by Michael Popke
After a decade of fits and starts, Italy’s Frontiers Records — a company that has long defined itself by giving such former major-label bands as Journey, Toto, Winger, Whitesnake and Asia new life — might (finally) have an anchored presence in North America.
Today, the label announced that Gentle Giant vocalist Derek Shulman’s 2Plus Music & Entertainment Inc. will coordinate artist acquisition and marketing for Frontiers on this continent and represent the label in its relationship with local distributors and promoters. Which hopefully means that Shulman and his associates will have better luck than the handful of other company’s Frontiers has struck deals with in the past. It should also mean that Asia’s latest CD/DVD, Spirit of the Night-Live in Cambridge 2009, will be readily available in stores and at a significantly lower cost than import prices online. (Right now, only select Frontiers titles make it to the U.S. as domestic releases, either directly via Frontiers or via poorly promoted partnerships with other labels.)
“It is very gratifying to work with people who are music fans and yet understand the dynamics of the ever-changing music business model,” Shulman said in a statement announcing Frontiers’ partnership with his New York City-based company, which formed in March. “Frontiers Records is committed to making the leap to become the premiere independent rock music company worldwide. I am very happy to lend my experience to my friends at Frontiers to realize this goal.”
If you have doubts about that ambition, consider that earlier this month, Frontiers announced the signing of Yes (looking rather dapper in that photo on the right) to a new worldwide deal. This is a band that has sold more than 33 million albums and boasts a history spanning more than 40 years. And they are working on fresh material for the first time in a decade. In prog circles, that’s huge.
Now, if only Shulman — who signed Dream Theater to Atco Records during his tenure as label president in the late 1980s and whose 2Plus roster also includes former Yes man Billy Sherwood — can help Frontiers nab the likes of Magna Carta and InsideOut refugees Kansas, Magellan and Enchant…
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