For any self-respecting music fan, Morrison Hotel Gallery (MHG) is a name and a half.
Representing over 125 of the world’s finest music photographers and their archives, MHG’s online archive holds 100,000 images searchable by photographer, music artist, band or concert.
Now it has new owners – and they’re likely recognizable to those who’ve been watching the music rights space closely over the past couple of decades.
The trio who founded MHG 22 years ago – Henry Diltz, Peter Blachley, Richard Horowitz – plus later co-owner Timothy White, have sold MHG to three private market investors: Great Mountain Partners, plus former Sony Music and Amazon Music executive Adam Block, and former Concord CEO Scott Pascucci for an undisclosed price.
The Concord connection here is strong: Great Mountain was founded by the team that created Wood Creek Capital. (Ex-Wood Creek-ers include Great Mountain’s two co-founders, Jon Rotolo and Alex Thomson, plus its three MDs –James Elkins, Julie Niedzwiecki, and Greg Smith.)
Worth mentioning: Great Mountain, headquartered in New Haven, Connecticut, has invested over USD $10 billion in capital into private companies so far.
Also worth mentioning: Wood Creek, which was sold to Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (Massmutual) in 2016, part-bankrolled Concord’s acquisitive journey for the first half of the noughties – resulting in Concord’s transformational merger with Bicycle Music in 2015.
(Today, Concord, which generates over $700 million a year in revenues, is majority-owned by a pension fund, State of Michigan Retirement Systems.)
So what, exactly, are Great Mountain, Scott Pascucci, and Adam Block – with Block now officially named as the new CEO of Morrison Hotel Gallery, and Pascucci named as its Executive Chairman – going to do with a prestigious music photography archive?
If MBW were betting types – considering the history of these folks – we’d say that acquisitions may possibly lay on the horizon.
But for now, there’s no evidence of that, so let’s continue with the press release (in italics below), as issued yesterday (August 22).
Morrison Hotel Gallery, the premier destination for fine art music photography, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Adam Block as its new Chief Executive Officer. Block, a recognized luminary in the world of music and multimedia, brings a wealth of experience and innovation to the gallery, setting the stage for its next chapter of excellence. Scott Pascucci, former CEO of Concord, will also be joining Morrison Hotel Gallery as Executive Chairman.
Since its inception, Morrison Hotel Gallery has carved a distinctive niche as the world’s leading destination for music aficionados and art enthusiasts alike. Co-founded by Henry Diltz, Peter Blachley, and Richard Horowitz (and later joined by Timothy White), the gallery shines a spotlight on the intricate tapestry of music history through the lens of some of the industry’s most celebrated photographers. Morrison Hotel Gallery offers a curated experience that transcends generations. Its artwork spans from iconic shots of rock legends, intimate portrayals of jazz maestros, and powerful images of hip hop trailblazers to evocative portraits that capture the enduring mystique and charisma of Hollywood royalty as well as legendary sports figures.
With Block at the helm, the gallery’s commitment to authenticity and artistic excellence will be amplified with a focus on continuing to celebrate the legacies of its robust roster of the world’s greatest music and entertainment photographers. Additionally, there will be an emphasis on shining the spotlight on the next generation of world-class photographers. Morrison Hotel Gallery’s next important chapter will include reinforcement and growth of the gallery community through exhibitions and events as well as strategic expansion of the platform – from its physical locations to its digital marketing and sales – moving beyond its core business to a broad range of new endeavors.
“The Morrison Hotel Gallery is a living testament to the power of music and the moments that define our culture,” said White. “I am so excited to be a part of this next chapter under new stewardship, and the guidance and direction of Adam Block. His visionary leadership and expertise will be instrumental in shaping the gallery’s future and continuing its enduring legacy. I’m excited to work alongside him as we continue to create an experience that resonates deeply with music fans and collectors across the globe.”
With an illustrious career spanning several decades, Block’s achievements stand as a testament to his commitment to the creative arts. Prior to joining Morrison Hotel Gallery, he was the Global Head of Catalog Music at Amazon Music, where he established the [RE]DISCOVER program. The expansive platform positioned Amazon Music as the first music streaming service to fully integrate catalog music (nearly 70% of all music consumed) into its strategy and culture. Moreover, he’s a co-founder and partner in Jazz Is Dead, a modern music company based in Los Angeles that uses the lens of hip hop sampling to identify and celebrate underrepresented musical legends. Jazz Is Dead is creating a significant impact within diverse music circles both in the United States and several markets around the world. Block is also a co-founder of the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival.
During his 25-year tenure at Sony Music Entertainment, Block’s imprint was indelible. As the President of Legacy Recordings, he ushered the catalog label into the digital age, formulating revolutionary marketing tactics and sealing significant acquisition deals. Among his myriad accomplishments are the release of interactive music videos such as Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” as well as the launch of several artist-specific iOS apps and experiences. He was also instrumental in the launch of PopMarket, an early Direct-to-Customer initiative and Certified, the first catalog-label led social media initiative dedicated to the celebration of hip hop. Under his guidance, Legacy amplified the legacies of icons such as Miles Davis, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, A Tribe Called Quest, and countless others.
During his tenure, he was responsible for driving the acquisitions of catalogs including AC/DC, Paul Simon, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Uncle Tupelo, and others. He also signed and recorded numerous heritage artists, leading to multiple Grammy nominations and awards and rejuvenated visibility and success including Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Bob Weir, Earth Wind & Fire, Cassandra Wilson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Keyon Harrold, among others.
Block’s contributions extend beyond music to film and television, having executive produced and/or been intimately involved in projects including Show Me The Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall, Paul Simon’s Under African Skies, Searching for Sugar Man, Ken Burns’ Jazz and Ken Burns’ Blues, the stunning American Epic series as well as its Grammy-winning soundtrack, and more.
“I’m deeply honored to be stepping into the role of CEO at Morrison Hotel Gallery, a beacon of artistry in the world of music photography,” said Block. “I’ve long taken pleasure and pride in advocating for and championing artists across the spectrum of mediums. Focusing my energy on photographers just feels like a very natural extension of that work.
Block continued: “We recognize the impeccable reputation Henry, Peter, Rich and Timothy have built for Morrison Hotel Gallery over the last 22 years. It’s especially heartening to know that Timothy will continue alongside us, ensuring our marketing remains cutting-edge and our artistic bar sets the standard that others will attempt to meet. Together, we aim to further Morrison Hotel Gallery’s legacy as a photographer’s photography gallery while continuing to grow and delight our large, loyal community of fans and customers.”Music Business Worldwide