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Company Town : Krasnow Starts Record Label With MCA

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Robert Krasnow, the talent guru who masterminded the success of such acts as George Clinton, Metallica and Anita Baker, has launched a record label in association with MCA Music Entertainment Group.

The 59-year-old former Elektra Entertainment chairman, who shocked the record industry last summer when he quit the label following a corporate shake-up, broke his four-month silence Thursday to announce the multimillion-dollar joint venture.

“I’m back and I’m ready to do business,” Krasnow said in a telephone interview from his home in New York. “What I’m selling is specialized individual attention and dedicated commitment to each act I sign.”

MCA Inc. has committed more than $3 million in start-up costs for the as-yet-unnamed venture, which will be based in New York. Krasnow is conducting negotiations with several acts and expects to have his first release in the stores by June.

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The realignment that drove Krasnow from Elektra also forced the departure of Warner Bros. Records chairman Mo Ostin and his protege Lenny Waronker, who are set to leave the Warner Music Group fold next year.

Fallout from the battle subsequently caused Metallica to file a lawsuit to sever its decade-long association with Elektra and triggered an unprecedented executive revolt in October that nearly paralyzed the world’s largest record company.

Widely respected for his keen musical ear and eclectic taste, Krasnow has been courted in recent months by several record conglomerates. Al Teller, chairman and CEO of MCA Music Entertainment Group, said: “This is a bet on Bob. The deal is specifically designed to take advantage of his great strength as a finder of talent.”

In related news, Phil Quartararo will not leave Virgin Records to take a presidency post at Warner Bros. Records. And Sire Records artists and repertoire whiz Joe McEwen has turned down an offer to join his current boss, Seymour Stein, who is expected to move to Elektra Entertainment soon.

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* John J. Ruscin has been appointed president and chief executive of CBS/FOX Video.

* Diarmuid Quinn is the new senior vice president of marketing for Hollywood Records in Burbank.

* Edward Egan, Mark Kristol and William Loper have joined Universal Pictures in senior marketing positions. All three executives come to Universal from TriStar Pictures.


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