Jac Holzman

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Jac Holzman

Jac Holzman (born September 15, 1931) is an American businessman, best known as the founder, chief executive officer and head of Elektra Records and Nonesuch Records.[1] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.


Holzman was born to a Jewish family, the son of a Manhattan doctor.[2][3] He founded Elektra Records in his St. John's College dormitory room in 1950[4] and Nonesuch Records in 1964.[5] He held Amateur Radio callsign K2VEH around this time. [6] In 1968, he approved Elektra Record's Paxton Lodge, the experimental recording studio where Jackson Browne first recorded.[7] He signed such acts as The Doors, Queen (US only), Love, Josh White, Carly Simon, the Stooges, MC5, Harry Chapin, and Bread to Elektra and discovered folk singer Judy Collins. During the 1960s, Holzman served as executive producer for numerous stock sound effect libraries under the Authentic Sound Effects series.[8] In 1970 he merged his music interests with Warner Communications (WCI) and continued his association with the labels he created for three additional years. While a part of the Warner Music Group, Holzman helped to establish both the WEA Distributing Corp (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Distributing Corp) and WEA International.

In 1973, Holzman was appointed senior vice president and chief technologist for WCI.[9] Holzman guided the company into home video and the first interactive cable television system, QUBE. Until 1972, he was a director of Pioneer Electronics Japan, helping that company, and Warner Bros., adopt the compact disc and Laserdisc. Holzman was a member of the board of Atari, one of the first videogame companies, which was acquired by WCI in 1976.

In 1979 Holzman became the nexus between ex-Monkee Michael Nesmith and John Lack of Warner Cable. He persuaded Lack to meet with Nesmith who had been nursing an idea for a program he called PopClips. Holzman thought that Nesmith's notion of building a TV structure around that idea made real sense.

In 1982, following the death of President and founder Robert Gottschalk, Holzman took charge of Panavision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Communications and turned that financially troubled company around.[10]

In 1986 he formed FirstMedia, an investment firm which acquired Cinema Products Corporation, the maker of the Oscar-winning Steadicam camera stabilization system.

In 1991, through FirstMedia, Holzman acquired the Discovery, Trend and Musicraft jazz labels from the estate of Albert Marx, which was also acquired by Warner Music Group in 1993.

After Edgar Bronfman Jr. and a group of investors acquired Warner Music Group from Time Warner Inc. in 2004, Bronfman brought Holzman back to WMG, reuniting him with the company that he had helped to found with Ahmet Ertegun and Mo Ostin. Although Holzman's work at Warner Music covers a range from mentoring executives and future planning, his first project was the creation of an on-line label, Cordless Recordings,[11] introduced in late 2005. Cordless gives bands space to hone their art and grow without the expectations and cash outlays associated with a major label.

In 2008 Holzman received the NARAS Grammy Trustees Award.

On December 15, 2010, it was announced that Holzman would be awarded the Ahmet Ertegun Award (along with Specialty Records founder Art Rupe) by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[12]

Holzman is the father of Adam Holzman, a jazz-rock keyboardist who has played with Miles Davis;[13] Jaclyn Easton, a writer and Internet entrepreneur; and Marin Sander-Holzman,[14] an editor and filmmaker.

Jac Holzman was inducted into the non-performer category of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday, March 14, 2011, with the induction speech given by Doors member John Densmore.[15]

In April 2016, Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group, announced that Jac Holzman is now Senior Technology Advisor to WMG: “a wide-ranging technology ‘scout’, exploring new digital developments and identifying possible partners.”

In June 2018, Holzman launched a new venture named Cosmic Ringtones & Sonic Realms... Your Universe Is Calling. Curated and produced by Holzman, the collection includes a series of instrumental pieces composed, performed, and recorded by his son Adam. The album was released on Holzman's FM Group Music label, distributed by ADA.[16]


  1. ^ Discogs - Jac Holzman profile and discography
  2. ^ Murphy, Gareth (June 17, 2014). Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 356. ISBN 9781250043375.
  3. ^ Bloom, Nate (March 18, 2011). "Jewish Stars 3/18". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  4. ^ "Jac Holzman: Weird scenes from inside the goldmine". The Independent. London: Independent Digital News & Media. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  5. ^ [1] Archived 2012-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ http://culver.net/K2VEH/
  7. ^ "A recording studio for musicians such as Jack Browne". paxton.
  8. ^ "Jac Holzman". Discogs.
  9. ^ BRAD SPURGEON (2006-09-01). "Spotlight: Blast from the past seeks next big thing - Business - International Herald Tribune - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  10. ^ "Elektra History - Jac Holzman". www.doorshistory.com.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-31. Retrieved 2019-04-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ Discogs - Adam Holzman profile and discography
  14. ^ IMDb - Marin Sander-Holzman
  15. ^ FRED GOODMAN (2011-03-04). "Elektra's Jac Holzman Heads to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - The New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  16. ^ "Elektra founder Jac Holzman unveils new venture, Cosmic Ringtones & Sonic Realms… Your Universe Is Calling - Music Business Worldwide". 15 June 2018.

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