Happy Birthday, Kritzerland!
Ten years ago this month, producer Bruce Kimmel, known for his work at labels including Bay Cities and Varese Sarabande, launched the Kritzerland label. Since 2005, Kritzerland has released over 150 CDs: classic soundtracks from composers like Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, John Barry and John Williams, vintage cast recordings of musicals including stunning remixes of Follies and Promises, Promises, and solo albums by artists such as Sandy Bainum and the elusive Guy Haines. Among the label’s recent highlights is a deluxe 2-CD premiere of the complete songs and score to the film Stormy Weather, starring Lena Horne, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway and others, and a sold-out presentation of Bernard (Psycho) Herrmann’s score to The Day the Earth Stood Still.
On the occasion of its tenth birthday, the label behind such landmark releases as the world premiere soundtrack to It’s a Wonderful Life and the first-ever expanded presentation of Casino Royale is looking to the future with a number of new initiatives. And you, the listener, can play a part. We’ve previously reported here about many worthwhile crowd-funded projects including Andrew Sandoval and Rachel Lichtman’s documentary The Guys Who Wrote ‘Em about songwriting duo Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart; a comprehensive B.B. King box set; and a collection of demos from the late Pete Ham of Badfinger. Now, Kritzerland is taking to Indiegogo for an exciting crowd-funding initiative that soundtrack and cast recording collectors won’t want to miss.
Producer Kimmel (subject of 2010 and 2012 interviews right here at TSD) explains, “We’ve done amazing projects with Paramount, Fox, MGM/UA and a handful of others, but we simply must get into other studios now and that will take a huge infusion of cash. Kritzerland has one owner and was started on a wing and a prayer. Literally every penny that comes in goes to fund the next projects. And this is, we hope, where you can help us get to the next level in terms of dealing with new studios and licensors. We’ve created an Indiegogo campaign and let me tell you about it.”
He continues, “We are looking to raise $80,000.00. That may seem like a lot, but that’s what it’s going to take for us to step up to the plate at other studios and lock up a lot of projects at once. Waving a big check is what they respond to. We already have many upcoming projects from Fox, but other studios have so many amazing scores that are just languishing that we know you would love – from both Golden and Silver Age. Those who know and love Kritzerland know that we’re not about the more recent scores – we leave those pretty much to others. We have contacts now at various studios and they are willing to license to us. We also have other cast album reissues we’d like to pursue. And we’d also occasionally like to get back to doing original recordings. Of course raising even more than our target amount would be incredible and enable us to lock up even more things. The one thing we can assure you is that every penny of what is raised will go into getting projects for us – none of it is salary or goes into anyone’s pocket. This is all about getting amazing music out in the world to you, our wonderful collectors.”
At Kritzerland’s Indiegogo page, you can find the full list of sponsorship levels and perks, but the label reveals that, “in essence, you’re contributing now by making your CD purchases in advance and at a considerable savings – the more you contribute the more you save and the savings include not paying postage. Not only that, you can get your names in the thank you section of our CD booklets and website, and for those who have discretionary cash to use, you can even become a co-producer or an executive producer who is credited in our booklets. But mostly we hope you’ll contribute because you’ve loved the projects we’ve done and appreciate the care we put into them. You’ll be able to let us know if your interests are soundtrack only, cast albums and film musicals – or both. Even if we don’t reach our ultimate goal and beyond, whatever money comes in will go straight to the acquisition of new projects and new relationships with studios and companies.”
Among the exciting prospects for the label is the introduction of a new series, The Elite Collection. This line, primarily dedicated to film musical soundtracks, will feature ultra-limited edition pressings of 500 copies each (as opposed to the label’s usual 1,000-unit minimum). These releases, which will retail for $39.98 in special packaging, will feature extended booklets and a deluxe presentation. But those who help fund Kritzerland’s campaign at levels where CDs are involved will be able to purchase these releases at the standard price of $19.98 per release.
Here at The Second Disc, we’ve always admired Kimmel’s passion and tenacity for getting rare titles – from the London Cast Recording of Promises, Promises to favorite scores by Marvin Hamlisch and Cy Coleman – into the marketplace. Kritzerland is also just about the only American label left releasing cast recordings on pressed CDs. These releases may be aimed at a niche market, but soundtrack and musical fans make up a particularly dedicated group. So this might be the time for those who are able to support a favorite label to do so.
Kimmel notes, “We’re told by the Indiegogo experts (yes, there are Indiegogo experts!) that the first two days of funding are the most important, as they set the tone – people tend to fund faster if the first two days are very healthy. So, please, if you’re leaning towards helping do it in the first two days. Do you know that if only 1,000 people on our mailing list of close to 3,000 did the $100.00 perk, which is a great money-saving deal, we would be well over our goal! But anything works and it’s a dream that is completely possible. So, here we Kritzerland a GoGo!”
You can read more at Kritzerland’s Indiegogo page where you can also explore the many available perks. In the meantime, here’s to the next ten years and the next 150 releases!