NVC Arts – the London-based music and arts distributor – exists no more. The 21-person operation was acquired by Warner Music International in 1994, five years after the companies established an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement. After operating independently for seven years, NVC has fallen prey to the streamlining of operations. NVC’s catalog will be taken over by Warner Vision International, the Warner arm that releases music-related media to the U.K. and worldwide markets (excluding the U.S.).
After a 30-day consultation period (which began March 6), a portion of nvc’s employees will move to Warner Vision, but a source from Warner Music admits the restructuring agenda entails downsizing. ‘All we’ve done is restructure our operation. We have chosen to close down NVC Arts and fuse that business into Warner Vision… [It's] a strategic decision.’
Karen Dacey, managing director of U.K.-based distributor Indigo Factual, suggests that while it may have been unwise for NVC to concentrate heavily on one particular genre, it might also be unwise for smaller companies to get absorbed into larger ones instead of looking for financing elsewhere. ‘We are a small, independent distribution company and we’ve watched everyone around us get swallowed up. The trend is a bit worrying. All [big companies] are interested in is catalog-building and accumulating for their shareholders, but I don’t know whether that’s going to be the best thing for buyers in the long-run.’ She adds, ‘We have no intention of doing the same sort of thing. We think we can offer a better service by staying independent. It means that you’re not answerable to a board or shareholders. You can move quickly, and the marketplace these days demands that you can move quickly, think quickly, and make decisions quickly. The bigger the company, the more these things get lost.’