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Company Town

August 19, 1994|CHUCK PHILIPS

Music: The Atlantic Group hopes to boost its U.S. market share almost 2% after the ink dries on a new distribution pact with Curb Records, home to such country stars as Lyle Lovett, Wynonna Judd and current chart-topper Tim McGraw. The five-year agreement, which takes effect in January, was crafted and signed this week by the most unlikely of political partners: Mike Curb, a staunch Republican who once served as California lieutenant governor, and liberal Democrat Danny Goldberg, president of Atlantic Records and former head of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Curb's hot Nashville label has generated more than $25 million in U.S. record sales so far this year, but he joins the Warner Music family dogged by unresolved disputes with his last two distributors, MCA Entertainment and EMI Music--the latter of which filed a lawsuit against him this month. Atlantic's venture with Curb--which will include a new label called Curb AG--marks the latest in a series of pacts with promising independent labels, including Matador, Mammoth and Rhino Records.

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