Warner Music buying Rykodisc

Warner Music is buying Rykodisc for $67.5 million. Rykodisc owns Frank Zappa’s catalog and controls Restless Records (Replacements, etc.). What’s going to happen to those green-tinted jewel cases?

4 thoughts on “Warner Music buying Rykodisc”

  1. Yep, another failed jaunt by William Hein. Who’s he, you ask? Well, in the ’80s, he started, helmed, and ran Enigma Records into the ground, leaving a lot of quality artists stranded. Then, he went to Disney’s Hollywood Records label, and apparently didn’t make enough money for them (otherwise, he’d still be there, and Hollywood Rec’s would be more than an asterisk on Disney’s bottom line). He then merged his Restless Records (the last reamining vestige of Enigma Rec’s) with Ryko and TwinTone. He had a few good signings (Joe Jackson, others), but the buzz was that the label wasn’t making cash, and had been up for sale for a while recently. So now Warners…

    I just pray that they don’t decimate the catalog, because even though Ryko doesn’t have Bowie or Costello anymore, they do have cool items in their catalog like Mission Of Burma’s back catalog and some choice Big Star releases. When Rhino was bought by WEA, they either chose not to renew licensing agreements or to just let some really key items go out of print. Rhino then became WEA’s reissue arm. And it’s not to say that there aren’t still really cool things in the Rhino catalog; there are just way fewer surprises. It would be a shame to see that happen to Ryko. Fortunately, labels like Norton have picked up the more daring side that Rhino used to uncover.

  2. According to the AP, William Hein is not losing his job: “Ryko CEO Sam Holdsworth, who was brought in by JPMorgan, will be stepping down, but Jim Cuomo, president of Ryko Distribution, and William Hein, president of the Rykodisc label, will stay on.”

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