(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Universal Music Group, the world's leading music company, and Concord Records, one of the world's largest independent recording labels, have entered into a U.S. distribution agreement. The partnership, which takes effect on July 26 covers Concord's family of imprints, including Concord Jazz, Concord Picante, Stretch Records, Peak Records, Feinery and Playboy Jazz.
Concord Records is set to release several highly-anticipated albums over the coming months, including the final recording from Ray Charles, "Genius Loves Company," which features 12 duets with Elton John, Norah Jones, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt and others. Also on the roster is the sophomore release from 21-year-old pop/jazz artist Peter Cincotti, who Concord took to the top of the Billboard charts in 2003; a new recording from Barry Manilow; and the first recording in 10 years from the highly-regarded Chick Corea Elektric Band. Universal will also take on Concord's current releases, including chart-hit, "Street Signs," from Ozomatli.
"Concord Records has emerged as one of the world's preeminent architects of today's adult music scene," stated Jim Urie, president of Universal Music & Video Distribution. "We are thrilled and honored that they will now be part of the Universal family of labels."
"As we move into the future, we look forward to working alongside such a tremendous organization as Universal; their market-leading position and enormously talented team will play a key role in achieving our present and future goals," says Concord President Glen Barros. "Throughout our 31-year history, Concord Records has been fortunate to have been associated with many great partners, and this new relationship with Universal is sure to be another magnificent collaboration. We are also grateful to our current distributor, IDN, for all of their efforts on our behalf. We have great respect and gratitude for their support over the years, as well as their commitment to helping us become one of leading independent labels in the U.S."
"Since its inception in 1969, Concord has passionately pursued its love for jazz and adult music," added Zach Horowitz, president & COO of Universal Music Group. "Over the years, it has created a dynamic roster of artists and collected a vast catalog of seminal recordings. Concord's recent success and growth initiatives demonstrates this unwavering commitment and love for the genre, and we expect even bigger things from them in the future." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen