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Absolutely Kosher offers $100,000 for the rights to the first two Wrens albums

What the? Absolutely Kosher has loot like that? No way. Press release below…
Wind-Up Records has just formally turned down Absolutely Kosher Records’ offer of $100,000 to purchase the rights to the Wrens’ first two albums, Silver and Secaucus. This is the fourth and most substantial offer Absolutely Kosher has made to acquire the records since the label signed the Wrens in late 2002/early 2003. Two previous attempts to license the albums (rather than buy them) were quashed when Wind-Up insisted an advance given to the band in 1996 be repaid before licensing negotiations proceed. When it became clear that the history between Wind-Up and the Wrens was dictating that label’s business decisions, Absolutely Kosher was left with no choice but to try and buy the albums outright. The latest offer of one hundred thousand dollars (yes, $100,000.00) was made several weeks ago just prior to the band’s landmark performance at Chicago’s Intonation Festival in front of 16,000 people and was rejected this morning. Absolutely Kosher label head Cory Brown said of the conversation, “Even their licensing person seemed surprised that the higher-ups had turned down the offer. She said she would keep me posted if there had been any progress and that we could revisit this in six months. She said that Wind-Up might reissue the albums, but no definite plans had been made or she, at least, hadn’t been made privy to them. I told her that as much as it would be great to see these records in print eventually, the time to do so was now and we were the label to do it.” Both Silver (1994) and Secaucus (1996) were released on Grass Records, also home to such bands as Brainiac (pre-Enon) and Commander Venus (pre-Bright Eyes). Grass was purchased by industry mogul Allen Meltzer, fresh off the sale of the Alliance Entertainment Corporation, a conglomerate of one-stop distributors he founded in the early 1990s. Meltzer transformed the label into Wind-Up not long after the Wrens decided against signing the rather binding multi-album deal the label had laid before them. Both albums (as well as the bulk of the Grass catalog) promptly went out of print and have been fetching anywhere from $35 to $160 on e-Bay, Amazon and the like. The Wrens would have likely been forgotten by all but a few avid fans were it not for the release and remarkable grass roots success of their third album, The Meadowlands, released by Absolutely Kosher in September 2003. “The public deserves to be able to buy Silver and Secaucus for a reasonable price and no label is better suited to put them back in print than The Wrens’ active label partner, Absolutely Kosher Records. Wind-Up squandered their opportunity with the Wrens years ago and have done absolutely nothing in the two years since The Meadowlands’ break-out success. The expectation that they would put the proper time and energy into these reissues, if they even choose to pursue them at all, is unrealistic. Several commercially generous offers have been made for records which are doing nothing but collecting dust in their vaults and each time they have turned them down with no counter-offer. Perhaps it’s vague self-interest, perhaps it’s spite. Either way, it borders on criminal both morally (in terms of what’s best for the fans and the band) and fiscally (in terms of what’s best for the label). We’d like to call on all Wrens fans and people concerned with artists’ rights to write a letter to Wind-Up Records urging them to accept Absolutely Kosher’s most recent offer and FREE THE WRENS’ BACK CATALOGUE. Here’s their address:
Wind-up Records
RE: FREE THE WRENS’ BACK CATALOGUE
72 Madison Ave
New York, NY 10016