TVT Records

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TVT Records
TVT Records logo
Parent company TVT (1985–2008)
The Orchard (2008-present, recordings)
Reservoir Media Management (2010-present, music publishing)
Founded 1985
Founder Steve Gottlieb
Status Defunct
Distributor(s) TVT
Genre Alternative rock, hip hop, electronic music
Country of origin United States
Location New York City, New York
Official website http://www.tvtrecords.com

TVT Records was an American record label founded by Steve Gottlieb. Over the course of its 25 year history the label released some 25 Gold, Platinum and Multi-platinum releases.[1] Its roster included Nine Inch Nails, Ja Rule, Lil Jon, Underworld, The KLF, Sevendust, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Pitbull. Its biggest commercial successes were the triple platinum Nine Inch Nails's Pretty Hate Machine, two double platinum releases by Lil Jon, and platinum releases by Snoop Dogg and the Eastside Boyz, Dashboard Confessional, Default and Ying Yang Twins.

History[edit]

Early years[edit]

TeeVee Toons was founded in 1985 by Steve Gottlieb, a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law.[2] Gottlieb launched the label from his New York City apartment[2] with the release of Television's Greatest Hits, an album featuring theme songs from classic TV shows that became a respectable seller. The San Francisco Chronicle called the album "the most fun you can have with your pants on", and the New York Times highlighted it as one of 1985's most notable business ideas.[3]

In 1986, TeeVee Toons was shortened to TVT Records, a label that would sign and/or develop musical acts over the next couple of decades such as: The Saints, Shona Laing, Nine Inch Nails, the Connells, Aphex Twin, Tackhead, Underworld, Gravity Kills, Buck-O-Nine, Jurassic Five, Sevendust, Default, XTC, Guided By Voices, Jimmy Page and the Black Crowes, Bounty Killer, KMFDM, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Gil Scott-Heron, Tha Eastsidaz, Just Jack, Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Pitbull, Teedra Moses, and Ambulance LTD.

In 1992, TVT purchased the Chicago-based industrial music label Wax Trax! Records. This gave TVT the artists and/or catalogue releases of such acts as: Ministry, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, KMFDM, and others.

In 1995, TVT started their official soundtrack imprint called TVT SOUNDTRAX headed by Patricia Joseph releasing television, film, and Broadway soundtracks. It expanded "Television's Greatest Hits" to an eight-volume series and released over 70 film and TV soundtracks, including the platinum Mortal Kombat soundtrack. Its theatrical music releases included the Stephen Sondheim Follies.

In 1996 Crain's named Gottlieb one of its forty under 40 Rising Stars to Watch, citing the 50% yearly growth of TVT.[4]

In 1999 TVT completed a securitization that enabled it to raise $23.5 million in growth capital.[5]

In 2000, TVT Records opened TVT Distribution, a distribution company for third party labels, among them Vagrant Records. TVT Distribution, in conjunction with Vagrant, went on to achieve gold album success with Dashboard Confessional.

The label's publishing arm, TVT Music Publishing signed songwriter/producers Scott Storch who won Top Producer of the Year for ASCAP in 2004, and Lil Jon who won Top Producer of the Year for BMI in 2005. Those artists, along with many others, helped TVT Music Publishing accumulate over a hundred US Hot 100 songs, recorded by such acts as Usher, Pink, Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera, and Justin Timberlake.

Later years[edit]

In 2000, TVT became the first label to put its entire catalog online available for downloading and free streaming by fans. In 2001, the label reached an amicable arrangement with Napster for use of TVT's artist copyrights, and TVT's CEO joined the Napster advisory board. Gottlieb appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2001 on a panel that included Richard Parsons, then head of Time Warner and Ken Berry, head of EMI, and artists Alanis Morissette and Don Henley.[6] CEO Gottlieb served on the Board of Directors of Musicmatch (sold to Yahoo!).

TVT was one of the founding members of the Association of Independent Music (A2IM), an organization devoted to protecting independent labels interests.[7]

In 2002, the label got into a dispute with Lyor Cohen, then head of Island Def Jam. The dispute involved Cohen and Universal paying former TVT artist Ja Rule $8 million to not deliver an album paid for by TVT, and promised to TVT and instead deliver it to Universal. In the resulting litigation Universal was prohibited by the courts from releasing the album created with TVT's funding. In the ultimate trial over the claims of fraud and tortious interference, a jury awarded TVT a $132 million judgment. Universal appealed the ruling. On appeal, Cohen and Universal argued the existence of an agreement between the parties meant that their behavior was only a breach of contract and not a fraud or tort. The court agreed, reducing TVT's award to $126,000.

Slip-N-Slide lawsuit/Bankruptcy[edit]

In 2007, TVT lost a $9 million lawsuit to Slip-N-Slide Records when a Florida judge ruled that Slip-N-Slide had legal rights to distribute an un-released album it owned by rapper Pitbull that he recorded for Slip-N-Slide in 2001. TVT, who signed Pitbull several years later, had sought to notice third parties (such as record stores or digital download entities) that the distribution and sale of this album would violate TVT's exclusive right to create new music by the artist. The judge, however, ruled against TVT as Pitbull had made the recordings prior to signing with TVT, and awarded Slip-N-Slide the $9 million judgement as TVT had attempted to block the sale of the album. TVT filed for appeal but was unable to post the required bond, thus TVT filed for bankruptcy.

On February 19, 2008, Gottlieb stated "This is not the end of TVT."[8] In June 2008, however, the digital music label The Orchard was declared the winning bidder by a New York bankruptcy court and gained control of TVT's artist contracts, catalogue recordings, and its distribution infrastructure, thus ending the TVT Records label imprint. The music publishing assets were transferred to TVT Music Enterprises, and later purchased by Reservoir Media Management.[9]

Former artists[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Van Buskirk, Eliot (February 8, 2008). "Qtrax Has Active Deal with TVT Records". Wired. Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Business Notes". Time. 20 January 1986. p. 2. Retrieved 9 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Bennett, Robert A. (1985-12-29). "Whoever Dreamed That Up?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  4. ^ "Steve Gottlieb - 1996 - 40 Under Forty | Crain's New York Business". Mycrains.crainsnewyork.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  5. ^ Philips, Chuck (1999-02-23). "TVT, UCC in $23-Million Financing Deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  6. ^ "Desperado storms Capitol Hill - CNET News". News.cnet.com. 2001-04-03. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  7. ^ "Biz Briefs: Fighting For the Little Guy". Time. 2005-10-02. Retrieved 2010-05-26. 
  8. ^ "Music label TVT Records to file for bankruptcy". Reuters. 2008-02-19. 
  9. ^ "Reservoir Media Management Acquires TVT Publishing Assets". Billboard.biz. 2010-04-29. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 

External links[edit]