Jon Small, the producer of Garth Brooks’ recent concert in Central Park and the accompanying HBO special, has launched Paradise Music and Entertainment.
The move signals an expansion of his Picture Vision production arm into a full-service entertainment outfit that now boasts a record label and talent management company. The Picture Vision banner will become Paradise’s spot and TV production subsid under the new configuration.
Small said the concept for putting together several companies under the Paradise moniker stemmed from a need “to do something exciting” that would allow him to expand his horizons beyond his extensive production experience.
Among the first releases from Paradise’s new label, Push Records, is an album from Daryl Hall & John Oates, their first disc in seven years.
The pair were extricated from their Arista Records recording pact by Push Records chief Brian Doyle with funding from Small.
Doyle and partner Rick Flynn also oversaw the operation of All Access Management, which guided Hall & Oates’ career, among others. The management company was also incorporated under the Paradise banner.
Push, in which Hall & Oates also have an equity stake, inked a distribution deal with BMG and expects to bow around five albums annually.
The funds to pay Arista for Hall & Oates and fuel the expansion come from an initial public offering made earlier this year which has given Small the warchest to help the company become a major player in the vid and commercial production arenas.
The shift continues a 16-year run of directing and producing specials, docus and music videos for Brooks — Small also produced the country singer’s “Live From Ireland” spec which will likely air later this year — Reba McEntire’s NBC spec, Billy Joel’s “Live From Yankee Stadium” pic and vids from Public Enemy, John Fogerty and Trisha Yearwood.
Picture Vision has also done TV spots for clients as diverse as Napa Auto Parts and MCI.
“Going public has allowed me to invest in my own company while giving me the opportunity to help other directors develop their craft,” Small told Daily Variety.
He said the new structure will give the small staff of directors “a piece of the company” with stock plans and health insurance, benefits that most vets in the field must provide on their own or go without as the industry is composed primarily of freelancers.
“There are a lot of talented directors out there and I look (at the benefits) as a way of giving my directors one less thing to worry about so they can do their best work,” Small said.
He is also letting one of his directors, Michael Soloman, do a commercial on spec, something that Paradise can now fund. Solomon recently did a commercial for MCI. Picture Vision’s staff comprises directors Soloman, Jim Hershletter, Ken Ross and Pamela Springsteen, Bruce’s sister.
Small, who linked Paradise with commercial jingle house Rave, is also developing a pair of features.
He said now that work on the Brooks spec has concluded — it began more than eight months ago —he can concentrate on the next big event, which he said is “in the planning stages and is about to be signed.”