LIBERTY MEDIA TO BUY INTO TODD-AO, SOUNDELUXLast month we reported that Todd-AO, the world's largest independent provider of sound services for the entertainment industry, had purchased Sound One Corp., New York's leading sound for picture facility. Well, things have been busy at Todd, as this month we report that Liberty Media Corporation, a division of AT&T, has signed a letter of intent to acquire control of Todd-AO Corporation and Soundelux, one of the world's leading sound editorial companies. A definitive agreement was expected by August 31. The deal is expected to be complete by year's end.
According to the proposed deal, Liberty Media Group will acquire 50% of Todd-AO's outstanding Class A common stock and 100% of its Class B common stock for the issuance of 2.5 million shares of Liberty Class A common stock. Liberty will own roughly 57% of the equity and 82% of the votes of Todd-AO. Similarly, Liberty will acquire approximately 55% of the equity and 92% of the votes of Hollywood-based Soundelux in exchange for the issuance of nearly 1.9 million shares of Liberty Class A common stock.
"Liberty is very excited about leveraging the creative relationships and technological innovations that have been the foundation of Soundelux," says Jeffrey Edell, president and CEO of Soundelux Entertainment Group. "We expect to continue operating the business as we have in the past and look forward to an efficient working relationship with Todd-AO."
Todd-AO, which did not buy Soundelux as was widely rumored when the news broke, seems to be one step closer to its goal of globalizing its post-production resources. The company currently maintains facilities in Los Angeles, New York, London and Atlanta.
Soundelux, which recently purchased exhibition company MTS, maintains offices in Hollywood, San Francisco, Orlando and New York.
CHET ATKINS KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR 107th AES CONVENTIONThe 107th Audio Engineering Society Convention comes to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City this month (September 24-27). Convention co-chairpersons Kathleen Mackay and Doug Cook, and AES executive director Roger Furness, announced that country music legend and audio pioneer Chet Atkins will present the keynote address. Atkins is a 14-time Grammy winner, nine-time CMA Award winner and has produced and helped develop such legendary artists as the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. While manager of RCA in 1957, Atkins helped design RCA's well-known Studio B.
The theme for the show is "Advancing the Art of Sound-Leading the World of Audio in the 21st Century." Forward-looking workshops will cover topics like "What Format Should I Record On?" "Wireless Technology," "Advanced Networks for Post Production Audio" and "Computer & DSP Based Systems Design & Control." Additionally, a set of workshops will focus on audio trends.
Special Events chair Lisa Roy introduces the AES Platinum Artists Series: High-profile producers, engineers and artists will discuss the challenges and opportunities of collaborating within today's technology-intensive studio environment.
Papers chair James Johnston has developed 17 sessions, including "Room Simulation for Multichannel Film & Music," "Optical Microphone's Breakthrough," "Convergence of the PC & the Audio Production Facility (Technology, Trends & Predictions)" and "Understanding the Performance of Multimedia Communications."
Also announced: Sony Corporation chairman of the board, Norio Ohga, will receive an honorary AES membership. The presentation will occur during opening ceremonies.
INDEPENDENT ARTISTS RIGHTS GROUPS PROTEST SDMIMusicians United (a non-profit organization advocating the rights of online music artists), in association with TIMPANI (Truly Independent Multimedia Artists Network International) and FREE-MUSIC.com launched the Art-to-Heart Open Music Format Initiative to protect the Fair Use rights of consumers and artists to encrypted music.
The group issued a statement that the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI) threatens to deprive consumers of the Fair Use rights granted them by Congress and the U.S. Constitution. (Referencing a 1984 ruling by the Supreme Court: "All reproductions...are not within the exclusive domain of the copyright owner; some are in the public domain. Any individual may reproduce a copyrighted work for 'fair use'; the copyright owner does not possess the exclusive right to that use.")
The group also alleges that the SDMI may have an adverse effect on the independent music industry, saying that possible high fees required to create SDMI-compliant files may prevent independent music artists from distributing their work in SDMI formats. The group believes that if vendors cease supporting open formats, SDMI will control the system of online music distribution, marginalizing independent artists in the Internet music economy.
Art-to-Heart posted an online petition at www.free-music.com/petition. art2sign.html, urging vendors to support open audio formats. The organization stressed that this initiative does not encumber the ability of SDMI supporters to distribute copy-protected music, but that it protects the rights of those who lawfully distribute music in open formats.
CORRECTIONIn the August issue of Mix, in the TEC Awards Voter's Guide, incorrect credits were listed for Sony Music Studios in the category of Mastering Facility. The correct credits are Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication, Herbie Hancock Gershwin's World, Tom Petty Echo, C Note Different Kind of Love, Celine Dion These Are Special Times, Let's Talk About Love, Fountains of Wayne Utopia Parkway, Jeff Buckley Sketches Of?, Miles Davis Complete Miles, Gil Evans Box, Sessions at West 54th and Harry Connick Jr. Come By Me.
The credits listed were mastered by Future Disc Systems (Practical Magic soundtrack), Masterdisk (DMX Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood), MasterVoice (Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival), Ocean View Digital (Meet Joe Black soundtrack), Powers House of Sound (Lauryn Hill The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z Hard Knock Life), and Sterling Sound (Erykah Badu Live).
Mix apologizes for the oversight.
In "Hot Off the Shelf" (July '99), we inadvertently printed the wrong phone number for Apogee Electronics. The correct number is 310/915-1000.
A limited number of seats are still available for the 15th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards, to be held Saturday, September 25, at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Master of Ceremonies Father Guido Sarducci is back by popular demand and will host the evening's festivities, which include the induction of Tom Dowd into the Hall of Fame and Sting receiving the Les Paul Award.
Several more companies have joined the TEC Awards as sponsors. They include Kurzweil Music Systems (Gold), Shure Bros. (Gold), Warner Music Group (Gold), Neutrik USA (Silver), Tascam (Bronze), Westlake Audio (Bronze) and Ultra Sound/Pro Media (Bronze).
For ticket information, call Karen Dunn at 925/939-6149.