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Yamaha Entertainment Group of America Launches Record Label

Chris Gero, founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America

Yamaha Entertainment Group of America, a new division within the Yamaha Corporation of America, is building a one-stop-shop record label. Yamaha Entertainment Group of America reports that it has built a full-service recording and video production studio in Franklin, Tenn., to support the new venture.

The new Yamaha Entertainment Group of America division oversees Yamaha’s artist relations departments in New York City, Nashville, Indianapolis and Los Angeles, which will continue managing the company’s affiliation with 3,600 artists and providing them with top-quality instruments, including grand pianos, for major motion pictures, national television shows, major award ceremonies and concert performances. Longstanding Yamaha artists include Elton John, Alicia Keys, Jason Mraz, Paul McCartney, Michael Buble and Sheryl Crow.

The new division will work with artists to record, produce, brand, publish, license, market, publicize and sell original audio and video content. Yamaha Entertainment Group of America will employ the services of Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA)—a leading distributor of independent labels—to market, promote and distribute its releases.

“For nearly five decades, Yamaha has been the world leader in artist endorsements. It was a natural progression to take the next step and provide what our artists needed at a critical time in music history,” says Chris Gero, founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America. “Our goal is to significantly enhance the services we provide, while maintaining the level of quality our artists have come to know us by. Not only do we stand behind the instruments our artists use to make music, but we also stand behind their talent.”

Yamaha Entertainment Group states that London-based rock band Leogun, which is affiliated with Elton John’s Rocket Entertainment Group, is releasing a five-song EP through Yamaha’s new division on October 16 and a full-length album in February 2013. Yamaha Entertainment Group of America says it plans to release five records per year, including upcoming projects in queue such as an album celebrating renowned bassist Nathan East.

“ADA is excited to partner with the legendary Yamaha Corporation of America and its new venture, Yamaha Entertainment Group,” says Kenny Weagly, Senior Vice President, A&R and Label Services, ADA. “We think that Yamaha Entertainment Group of America has a very exciting future, and they’ve already taken a promising first step in signing Leogun. This project is a great demonstration of how ADA is able to combine its distribution strength with its marketing and promotion resources to provide a wide-ranging solution for independent label partners such as Yamaha Entertainment Group of America.”

Yamaha has a vast artist roster and a history of producing concerts, recorded music and films for its own promotional initiatives. This tradition will continue to expand and develop with the launch of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America, including a special production surrounding Elton John and his Las Vegas residency. Yamaha Entertainment Group of America served a pivotal role in the development of Elton John’s Million Dollar Piano, an elaborate Las Vegas production that features a custom-designed instrument. The group has filmed a documentary about the making of the piano and the show and has been contracted by Elton John to produce the live DVD release of the show.

“I am extremely lucky with the people who work within the Elton John organization, many of whom, like Yamaha, have been with me for decades,” says Elton John. “I would definitely include Yamaha in my musical ‘family,’ and I am both pleased and impressed that they have seen the potential in Leogun, who are already signed to my management company, and have now signed the band to their new record label. I’m also impressed that in these difficult times Yamaha has the confidence and vision to start a new record label. Yamaha and I have a successful relationship based on mutual respect and an overwhelming love of music, and I am sure that their relationship with Leogun will be equally enjoyable and productive.”

“It was a natural evolution to form an in-house production company to better serve our artists and our company,” said Gero. “We look forward to providing fans with exclusive video content and to partnering with more artists like Elton to film high-quality productions of live shows and documentaries.”

Leveraging its longstanding relationships with some of the world’s top musical artists and key industry contacts, Yamaha Entertainment Group of America is able to offer exclusive autographed gear and unique packages, including backstage experiences and meet and greets. In addition to helping solidify and streamline the fans’ relationship with their favorite artists, Yamaha Entertainment Group of America also seeks to help build artists’ success as the music industry evolves. For a reasonable fee, Yamaha Entertainment Group of America can produce world-class music and promote it worldwide by leveraging the Yamaha brand. The goal of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America is to build long-term creative and financial success, provide consumers with high-quality content and music-related experiences, hold regular sweepstakes and host an online store that represents a global platform.

The first sweepstakes and promotions launched under the Yamaha Entertainment Group of America umbrella included “Promises and Lucky Breaks” with Jon McLaughlin and the “Summer Symphony Sweepstakes” with Sarah McLachlan. Each campaign included two components: the opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind product and a sweepstakes. Fans gained exclusive access to limited edition, signed Yamaha instruments and received the opportunity to win artist meet and greets and other personalized prizes.

“My relationship with Yamaha and Chris Gero over the past 10 years has been a true partnership,” says Sarah McLachlan. “The collaboration extends beyond providing some of the finest pianos in the world; including support for the causes I believe in such as providing instruments to the Sarah McLachlan School of Music. Yamaha Entertainment Group of America continues to support helping children find their voice as we work together to provide an exclusive fan experience.”

Other promotions, which are scheduled for rollout through the end of the year, hope to include John Legend, Young the Giant, James Taylor, Luke Bryan, Sara Bareilles, Greyson Chance, Michael W. Smith, Leogun and Elton John.

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