Concord Music Group is an American independent music company based in Beverly Hills, California, with worldwide distribution through Universal Music Group. The company specializes in recordings and music publishing.
In 2019, the company shortened its name to Concord.
The company was founded in 1973 in Concord, California by Carl Jefferson, an auto dealer and jazz enthusiast. Jefferson produced the first Concord Jazz recording by guitarists Herb Ellis and Joe Pass. He named the label after the Concord Jazz Festival, which he had organized some years earlier. Jefferson sold Concord to Alliance Entertainment in 1994 and died the following year. In 1999, film/television producer Norman Lear and entertainment executive Hal Gaba purchased the company. In 2002, the label's headquarters was moved to Beverly Hills, California.
In 2004, Concord Records acquired Fantasy, Inc., owner of the Prestige, Fantasy, Milestone, Riverside, and Specialty, and the post-Atlantic Stax catalog. Concord then combined with Fantasy to form the independent Concord Music Group. Concord joined with Starbucks to release the Ray Charles album Genius Loves Company, which won eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. In 2005, Concord bought Telarc. On December 18, 2006, Concord announced the re-launch of the soul label Stax; rights to the name were formerly held by Fantasy. New signings included Isaac Hayes and Angie Stone.
On March 12, 2007, Concord Music Group and Starbucks jointly founded the Hear Music label. Paul McCartney's album Memory Almost Full was released in June 2007. Hear Music has released albums by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and John Mellencamp.
In 2008, Village Roadshow Pictures Group and Concord completed their merger resulting in the creation of the new diversified entertainment group, Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. In April 2010 it was announced that Paul McCartney transferred the distribution rights of his post-Beatles output to Concord from EMI.
Concord purchased Rounder Records in 2010. Distribution is mainly handled by Universal Music Group. In smaller markets, such as those in Africa and Eastern Europe, local independent labels that represent Universal license the catalogue. In 2012, Concord Music Group designated four distinct operating units: Fantasy Label Group, Rounder Label Group, Concord-Telarc Label Group and Prestige Group.
Esperanza Spalding was honored with the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011, a first for Concord. Concord artists won 8 Grammy Awards at the 2013 Awards ceremony, the most of any label.
On March 25, 2013, Wood Creek Capital Management,, purchased Concord Music Group from Village Roadshow Entertainment Group. On October 31, 2013, The Bicycle Music Company acquired Wind-up Records back catalog including the master recordings of 1,600 songs including albums by Creed, Evanescence, Seether and Alter Bridge. The Bicycle Music Company then cut a service agreement deal with sister company Concord Music Group to market the acquired Wind-up Records back catalog to retailers and consumers.
On July 1, 2014, Tom Whalley's label, Loma Vista Recordings agreed to a new multi-year, worldwide strategic partnership with Concord Music Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Concord provides funding for new talent relationships and artist development, as well as comprehensive label services for Loma Vista. On July 8, 2014, Concord Music Group announced the acquisition of the Vee-Jay Records catalog including over 5,000 master recordings from Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, Betty Everett, Jimmy Reed, Jerry Butler, The Staple Singers, Gene Chandler, and the Dells, among many others.
On April 1, 2015, Concord Music Group announced that it had acquired Vanguard Records and Sugar Hill Records from the Welk Music Group. Simultaneously, it was also announced that Concord Music Group merged with the Bicycle Music Company, a leading independent music publisher, record label, and rights manager to form the fully integrated recorded music and publishing company Concord Bicycle Music. Concord Music and Bicycle Music will operate as individual divisions within Concord Bicycle Music, with Concord Music Group being primarily responsible for recorded music activities and Bicycle overseeing publishing and rights management.