Private Music has been acquired by the Bertelsmann Music Group, giving the niche record label the financial and marketing support of a major, but without the headaches.Founded eight years ago by musician-producer Peter Baumann, who is perhaps best known as one of the early members of the groundbreaking Tangerine Dream, Private is an adult alternative music success story. Widely known as the record label of Yanni, the popular New Age artist who has successfully translated into big-league record sales and sold-out concert stops, Private has made a market of niche releases. Successful albums from Tangerine Dream, Leon Redbone and Jennifer Warnes have helped the label shed the new age moniker, evolving into the NAC (New Adult Contemporary) marketplace with a combination of old and new. Releases from Ringo Starr, Taj Mahal and A.J. Croce have also shown the label’s interest in signing a diverse contingent of artists. “The deal preserves our autonomy,” said Ron Goldstein, president and CEO of Private. “Not only does BMG see there is some profit here, but we also take some chances. We’ve made the transition from New Age label into a more eclectic label. (BMG hasn’t) looked over our shoulder once in the past two years.” Baumann sold 50% of his stake in the label to BMG in 1992, and recently decided he had fulfilled his goal of establishing a successful record label. “I am fulfilled, as an artist, having had the opportunity to start a record label and nurture its growth,” Baumann said. “My job is now finished.” Baumann will remain a consultant to the label, and has not announced his plans for the future. “BMG’s relationship with Private Music has been an evolutionary one,” said Michael Dornemann, BMG’s chairman and CEO. “I am enthusiastic that we will be supporting and sharing in (its) future successes.” The label expects to announce shortly a number of deals and new artist signings.
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