclusion that today’s musician, at almost every level, should not expect riches from this crazy business.  Big paychecks from tour dates and CD sales are long gone.  The term starving musician now applies to even the elite.  Members of legendary rock star Duff McKagan’s band Loaded, a headline act at SXSW, struggle to make rent each month in their shared apartments.  Loaded bassist Jeff Rouse quipped, “This is my dream job and I love it.  Duff is a great guy and treats his bandmates like gold, but the gigs just don’t pay much, and CD sales barely cover costs.”  Duff himself comments, “The business model has changed.  Back in my G N’ R days, the tours were a loss leader for CD sales.  Now, bands need to make the best they can from tour proceeds, after paying the agents, managers, roadies, staging and all the travel expenses.  I’m doing fine because of past endeavors, but I wish we could get more for the guys.”

    A local fan of Loaded stated after last Friday night’s gig, “Man I’d love to quit my job, join a band, live the life of a musician and make the kind of money these guys rack up!”  Turns out this fan was a top exec at a prominent Austin firm.  I advised that maybe he should keep his day job.

    At Muzak I am surrounded by employees with a passion for music.  Producers, editors, programmers, songwriters, performers and the list goes on.  Some of them have spent a career in the industry and others are working their way up the ladder.  We are of the fortunate few in the music business who are actually making a living doing exactly what we love.  For most musicians at SXSW, it’s clearly not about the money… because in most cases there is very, very little to be made.  It’s all about the love and passion for their craft and the belief that perhaps one day their music will make a difference.  It’s a lifelong quest to articulate reality, dreams, anger, desperation, love and hope, creating a body of work that will resonate with someone else.  That’s why SXSW remains one of the most relevant music festivals today.

    Contributed by Bruce McKagan

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