Industry News

CEO Leaves McIntosh Group; Sprint Buys Shares in Tidal

Every issue, we will present major news of the audio industry as we learn of it. Aside from expository text  required to make sense of the press-releases, we will refrain from editorial comment. —Ed.

[In its 70 year history, McIntosh Laboratory has had a number of owners. The company was bought by the Japanese car audio maker Clarion in 1980, and was sold to D&M Holdings—which also owned Denon and Marantz, among several other audio companies— in 2003. The Fine Sounds Group was formed in 2007 when Italian capital group Quadrivio SGR bought Sonus Faber; Mauro Grange came on as CEO of Sonus Faber in 2009, the same year the group bought Audio Research. Subsequently, Fine Sounds purchased the importer/distributor Sumiko in 2010; Wadia in 2011; and McIntosh in 2012. Fine Sounds also owned an Asian distribution company, Fine Sounds Asia, and started a luxury headphone brand, Pryma. In 2014, Grange and McIntosh Laboratory President Charlie Randall led a buyout of Fine Sounds in partnership with two capital groups, and in 2016, the group was renamed McIntosh Group. Complicated, eh? —Ed.]

 McIntosh Group

CEO Mauro Grange stepping down after 8 years at the helm of the Group.    Charles Randall, CEO of McIntosh Laboratory Inc. to step in.

New York, USA – January 23, 2017: After successfully leading Fine Sounds Group, renamed McIntosh Group in 2016 for almost a decade, Mauro Grange will be stepping down from his position as CEO, effective December 31, 2016, as planned at the time of the Management Buyout supported by financial sponsors LBO France and Yarpa.

During Mr. Grange’s tenure, the Group developed into one of the leading players in the High End Audio industry.

“We thank Mauro for his service for the last 8 years. He built McIntosh Group into a world-class leader and has prepared the organization for the future challenges, as the widely appreciated new Lifestyle products and the strategic entrance in the Premium car audio sector demonstrate” said Robert Daussun, President of LBO France. “Mauro is leaving us in a strong position to move towards our goal of consolidating our leadership position in the core audio market and continue our momentum in new sectors, including Lifestyle products and Premium car audio,” added Luca Paveri Fontana, Yarpa’s Executive Vice Chairman.

“It has been an incredible privilege and personally gratifying for me to have led Fine Sounds Group first and McIntosh Group later for the last 8 years and to have worked side by side with brilliant colleagues whom I now call friends. I’ve been surrounded by an incredible team, many of whom have been at the organization even longer than me. I’m confident that with this team in place the future goals will be achieved,” said Mr. Grange.

Mr. Grange will remain Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Group for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for his successor and will maintain its equity position in the Group’s holding Company. Charles Randall, CEO of McIntosh Laboratory Inc. will step in.

Randall while holding the position of COO of the Group for the last 5 years, and his 30 years of experience with McIntosh Laboratory Inc. will continue the mission of the Group as CEO to be the premier collection of brands in the consumer electronics industry.

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[The Norwegian technology company Aspiro started up an online music-streaming service called WiMP—no, I don’t know what it stood for, in English— back in 2010. When the service came to the US in 2014, the name was changed to Tidal, and the company was an early leader in providing CD-quality streaming. In 2015, Aspiro was bought by rapper/businessman Jay-Z for $56M. The service has struggled to gain subscribers, but at CES, announced that it had gone live with MQA Authenticated content. And now, a third of the company has been purchased by Sprint, allegedly for more than three times what Carter/Jay-Z paid for the whole company. Who says rappers aren’t good businessmen?—Ed.]

TIDAL and its artists to deliver exclusive content to help Sprint acquire new customers, reward current customers

Sprint will make TIDAL available to its 45 million post and prepaid customers 

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure to join TIDAL Board of Directors

NEW YORK and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Jan. 23, 2017 – Global music and entertainment platform TIDAL and Sprint (NYSE: S) announced today an unprecedented partnership that will soon give Sprint’s 45 million retail customers unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else.

TIDAL and its artists will make exclusive content that will only be available to current and new Sprint customers.

As part of the partnership, Sprint will acquire 33 percent of TIDAL. JAY Z and the artist-owners will continue to run TIDAL’s artist-centric service as it pioneers and grows the direct relationship between artists and fans. The formidable pairing of Sprint and TIDAL will grow customers on both platforms by offering exclusive access for customers who subscribe to TIDAL. Sprint’s chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, will also join TIDAL’s Board of Directors.

“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” said JAY Z. “Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”

TIDAL is a global, experiential, entertainment platform built for fans, directly from artists around the world. Members of TIDAL enjoy unmatched exclusively curated content that directly connect artists with their fans in multiple ways. TIDAL is available in more than 52 countries, with a more than 42.5 million song catalog and 140,000 high-quality videos.

The innovative TIDAL platform, combined with Sprint’s award-winning reliable network and best value for unlimited data, talk and text, will deliver a first-of-its-kind experience for music fans.

“Jay saw not only a business need, but a cultural one, and put his heart and grit into building TIDAL into a world-class music streaming platform that is unrivaled in quality and content,” said Claure. “The passion and dedication that these artist-owners bring to fans will enable Sprint to offer new and existing customers access to exclusive content and entertainment experiences in a way no other service can.”

More news on exclusive offers and upcoming promotions from Sprint and TIDAL will be unveiled soon.

Sprint’s dedication to its customers and to artists is at the heart of the partnership. Part of that effort will include the establishment of a dedicated marketing fund specifically for artists. The fund will allow artists the flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans.

The Sprint-TIDAL partnership comes on the heels of TIDAL’s recent announcement revealing the availability of “Master” quality recordings. A wide variety of content from labels and artists, including Warner Music Group’s world-renowned music catalogue, is now available in Master audio across all of TIDAL’s available markets worldwide.

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