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Major Distributor Codaex Group Collapses, Codaex U.K. Now Facing Administration

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Jul 12, 2013 12:56 AM EDT | Classicalite Newsdesk

Major Distributor Codaex Group Collapses, Codaex U.K. Now Facing Administration

One of Classicalite's favorite Codaex-distributed releases as of late, Marek Janowksi conducting Bruckner for PentaTone. (Photo : PentaTone Classics)

A few weeks ago, at the Classical:NEXT music industry conference in Vienna, much of the talk was about the collapse of one of Europe's largest distributors, The Codaex Group. Delegates talked about arriving knowing nothing of the company's problems, only to find themselves in an unexpected scramble for new distribution. But there were hopes that the important British arm, Codaex U.K. Ltd., might survive.

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Those were dashed today with the news that Codaex U.K. is to go into administration.

The recording world has been rocked by the news, as the U.K. team were popular with their peers. Some of their labels will already have found new homes, but the company handled dozens of minnows--small in terms of business volumes, but many beautifully formed (or, in some cases, not that beautiful but secreting some rare recordings or little-known gems).

Codaex's most prominent clients included the fine Austrian label PentaTone--which launched the career of violin star Julia Fischer, and whose artists today include major conductors Marek Janowksi and Philippe Herreweghe--as well as SOMM (which boasts pianists Mark Bebbington and Peter Donohoe), Canadian labels Analekta and ATMA Classique (who number the Philadelphia Orchestra's new boss, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, among their artists), as well as Australia's ABC Classics and many, many others.

This announcement follows hard on the heels of other important distributors hitting the rocks.

In May, Harmonia Mundi's Spanish arm closed. The very next month, Qualiton, the oldest classical distribution operation in the United States, drew to a close 45 years of bringing recordings (especially from Hungary) to America's shores.

There remain options. Challenge Classics had formed a joint venture recently with Codaex and will now switch their attentions to the Britain-based distributor Proper Note (who already work with highly respected labels, including ECM). But while doubtless the PentaTones of the world will be fine, whether all the tiny labels who don't have the same kind of sales volumes to offer can find new homes remains to be seen.

Classicalite will be wishing them well, as with the staff of Codaex U.K.

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