LoveCat's Label A Litter Of International Music
By Caroline Horn
NEW YORKFueled by placements of its catalog in such varied tv fare as Third Watch, Felicity, Dawson's Creek, Ed, Malcolm in the Middle, Mind of a Married Man, The Sopranos, Sex & the City, and Six Feet Under, globally inclined New York indie publisher LoveCat Music has launched a label division.
The two-year-old firm, which is headed by Randy Frisch, will release a total of nine compilations and artist CDs on its label of the same name by the end of the first quarter.
"We've gotten approval for our artists in film and TV, which we think will translate into record sales," says Frisch, whose publishing catalog includes works by Urban Dance Squad, Kid Creole and the Coconuts, and the Silos. The former entertainment attorney brought an international-music interest to his company and has also acquired music from Brazil, Russia, Israel, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Spain, and the UK.
Frisch was particularly interested in bringing Israeli music to the U.S., and traveled to Tel Aviv to scout artists and writers even before he launched LoveCat. He has since picked up primarily instrumental music there, including trance and electronica, in order to side step the language barrier that keeps most foreign-language music from reaching American audiences.
But Frisch is currently working with eclectic Israeli rocker Haim Zinowitzwho also goes by the name Zinoon English-language recordings that may fare better domestically. He says that LoveCat's internationalism reflects the changing trends in the music being sought for American TV, as well as his own personal mission.
"When we were just getting started, [music supervisors] wanted a lot of Latin music," LoveCat's A&R director Steve Popkin confirms. "Then, it was 'exotic hip-hop.' Right now, cross-cultural dance music is hot."
Third Watch music supervisor Ann Kline, has placed LoveCat musicincluding that of Israeli electronica band Angel Tears and Italian dance artists Loco, Blue Velvet, and Pumain numerous episodes of the series. She speaks of its "otherworldly yet organic" sound and authenticity: "You can use it not only for a scene where it's ethnically correct, but also as score."
Kline notes that the company offers a fresh alternative to music supervisors in foreign music that is less expensive than the international releases from major record labels and publishers, yet more genuine than the economical reproductions available from music libraries. She adds, "With LoveCat, the music is really affordable and you're getting the original artist."
In fact, while negotiating deals as an attorney, in fact, Frisch realized the efficiency of providing "one-stop" music licensing, where both the master and publishing rights for a song are licensed in one transaction. Unlike most indie publishers or record labels, LoveCat now represents only songs for which it controls both the master and the composition.
On the label side, LoveCat's global vision is evident in its first batch of releases. It includes The Brazilian Beat, Vol. I, a bossa nova and samba collection which introduces a six-CD series of Brazilian music, and Ultra Pop, a British pop compilation, as well as albums by Spain's Elephant Band, the Netherlands' Jay Soul a.k.a. The Groove Architect, and Israel's Angel Tears, whose manager (Srulik Einhorn) recently signed rock guitarist Solomon King to the label. Frisch says distribution is being arranged on an individual CD basis.
North Carolina singer/songwriter Evan Olsonwhose new LoveCat release, Red, follows a debut CD on Universal/Cherrylauds the company's aggressiveness on the publishing side, citing the recent use of his music in Sex & the City, Felicity, Roswell, Dawson's Creek, Third Watch, and Just Deal, as well as in the new TV series, The American Embassy.
Olson says, "I've been with Warner-Chappell and with EMI, but when I get a BMI statement, 80% to 90% of [what's reported is] LoveCat placements."
Meanwhile, music supervisor Dan Lieberstein-who serves as music supervisor for Sex & the City and Ed- discerns a distinct style in the LoveCat catalog. "You get to know certain catalogs [so that] you can say, 'Oh, this could be a LoveCat [song] cue,'" says Lieberstein, who has regularly come to LoveCat for source music for the two programs.
Although Frisch is proud of LoveCat's internationalism, he rejects the characterization of his catalog as strictly world music, which implies a traditional, ethnic sound. "We're collecting popular music," he says. "It's just popular music from all over the world."
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