Steinway Buys ArkivMusic

Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. announced May 19 that it was acquiring online classical retailer ArkivMusic, LLC for $3 million in cash at closing and three annual payments of $500,000.

ArkivMusic has been one of the recording industry's few success stories, the result of its core staff's passion for classical music and its realization that the old model of shipping product all over the country looking for customers was grossly inefficient. ArkivMusic not only utilized the Internet's efficiencies, but it created a unique "on-demand" manufacturing model wherein CDs are created after the order has been placed. As a result, the company's annual growth has pegged at about 30% per year over the last four years. The company did more than $8 million in sales in 2007.

"This is a fantastic deal for us and the companies we work with," ArkivMusic's President Eric Feidner told Stereophile. "Steinway will provide us with the capital to grow our company to meet its potential, guaranteeing a strong classical music presence in the prerecorded music market."

"Also very important, we will continue to operate independently. The management team is locked in for the long term and all employees continue in their current roles."

That's a smart move on Steinway's part, because much of the value in ArkivMusic is the depth of knowledge and passion of the ArkivMusic staff.

Steinway CEO Dana Messina sees it that way. "We are excited to have ArkivMusic and its employees join Steinway. We share a passion for supporting outstanding music and musicians, and ArkivMusic is one of the shining lights in the classical music business these days. This acquisition will help Steinway promote thousands of musicians that use our instruments around the globe."