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Century Media in sale negotiations with majors

By | Published on Friday 6 March 2015

Century Media

Century Media founder Robert Kampf is currently in talks to sell the metal label to one of the majors, he has confirmed in an interview with Metal Sucks.

Rumours that the label was up for sale began to circulate last month, coming just over a year after the death of co-founder Oliver Withöft and 27 years since the independent record company was launched.

Kampf admitted that Withöft’s death did have something to do with the decision, adding that him now owning the company outright – having bought his former partner’s stake off his family – also made the prospect of selling a simpler proposition. He also said that, due to changes in the record industry in recent years, he felt that the company would now be better able to survive as a subsidiary of a major.

“I think Century Media, or any indie label – which is going to lose a lot of its sales due to the changes in the industry – will have a much better chance to shine within an organisation like a major”, he said. “Every music company in the future has this problem: whether it’s Spotify or Beats or whatever comes along, those changes will be difficult”.

The company has had run-ins with Spotify before, of course. In 2011, the label pulled its entire catalogue from the streaming service, saying that it “isn’t the way forward”. It returned a year later, saying that it now felt that “both the artist and the fan are being fairly served by this developing platform”, but it would seem that Kampf still has his reservations.

As for which major Century Media might align with, Kampf is unsure. The company already has distribution deals with Universal’s Caroline International and Sony’s RED, while the company’s lawyer Dave Stein is now VP of Business And Legal Affairs at Warner’s Alternative Distribution Alliance.

“We have friends in all three operations, and would be comfortable with all of them”, said Kampf. “The easiest for us would be Universal, since we are distributed by Universal in all of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and countries in the Middle East and so on. They would be the easiest. Sony would be an equally easy change in those territories serviced by RED Distribution (the US, Canada, and South and Middle America), but it would be a big change for the rest of the world, and therefore complicated. With Warner, it would be starting from scratch”.

Read Metal Sucks’ full interview with Robert Kampf here.