Classical label Naxos has bucked the trend for 20 years. An article covers their history and strategy.
Just over 20 years ago Klaus Heymann, a German-born entrepreneur resident in Hong Kong, did a favour for a business friend in Korea, an arrangement which went pear-shaped and landed Heymann with a product that he hadn’t particularly wanted.
For his Korean colleague, Heymann, who already had considerable experience in the music and audio business, secured the rights to the masters of some 30 digital recordings, which were intended to be manufactured for door-to-door sales in Korea, a big business in that country. Too late in the deal, the friend realised that he didn’t have the manufacturing capacity or the money upfront to finance the project.
Heymann, who had started a record label called Marco Polo, decided to use the digital masters to launch another business in the then-young CD market, and do something unprecedented – undercut every other company in the blatantly overpriced recording industry and create a budget label where expensive CDs would be sold at the price of an LP record: Â£4.99.