Private Music

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Private Music
Founded1984 (1984)
FounderPeter Baumann
Defunct1996 (1996)
GenreNew age, jazz, blues
Country of originU.S.
LocationNew York City, Los Angeles

Private Music was an American independent record label founded in 1984 by musician Peter Baumann as a "home for instrumental music". Baumann signed Ravi Shankar, Yanni, Suzanne Ciani, Andy Summers, Patrick O'Hearn, Leo Kottke, and his former bandmates, Tangerine Dream. The label specialized in New age music[1] but made a sharp turn to the mainstream by signing Taj Mahal, Ringo Starr, Etta James, and A. J. Croce. Its albums were distributed by BMG (the label's earliest recordings having been distributed by RCA), which bought Private Music in 1996.


In 1989, Baumann hired veteran music executive Ron Goldstein of Warner Bros. Records as Private Music's president and CEO. Goldstein moved the offices from New York City to Los Angeles, hiring Karen Johnson to expand the label's image. Baumann recruited the well-respected, mainstream A&R executive Jamie Cohen. Visual image was important to Goldstein, who handpicked art director Melanie Penny, previously of Virgin Records and Warner Bros., as VP, Creative Services, through the life of Private Music.

Private Music emphasized its "artist re-development" efforts, supporting such eclectic veteran artists as Taj Mahal, Ringo Starr, Etta James, Jennifer Warnes, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Toots Thielemans, Jimmy Witherspoon, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Eliza Gilkyson, Joy Askew, The Pahinui Brothers, and Kenny Rankin, while expanding the catalogs of Yanni, Leo Kottke, Andy Summers, and Ravi Shankar, with strong "debut support" for A. J. Croce and Susan Werner. An international marketing department was added, led by longtime Sony Music executive J.P. Bommel.

Private Music's recordings earned multiple Grammy Awards and nominations, including Etta James's first career win, in 1994, for best jazz vocal performance on Mystery Lady: Songs of Billie Holiday, her debut of three albums on the label. Private's roster achieved high recognition on national television. Numerous artist appearances included interviews and performances on late-night talk shows and morning shows, MTV, and VH1.

Private's Grammy winner Taj Mahal spawned the Grammy-winning Phantom Blues Band. With its increasing influence in blues and roots music, and at the peak of its performance in record sales, Private Music entered into a joint venture with House of Blues' record label, featuring such artists as Cissy Houston and John Mooney.

In 2001, Private Music became part of the short-lived Arista Associated Labels, which also included Windham Hill Records. By 2004, after Sony and BMG merged, the label's releases switched to RCA. Following his Private Music tenure, Goldstein served as president and CEO of the Verve Music Group label at Universal Music Group, in New York City.

Notable albums[edit]

Private Music has released a number of notable albums:[2]

Album Performer Year of release
Optimystique Yanni 1984
On the Future of Aviation Jerry Goodman 1985
Theme of Secrets Eddie Jobson 1985
A Shout Toward Noon Leo Kottke 1986
Keys to Imagination Yanni 1986
Tana Mana Ravi Shankar 1987
Safety in Numbers David Van Tieghem 1987
Out of Silence Yanni 1987
Famous Blue Raincoat Jennifer Warnes 1987
Optical Race Tangerine Dream 1988
Kristen Vigard Kristen Vigard 1988
Regards from Chuck Pink Leo Kottke 1988
Chameleon Days Yanni 1988
New Green Clear Blue Dan Hartman 1989
Lily on the Beach Tangerine Dream 1989
Miracle Mile Tangerine Dream 1989
Strange Cargo David Van Tieghem 1989
My Father's Face Leo Kottke 1989
Niki Nana Yanni 1989
Passages Philip Glass 1990
Heartbeats Accelerating Kate & Anna McGarrigle 1990
The Odd Get Even Shadowfax 1990
Melrose Tangerine Dream 1990
That's What Leo Kottke 1990
Reflections of Passion Yanni 1990
World Gone Strange Andy Summers 1991
Like Never Before Taj Mahal 1991
Great Big Boy Leo Kottke 1991
In Celebration of Life Yanni 1991
Time Takes Time Ringo Starr 1992
Dare to Dream Yanni 1992
The Hunter Jennifer Warnes 1992
Dancing the Blues Taj Mahal 1993
In My Time Yanni 1993
Peculiaroso Leo Kottke 1994
Yanni Live at the Acropolis Yanni 1994
Getting Even with Dad Miles Goodman 1994
Professional Dreamer Kenny Rankin 1994
That's Me in the Bar A. J. Croce 1995
Roll of the Dice The Fabulous Thunderbirds 1995
Time after Time Etta James 1995
Leo Kottke Live Leo Kottke 1995
Sex The Necks 1995
Last of the Good Straight Girls Susan Werner 1995
Phantom Blues Taj Mahal 1996
Love's Been Rough on Me Etta James 1997
Standing in My Shoes Leo Kottke 1997
Charmed: The Soundtrack Various 2003

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maria Armoudian (6 April 1996). "Look for these New Age labels". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. pp. 51–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  2. ^ "Private Music | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 June 2018.

External links[edit]