In a move that could be acutely felt by reissue enthusiasts, Gordon Anderson has stepped down from his post as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Collectors’ Choice Music, the label and mail order catalogue responsible for many of our favorite reissues. Collectors’ Choice recently launched the expansive Tartare line and the new Bing Crosby Archive Collection, reactivated the Cameo Parkway label, and released diverse fare from artists ranging from Perry Como to Jefferson Airplane.
While his blog has not been updated since July 2010, Anderson explains his decision in the January 2011 edition of the Collectors’ Choice catalogue: “Well, folks, the song is over for me here at Collectors' Choice Music. After 17 years, I have decided that the time has come for me to move on, and yes, I have cried a few tears over it. But there's a big difference between what happened to my beloved WCOL-FM [a Columbus, Ohio radio station] and what is going to happen to my beloved Collectors' Choice Music when I am gone -- the next deejay is going to be playing the same songs. In fact, Joe Van Horn, the man who is going to take my place, was the person responsible for merchandising the Collectors' Choice Music website for most of the years we have been in business. So I am leaving you in the best hands possible, and I know for a fact that Joe is going to do a bang-up job bringing you the hard-to-find, wonderfully eclectic mix of music that has been our trademark for so long.”
Anderson continues, “As for me, well, I'm not sure what lies ahead, but I will no doubt turn up somewhere in this crazy music industry. And just like I did all those years in the drivers' seat of CCM, I'll keep steering my craft towards music that's authentic and fresh. Searching for a note, you might say. Pure and easy.”
What does Anderson's departure mean for Collectors' Choice Music? Hit the jump for some background!
Collectors’ Choice Music and its sister companies including Deep Discount DVD, Critics’ Choice Video, Heartland Music and Serenade Music, were sold by Infinity Resources to California-based entertainment media wholesaler Super D in November 2010. Jeff Walker, President of Super D, confirmed that the company’s decision to purchase Infinity’s assets was largely to acquire the lucrative Deep Discount website. Super D plans to continue operating Infinity’s 128,867-square foot distribution facility in Itsaca, Illinois. Jan Norman in the Orange County Register reported Walker’s statement that Super D is “moving our business toward direct-to-consumer sales rather than retailers because there are fewer stores with less selection” and that the company is “moving more into DVDs and a good portion of Infinity is in DVDs.” Super D's press release makes no mention of the catalogue’s label operations, concentrating only on the acquisition of the companies’ massive inventories. (Through its catalogue, Collectors’ Choice offers releases from all labels as well as those produced in-house.)
This leaves the Collectors’ Choice label as one small part of Super D's business. Anderson’s note gives us reason to be cautiously optimistic as to CCM's future, Walker’s comments less so. In fairness, Super D began its life in 1990 as independent music store CD Listening Bar, so it’s possible that the company values its music-related assets, and that the label and catalogue may both continue largely unaffected under the stewardship of Van Horn. Yet there have already been some unusual cancellations in the last quarter for Collectors’ Choice. Many purchasers have reported that Cameo Parkway Holiday Hits never materialized; this title was removed from the label's website and orders at Amazon were cancelled. Complete Singles Collections for Shelby Flint, Joanie Sommers and Connie Stevens have also disappeared from the CCM website. A similar collection from Petula Clark was announced and withdrawn shortly thereafter, as well. Are any of these postponements or cancellations related to Anderson’s departure and/or Super D's acquisition? It’s likely that we won’t learn the full story any time soon.
In the meantime, The Second Disc will keep its loyal readers informed of any developments at Collectors’ Choice, including the status of its much-lauded Bing Crosby Archive Collection and the Tartare imprint, which has released tens of long out-of-print items from the WMG catalogue family on made-to-order CD-Rs. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all the best in 2011 to Gordon Anderson, one of the true heroes of the reissue business. We hope to see your name on a new CD soon, Gordon! We also wish the best for his successor, Joe Van Horn. We’d love to talk with you, Joe, and we hope that more exciting catalogue surprises are up your sleeve as we usher in the new year.
What are your favorite Collectors' Choice reissues? Do you have any memories of the label or catalogue that you'd like to share? Please comment below!