Concord Music Publishing’s purchase of the classical-focused Sikorski Music Publishing Group continues the extraordinary history of acquisitions which has seen Concord advance from a backroom, part-time business to a world leader in its field in under five decades. Sikorski is especially but by no means exclusively renowned for holding the rights to major works by legendary 20th/21st century Russian composers. The Hamburg-based, family-run business will now sit alongside prestigious UK music publisher Boosey & Hawkes in the Concord stable. Those Russian composers range from Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Schnittke to the likes of Sofia Gubaidulina, Giya Kancheli and Lera Auerbach.
Concord’s founder, in 1973, was car dealer and jazz fan Carl Jefferson, a resident of Concord, California. His establishing of the Concord Jazz recording label was the tiny first step in the subsequent creation of a recording empire now embracing a string of labels. Along the way, Concord developed a major music publishing arm (today embracing close on 400,000 copyrighted titles) and an additional speciality in theatre.
Concord’s global music interests have been dominated by the popular (but multi-genre) end of the spectrum. However, in June 2017 the company acquired music publisher Imagem, which had bought Boosey & Hawkes in 2008, thereby drawing a line under an extended troubling trading period for the company.
CM understands that the Sikorski family had been seeking a suitable buyer for more than four years. The deal whereby Concord has now made the purchase followed promptings by John Minch, head of Boosey & Hawkes and president of Concord Music Publishing, Europe. Part of the process, he says, was persuading Concord of the potential of the classical music dimension it had acquired by purchasing Boosey & Hawkes as part of the Imagem ‘job-lot’.
‘The point about classical music publishing,’ says Minch, ‘is that the income generated via live performances of copyright works is stable and predictable – it doesn’t fall prey to fashion, as can be the case with other branches of music. A major proportion of that income as far as Boosey & Hawkes is concerned comes from contemporary repertoire.’
Minch thereby dismisses any suggestion that the Concord/Sikorski deal reflects a need to combine in order to weather tough times for classical music and publishing. ‘Classical music is in robust shape,’ he insists, emphasising the potential for developing online streaming opportunities under the Concord umbrella in the years ahead. ‘Classical music has in many ways been slow to embrace new technology, but things are set to really move now.’
At Concord, chief operating officer Glen Barros emphasises his company’s belief in the market for classical music. ‘We’re looking for opportunities to expand our presence in Europe and other international markets. As a result, the acquisition of the Sikorski business really is a perfect fit.’
For Sikorski, managing partner Dagmar Sikorski reckons there could not be ‘a better home for our family’s legacy of classical assets. Our decades-long, deep relationship with our composers is something of which we’re highly protective. We’re confident that these composers will be well looked after by the Concord and Boosey teams.’