The man synonymous with television's "American Bandstand" is once again getting into the record business and he's doing it with one of Russia's biggest pop sensations.
Burbank-based Dick Clark Productions Inc. and two Russian promoters have launched a record label with little more in mind than making the boy band Na-Na a household name in the United States.
Access Records has no plans to take on any other acts, according to label President Larry Klein, a television producer who has worked with Clark for nearly 30 years.
With the music industry in a slump, the company could have a tough time getting a major record label to sign a distribution deal with the band, which has been popular in Russia but is virtually unknown in the United States. "I can't think about timing," Klein said. "All I think about is, 'This is a terrific project.'"
Na-Na recently got some exposure in the United States, but not because of their music. A few media outlets last month reported the band's producer was attempting to get Russian authorities to agree to take one of the musicians into orbit on the Soyuz spacecraft.
Na-Na was set to finish work on a three-song demo this month and Klein said he hopes the band's first U.S. single will be released early next year. The songs are all in English.
Dick Clark is a public company but Clark himself holds most of the stock. Officials would not disclose how much was invested in the label, but the venture is not believed to pose much risk for Clark, who already has a large entertainment empire.
The company reported net income of $3.7 million in the third quarter ended March 31, down from $5.8 million in the like period a year ago. Third-quarter revenues fell to $22.3 million, vs. $31.5 million in the third quarter of 2000.
"There are multiple huge revenue streams (for him) if this hits big," said Tess Taylor, president of the National Association of Record Industry Professionals.
Klein said it didn't take much more than some photographs and a videotape to convince Clark to back the band, made up four male musicians in their mid-20s.
"I said, 'I like it.' (Dick) said, 'Me, too,'" Klein said.
Though he has no experience in running a record label, Klein has a background in pop music, having produced "American Bandstand," the legendary television show long hosted by Clark. Klein's credits also include "The American Music Awards" and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve," an annual special.
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