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Warner Bros. Records, PBS in Deal

January 09, 1998|MARLA MATZER

Warner Bros. Records and the Public Broadcasting Service have signed a five-year deal to form PBS Records, a co-venture that will release recordings based on PBS programs.

Warner Bros. Records Vice Chairman David Altschul said Warner Bros. would finance two music specials per year on PBS. In addition, Warner Bros. will seek rights to release recordings tied to other PBS programs, bringing the number of albums released by PBS Records to six to 10 per year.

Recent programs that typify the type of recordings PBS would like to release include "The Eagles: Hell Freezes Over" and "Riverdance." PBS' popular children's programming is not part of the deal.

Although the deal gives Warner Bros. the opportunity to promote its own artists to PBS' core audience of affluent baby boomers, other labels may resist letting their artists record for a competing label. The albums generated by MTV's successful "Unplugged" series, for example, are generally released by an artist's existing label.

For PBS, the deal is an extension of recent efforts to generate more income from commercial sources. PBS makes an increasing percentage of its income on consumer products like videos.

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