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!
This explains a lot. I have been readying a letter begging for an explanation from Mr Anderson for the ridiculous happenings I have encountered as a CCM customer over this past year: backorders coming via Media Mail when I paid for Priority, *everything* being on back order (even new releases) and the exchange of a broken box set taking over six weeks. CCM's online customer service is quite a joke, too - no one can answer any questions as to status of back order, shipping, anything. So, this "changing of the guard" makes a lot of sense - if I am so flummoxed with CCM, there has to be others out there just as upset. It's a shame, I have been buying from them since their 1st catalog but after my experience with the box set - a month to process the exchange, over a month before I finally canceled the back order on a NEW RELEASE! - I swear to never buy from them again. Not CCM and not Deep Discount, who - incidentally - quasi-answered half of my queries and whose return address was on the snail-mail print out of my exchange voucher. They do great work with their reissue label(s), but their catalog is proving to be too unreliable to deal with. I'll pay more for things from places I can actually get them from, and places who have some semblance of customer service.
Carlos Montes says
My long time trouble with CCM has been delivery time to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil which is excessive when compared to other services.
However there was a special trouble, an unbelievable trouble: I bought a CD Frankie Laine with Michel Legrand and it was delivered without its cover!
No use to send numerous messages claiming for the cover.
Believe it or not. It was in the 90s.
Eric Luecking says
A PR contact of mine in the music biz informed me that Collector's Choice was sold (not sure what date), and that several of his contacts no longer work there.
The Cameo Christmas comp was cancelled. Not sure if it ever got to the printing stages or not.
This might explain why there have been some challenges (not defending them) with their customer service. I know I've read elsewhere (maybe the Hoffman or IMWAN forums) that others have received less-than-stellar customer service from them as well in the past few months.
Joe Marchese says
Thanks, Marty and Eric, for your insights.
Eric, the full information about the November sale of Collectors' Choice to Super D is in the article, above.
Based on my personal experience, Collectors' Choice's customer service has long been spotty, though I have never had a problem which was left unresolved. (I've had better luck via phone than email, by the way. Frequently in the case of label postponements or cancellations, however, the operators simply do not have the knowledge or information to answer questions accurately.)
Gordon Anderson always took the extra time to respond personally and directly to email inquiries sent his way, and I sincerely hope that his successor, Joe Van Horn, follows in his footsteps.
Eric Luecking says
Sorry, Joe. I completely skipped over the section where you mentioned the sale.
I, too, hope JVH lands on his feet as he seems to truly care about releasing good music which has been long unavailable, something all music lovers should be appreciative of. His continued success benefits us all.
Yeah, I had horrible customer service experiences with Deep Discount in the past year or two. Receiving emails that my order had shipped, never receiving the items, and then being informed that the items were "out of stock."
The latest was with the Connie Stevens/Shelby Flint "Complete Singles" sets, which I tried to cancel after the release date kept getting pushed back by two months. I was canceling because I wanted to close the bank account I had debited the order from. I was informed that once an order was placed, it was "in the shipping process" and could not be canceled. How a title that has not yet been released can be "in the shipping process" is beyond me.
Finally, just today, I received a notice that the order had been canceled... because the discs have been canceled.
Amazon is still listing the "Complete Singles" sets as pre-orders with a release date of February 22nd, but I have a feeling they just haven't yet been informed of their cancellation. A very, very sad situation all around.
By the way, a poster on the Steve Hoffman site says Gordon Anderson told him in mid-December that the singles sets were sitting in a warehouse ready to ship, and they were just waiting for the final legal clearance.
I have ordered many CDs from CCM over the years, but the last six or so months have not been a good experience. I ordered three different Warner Brothers/CCM CDs (one on the Tartare label) and all of them have been discontinued. It is very irritating to have something not available right after it is announced in the catalog. Hopefully this is just a short-term glitch, as CCM is one of the best re-issue companies in the US.
Joe Marchese says
I've had a similar problem with recently-announced titles being discontinued without notice. (This is particularly odd for the Tartare Made-on-Demand releases!) I'm pulling for CCM and Gordon's successor, Joe Van Horn, to get these issues worked out before the trust we've had in CCM for so long begins to erode.
Mike Pasqua says
Similar problem and no response from Joe Van Horn-I am NOT optimistic. Too bad, I always counted on Collectors Choice to come to my rescue with missing music.
Mike Pasqua says
I have had great concerns regarding the future of Collectors Choice. I ordered the Sanford-Townsend "Nail Me To The Wall" cd and it was cancelled without explanation. When I contacted Joe Van Horn regading the future of the Tartare imprint as well as future live cds, I got no response. Gordon Anderson was always a gentleman and answered my questions. Changing of the guard, indeed!
Dave Dee says
Hi there Mike,
We seem to have suffered similar problems.
May I ask, how did you contact Joe Van Horn? - and what is his job title? I could also try writing to him. The more the merrier!
Best wishes, and thanks for your postings.
Don Baker says
It is a shame what appears to be happening with the Collector's Choice label. The departure of Gordon Anderson is a big loss. Super D screwed up letting him get away. One of my favorite CCM releases in the last several years is the complete Bell recordings by Merrilee Rush. Hopefully it is only temporarily out of stock at CCM and will be made available again when all the dust settles.
Dave Dee says
I've been having trouble locating two companion double-CDs apparently on the Collectors' Choice label: Connie Stevens / Joanie Sommers - The Complete Warner Brothers Singles.
I'd seen reports that the albums were due for release in December of last year, then 22 February of this year, and next, 22 MARCH of this year - but nothing has been forthcoming!
Various other websites, including Amazon, report that the items are now "discontinued" or "unavailable", even "postponed" - but were they ever released at all?
I wrote to Collectors' Choice "Customer Service" department, and what a joke! Here's what they said, verbatim:
"Unfortunately are vendor discounted the item so there for we have put item are phased out no longer available. We apologize for any inconvenience."
Well, if you can make head or tail of THAT, you're better than I am! Whew!
Joe Marchese says
These titles were never released, Dave. Some sites have reported that the discs were actually pressed and ready for release when last-minute contractual issues forced their cancellation, but this hasn't been verified. Either way, what could have been the last hurrah for the CCM label now remains just a missed opportunity.
Super D, CCM's new owner, seems to have no interest whatsoever in allowing the record label operations to continue, and the reissue biz is poorer for it.
Dave Dee says
Joe, you're a star, matey! In just a few hours, you've answered questions about these Connie Stevens and Joanie Sommers CDs that Collectors' Choice, other music suppliers, and even Warner Music (both in the UK and in the USA) have failed to do, despite many months spent e-mailing all of them. Warner Music USA simply haven't replied, despite three messages having got through (according to their website). Whether through ignorance, laziness, or simply because they haven't really received my e-mails, we may never know.
Anyway, whatever, thanks again, Joe, for your help on this!
It looks as though we're going to have to wait an indeterminate time before we can hear this new material by these two sexy-voiced ladies. Sigh! 🙂 I may be deaf by then, but imagination is a wonderful thing! 🙂
Undaunted, I reckon I'll keep my orders for these two double-CDs on hold, then I'll be charged at the old rate.
Let's hope someone in authority at Collectors' Choice is reading our postings.
Best wishes, and thanks again. 🙂
Rocky Cook says
I haven't seen anything on CCM or Gordon Anderson for several weeks. I, too, have been a customer for many years. I've really enjoyed their catalogs and Mr. Anderson's monthly messages (I shared his enthusiasm and passion for recordings). As busy as he was, he personally answered my emails. I don't believe we have that access anymore. Although I haven't ordered from them lately, I have noticed a gradual degredation in the CCM website and it's selections. Based on the experiences listed above, I'm not likely to order soon.
The changes and lack of news seems very ominous to me. I hope CCM is not one of the latest casualties of the changing music business, but that is my fear.
I remain hungry for news on this subject. Thanks to TheSecondDisc for keeping us posted.
Sadly we now know the Collectors Choice label is defunct. There have been no new releases in a few years. My personal quest for additional titles in the Hollyridge Strings' catalog are just one of many projects Gordon Anderson had planned that never materialized thanks to the change in ownership. Truth be known, Mr. Anderson's departure likely was a result of Super D's lack of interest in the label side of CCM's business model. They just wanted the distribution conduits. What a darn shame that one of the few outlets for finding masters, negotiating rights and having the infrastructure to orchestrate releases is now gone from the scene.
I agree with what some other folks have said. Gordon Anderson was a fine businessman that always replied to email's personally. On several occasions over the past couple years I've emailed Joe Van Horn and gotten no response.
Joe Marchese says
All is far from lost. Gordon Anderson and Gabby Castellana founded Real Gone Music in 2011, and the new label very much carries on the eclectic spirit of Collectors' Choice Music. Just do a quick search here for info on Real Gone's recent releases; I think you'll be very pleased with what you discover!