Thursday, August 12, 2010

Naxos Will Distribute Warner Classics CDs in US

Naxos will start distributing Warner Classics CDs here in the US, starting September 1. There is no digital component to this deal, and it looks as if Warner's plan is to offload this expensive, shrinking revenue stream to the independent company so that it can focus on other things. As John Kelleher, head of Warner Classics and Jazz puts it: "(this deal) enables Warner Classics to re-focus our efforts on growing our digital business in the region, as well as bolstering our A&R activities."

To anyone paying close attention, this isn't a surprise. In a conversation with Tim Smith of the Baltimore Sun, Naxos founder Klaus Heymann let it slip that this deal was done. Naxos has been growing stronger as a distributor over the last five years or so, particularly here in the US. And classical divisions have been the ugly stepsisters in major label families for a couple of decades.

Major labels have always looked down on the upstart Naxos, and it's hard to say whether this is indicative of how far the latter has come, or how far Warner has fallen.