The Concord Music Group today (4/14) announced the acquisition of Massachusetts-based independent music label Rounder Records. Rounder, celebrating its 40th year as the world’s leading American roots music label, is a major force in a broad range of musical genres including bluegrass, Americana, singer-songwriter, Cajun & Zydeco and children’s music. Rounder‘s catalog and current artist roster includes Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Béla Fleck, Steve Martin, Madeleine Peyroux, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson and children’s artist Raffi, to name a few. The acquisition of Rounder and its collection of over 3,000 masters combined with Concord Music Group’s rich catalog of more than 10,000 master recordings strengthens Concord’s status as one of the world’s most significant independent record companies, with a leadership position in multiple genres.
Rounder’s creative and marketing functions will continue to be based in Boston and its owners and founders Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton Levy will remain active with the company in a creative and advisory capacity. The company’s senior management will also remain in place: John Virant will continue as the President of Rounder; Sheri Sands will stay on as General Manager. Operating synergies will be achieved by combining the sales, administrative and support functions of the two companies.
Founded in 1970 by Cambridge folkies Irwin, Nowlin, and Leighton Levy, Rounder has been at the center of nearly all of the American roots revivals that have reshaped the music world in the last 40 years. The self-titled 1975 record by J.D. Crowe and the New South (featuring future stars Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice and Jerry Douglas) revitalized bluegrass and inspired such modern stars as Krauss, who is the most decorated female artist in the history of the Grammy Awards and has sold over eight million albums and DVDs. Her collaboration with former Led Zeppelin front-man Plant on the album Raising Sand was one of 2007’s major critical and sales success stories. The album was RIAA certified platinum in early 2008 and won five Grammy Awards. Rounder has also brought the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Mississippi John Hurt back to life. In addition, their work on anthologies from the Library of Congress and the Alan Lomax Collection has been universally respected.
“The combination of Concord and Rounder makes so much sense on a creative, strategic and cultural level,” says Glen Barros, President and CEO of the Concord Music Group. “With the addition of Rounder, Concord is gaining a magnificent catalog of recordings, the opportunity to work with more of the world’s most amazing artists and a company filled with some great people. Plus, Rounder’s uncompromising commitment to authenticity and intense independent spirit is perfectly in line with everything that Concord is about.”
Norman Lear, Concord Music Group Chairman and co-owner added, “We couldn’t be more honored to join together with Rounder in our collective mission to deliver great, timeless music.”
“For us, it’s always been about the music,” says Rounder’s Leighton Levy. “We have long been aware of Concord’s commitment to great catalogue labels within a vibrant and contemporary independent context, and feel the Concord Records Group provides not only a great home for our music and artists, but also a stronger and more secure position going forward.”