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MSR Classics

MSR Classics is an independent record label committed to a culture of musical discovery, inspiration and excellence. Founded in 1998 as Musicians Showcase Recordings, MSR Classics (since August 2003) offers recording artists the opportunity to create and release an album, and to have it distributed and promoted in a global market - as a Compact Disc and in the digital domain as well. Whether releasing a debut album or adding to an existing catalogue of recordings, artists benefit from the MSR team's decades of experience. As part of its commitment to excellence, MSR partners with only the most talented audio production, graphic design and editorial professionals in the industry, assuring an uncommon integrity in concept, content and realization.

MSR is under the ownership and direction of Robert LaPorta, a 31-year veteran of the Music Industry. Just prior to taking over the label in 2006, LaPorta was the Studio Manager of the highly reputable Squires Music Production in Elmsford, New York (2003-2006). Prior to that, he was Director of Classics at the Angel Records group, which encompassed EMI Classics, Virgin Classics and Angel Records (1993-2001). At the PolyGram Classics & Jazz label group, he was Marketing and Production Manager with London-Decca Records, Deutsche Grammophon and Philips Classics (1989-1993). He began his career as a Publicity and Contracts Associate at ICM Artists (now Opus 3) management in New York after having been turned down for a job at The Record Hunter (1987-1989). While at PolyGram and EMI, LaPorta was directly involved with several Gold Record projects, including The Three Tenors and the Chant series.

Earlier, LaPorta worked as a studio engineer and on-air host at Colgate University's student-run radio station, WRCU-FM, in Hamilton, New York (1985-1987). An active participant in all areas of the music industry, he has been a voting member of National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) since 1993 and is a former member of the Grammy Classical Committee. LaPorta is a skilled mobile recording engineer, and is highly active documenting concert events in Connecticut, New York and beyond. Always interested in making new connections with musicians and other music professionals, he is a regular attendee of industry conferences, including those hosted by the International Horn Society, American Choral Directors Association, International Double Reed Society, International Trumpet Guild, Chamber Music America, National Flute Association and New York Flute Club, American Guild of Organists and Tuba Christmas.

In the performing arena, Robert LaPorta is the Founder and previous Personnel Director of the Hudson Valley Wind Symphony, a 70-piece concert band based in Westchester County. He also served as Board President of the Westchester Symphonic Winds, which was an outgrowth of the HVWS. LaPorta was a trombonist and Principal Euphonium with the Hudson Valley Wind Symphony and Westchester Symphonic Winds, and performed on trombone and percussion with the Westchester Philharmonic, Norwich Festival Orchestra, Hamilton Festival Orchestra, Cornell Chamber Orchestra, Larchmont Concert Band, Bronxville Concert Band, Yonkers Pops Band and Armonk Community Band. LaPorta was also Principal Timpanist with the Colgate Concert Orchestra (1985-1987), and Director of the Colgate Jazz Band (1986). He has composed three fantasias, one march and a chorale for symphonic band, a fantasia for symphony orchestra, and numerous pieces for chamber groups, synthesizer and solo instruments. As an arranger, he has transcribed several Baroque works for brass quartet and quintet, and arranged the Alma Maters and Fight Songs for the New Rochelle High School Marching Band and the Colgate University Marching Band. LaPorta is currently working to form The Newtown Brass.

Born in the "Queen City on the Sound" (New Rochelle, New York) on 26 March 1965, LaPorta earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and was one credit short of a Bachelor of Music at Colgate University, where he studied composition with Dexter Morrill and orchestration with the late William Skelton, who studied with Paul Hindemith at Yale. LaPorta, whose father invented the word "Snapple", studied folk guitar with Gus de Gazio, percussion with John F. Sammel, euphonium with Thomas Reichert and Dolores Beck and trombone with Mo Snyder. He also completed coursework in graphic design and advertising at Iona College in New Rochelle.


World-class package design and layout is available to MSR artists through our long-term partnerships with experienced graphic artists. MSR releases have the benefit of being created by design professionals who have worked with internationally known artists on such esteemed record labels as EMI Classics, Blue Note Records, Angel Records, Virgin Classics and Manhattan Records. Art Direction is carried out by our experienced staff, which collectively has managed the design of more than 1500 CDs. Manufacturing (disc replication and print production) is carried out in the United States to the most exacting standards. The entire process, from planning through design and manufacture, is handled with care, attention to detail and efficiency.


While the majority of MSR artists furnish written material for inclusion in their CD packages, MSR offers annotation services for an additional fee. Whether the project calls for a brief overview or a highly detailed musicological analysis, MSR artists are assured of interesting, accurate and appropriate annotation, created by seasoned music professionals, many with conservatory training. In addition, MSR maintains relationships with numerous skilled writers versed in all areas of music performance, history and composition, including Richard Freed, Eric Salzman, Erik Eriksson, Stephen Zohn, and many others.


MSR releases are produced to the highest possible technical standards, and with a skilled direction that only dozens of years of experience in this area can provide. The coordination of materials with package designer and manufacturer is handled with expertise, and the manufacture itself is carried out entirely in the United States by one of the largest and most highly regarded disc manufacturers in the world. Through careful project management and long-term industry relationships, MSR disc production is typically accomplished in approximately four weeks.


For projects involving compositions not in the Public Domain, and therefore requiring mechanical licenses, MSR can manage from start to finish the process by which all necessary licenses are obtained, and royalty fees payed. It is not uncommon for MSR artists to benefit from reduced license royalty rates as a function of our ongoing relationship with experienced licensing administrators and the world's major music publishing houses.


MSR artists receive detailed Royalty Statements and payments once a year, typically by the end of February. Inventory management and all subsequent royalty accounting and disbursement is handled on premises by MSR, reducing the likelihood of error and missed payments. The royalty rates afforded MSR artists are among the very highest in the recording industry, ranging from 30% to 50% of sales revenue.


MSR artists are given the option of storing up to 300 units of their release at the MSR facility at no charge. Having product on-site offers many benefits to the artist. MSR webstore orders are fulfilled directly and immediately from the on-site warehouse. Artists do not have to bear the burden of storing all quantity of their product on their own. Further, the product is available to the artist at any time during normal business hours. MSR can ship discs at the request of the artist (shipping expenses are charged back per the request).


Domestic (US) Retail Music Distribution - On average, four months after the initial MSR and Amazon.com release, the CD is released by MSR's industry distribution partners to an extensive network of domestic accounts, on a consignment basis, for traditional retail and internet merchants.

Amazon.com - Immediately upon release, MSR CD releases are available on Amazon. The item listing includes a color image of the CD cover and rear inlay as well as detailed information about the artist(s) and repertoire

MSR Webstore - Immediately upon release, MSR releases are featured on the MSR website (www.msrcd.com), with multiple category listings and an individual webpage. The individual page includes a color image of the CD cover, detailed information about the artist and musical selections, press reviews, and a 0:45 audio sample. Hyperlinks to additional content can also be provided.

International Distribution - MSR titles are selectively available in Canada, UK, Japan and sporadically in other territories around the globe.


MSR establishes and administers global Digital Download services.

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