Music Direct Purchases Mobile Fidelity

One of the most esteemed labels in the audiophile universe should soon be back in business. Online retailer Music Direct has purchased remastering and re-release specialty company Mobile Fidelity, according to an announcement made April 24.

Sebastapol, CA-based Mobile Fidelity built a large and loyal following in the audiophile community, beginning with high-quality half-speed remasterings of popular recordings in the 1970s. The company embraced the CD revolution in the 1980s with a series of extremely successful "gold" reissues, but in the late 1990s began to suffer a cash crunch even as it was experimenting with remasterings in the SACD and DVD-Audio formats.

The shuttering of the company last year was a shock to many who had come to rely on Mobile Fidelity for excellent-sounding discs. "Our problem was that we had saturated the market for audiophile re-issues," MoFi's former national sales manager John Wood confided. "We never wavered from our basic mission, but there are simply a limited number of music fans who care about high-quality recordings. Once we had reached most of them, business began to drop off."

In late April, Music Direct---which worked with Chicago's Premonition Records in the release of Patricia Barber's first albums, and also distributes DCC vinyl recordings---acquired all the rights to MoFi's inventory, processes, patents, and brand name. MoFi will reportedly retain its own identity, but no new release schedule has been announced.

Inquiries about Mobile Fidelity should be sent to Rob Gillis at Music Direct, 318 N. Laflin St., Chicago, IL 60607-1006. Telephone numbers: 800-449-8333 or 312-433-0200.