Hal Leonard

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Hal Leonard
Hal Leonard logo.svg
Founded1947; 76 years ago (1947)
Winona, Minnesota
FounderHarold "Hal" Edstrom
Everett "Leonard" Edstrom
Roger Busdicker
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationMilwaukee, Wisconsin
Key peopleLarry Morton, CEO
Publication typesSheet music, Books, DVDs, software
Official websitewww.halleonard.com
Hal Leonard's Corporate headquarters at 7777 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee, WI 53213.

Hal Leonard LLC (formerly Hal Leonard Corporation) is an American music publishing and distribution company founded in Winona, Minnesota, by Harold "Hal" Edstrom, his brother, Everett "Leonard" Edstrom, and fellow musician Roger Busdicker. Currently headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it is the largest sheet music publisher in the world.[1]


1947 to 2016[edit]

The company produces sheet music, songbooks, and method book (with audio) packs, and band, orchestra, and choral arrangements, reference books, instructional videos, and instrumental accompaniments.[2] In addition, they distribute other brands, such as Gibraltar, Gretsch Drums, Avid, Blue Microphones, and many more. In 1989, Hal Leonard acquired Jenson Publications and its catalog of band, orchestra, and choral titles. In 1995, Hal Leonard began distributing Homespun Music Instruction instructional video and audio materials.

In 1997, Hal Leonard and Music Sales Group founded SheetMusicDirect.com, the world's first website for digital sheet music and guitar tablature. In 2004, Hal Leonard acquired Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.[3] In 2006, Hal Leonard acquired Amadeus Press and Limelight Editions.[4] Also in 2006, Hal Leonard acquired Backbeat Books, which publishes the AllMusic reference guide and other music-related publications, from CMP.[5]

In 2009, Hal Leonard acquired Shawnee Press from Music Sales Group.[6] In 2014, Hal Leonard acquired Noteflight, an online music notation service and a community for sharing scores.[7] Private equity firm Seidler Equity Partners acquired majority ownership of the company in June 2016.[8] Following the change in ownership, Hal Leonard was reorganized from a corporation to a limited liability company.

2017 to present[edit]

In 2017, Hal Leonard acquired the online music retailer Sheet Music Plus. In 2018, Hal Leonard purchased the physical and online printed music businesses of global independent music publisher The Music Sales Group. They also acquired Groove3, a leading website specializing in music technology tutorial videos. In December 2018, Hal Leonard announced it had sold five of its trade imprints—Hal Leonard Books, Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Amadeus Press, Backbeat Books, and Limelight Editions—to Rowman & Littlefield.[9]

As of 2020, Hal Leonard publishes, distributes, and represents the print music interests for a myriad of publishing companies, both classical and popular. In North America, Hal Leonard is the exclusive licensee of the print rights for Disney Music Group and Universal Music Publishing Group. Hal Leonard is also the North American distributor of numerous American and European classical publishers, including G. Schirmer, Inc., Boosey & Hawkes, Éditions Durand, and Faber Piano Adventures. Through its acquisition of numerous school music publishing companies over the past 40 years, Hal Leonard is currently one of the largest music publishers in the field of music education; its primary competitor in the educational market is Alfred Music.

The Hal Leonard corporate headquarters is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their distribution, production and warehousing facilities are in Winona, Minnesota. They also have offices in Austin, Boston, and San Francisco. It also has offices abroad in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Italy, Switzerland, as well as in London and Bury St. Edmunds in England.

Hal Leonard has sponsored many awards to young musicians and educators. Hal Leonard has partnered with the Jazz Education Network to offered the Hal Leonard Collegiate Scholarship, which was awarded to Tanner Guss in 2017. [10]


  1. ^ "What We Learned In The New Economy". Fast Company. United States: Fast Company, Inc. March 1, 2004. p. 6. Archived from the original on 2013-10-09. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  2. ^ "Hal Leonard Online - About Us". Hal Leonard Corporation. Archived from the original on 2014-01-30. Retrieved January 27, 2014.
  3. ^ "Hal Leonard Assumes Ownership Of Applause Books". PublishersWeekly.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-22. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  4. ^ "Hal Leonard Buys Amadeus Press and Limelight Editions". Library Journal. 2006-03-01. Retrieved 2018-04-21.
  5. ^ "Hal Leonard buys Backbeat Books for $2.2M". Milwaukee Business Journal. United States: American City Business Journals. November 20, 2006. Archived from the original on 2009-08-15. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  6. ^ "Hal Leonard Acquires Shawnee Press". Archived from the original on 2017-09-27. Retrieved 2017-09-27.
  7. ^ Berkovitz, Joe (April 15, 2014). "Noteflight is now part of Hal Leonard Corporation". Noteflight.com. Archived from the original on 2014-10-24. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
  8. ^ Dill, Molly (June 29, 2016). "Majority of Hal Leonard shares sold to private equity firm". BizTimes.
  9. ^ Milliot, Jim (December 17, 2018). "Rowman & Littlefield Acquires Hal Leonard Trade Titles". Publishers Weekly.
  10. ^ "Playin' Around With Playbook: Tanner Guss". Playbook. 2022-04-04. Retrieved 2022-05-23.

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