The Music Group, a management and publishing arm of Joe Isgro Prods., has merged with City Lights Prods, of New Jersey to form Highway 33 Records. Isgro, who was at the center of last year’s highly-publicized payola trial, will serve as the new venture’s prexy and chief operating officer.

Music Group’s Stu Ric will be Highway 33’s senior v.p. Joe Venneri, who supervised the building and operations of City Lights, will become president of productions. Label plans to use independent distribution.

City Lights houses a recording studio and plans to add a second, along with soundstages for film and video production.

Isgro Prods, recently announced its entry into the film industry with productions of “Hoffa” and “The Man Who Made It Snow.” Isgro will serve as exec producer on both films, sharing the credit with Edward Pressman on “Hoffa.”

All charges against Isgro in the payola trial, alleging violations of racketeering statutes, were dismissed last year.

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