MVD Entertainment Group: A World Wide Leader In Music Visual Entertainment
To Be Published In Goldmine Magazine
OAKS, PA. - There is something special about watching a DVD of your favorite band or artist, the visual aspect not only intensifies the musical experience, but also creates a whole new format for a fan to enhance the collection of their favorite artist. Over the last 25 years, the Oaks, Pa.-based MVD Entertainment Group has established itself as a world leader in the releasing and distribution of music DVD.
Photos Courtesy of MVD Entertainment
Founded in 1986 by music industry veteran Tom Seaman, MVD Entertainment Group (previously Music Video Distributors, Inc.) consists of three divisions - MVD Vusial, MVD Audio and MVD Distribution - and is recognized as one of the leading producers of music DVD entertainment. Re- branded as MVD Visual in 1999, this division has released over 2,000 titles in the last dozen years.
With more than 40 years of music retail experience with such companies as Musicland, Sam Goody, CBS Retail and JEM Records, Seaman launched MVD as a one-stop music shop for VHS music releases, selling primarily to music and video stores. Of course, building these strong relationships with labels, artists and retailers would certainly prove advantageous at the dawn of DVD age, allowing MVD to quickly become a major distributor in music DVD.
MVD Visual specializes in the producing, releasing, marketing and world-wide distribution of audio-visual content on BluRay, DVD and electronic formats. Although the focus is primarily on music, MVD also offers a variety of other genres including documentaries, films, horror and educational titles.
Established in 2006, MVD Audio offers the exclusive distribution of audio on CD, vinyl and digital. MVD Audio has the distribution rights for thousands or audio recordings, including music labels around the world including Metal Mind Productions, Manifesto Records, Inakustik, Amherst Records, Uproar, Yellow Dog Records, V-12 Records, Trapeze Records and more.
MVD Distribution is the wholesale division of MVD, offering one of the largest selections of the format in the world, including music and non-music related titles. The department services distributors, major chain stores, one-stops, online retail and independent retailers, physically fulfilling all of its orders including MVD Visual and MVD Audio.
The music video industry is a very finicky and trendy proposition, a slippery slope of rising stars, a multitude of genres and the latest fads. Therefore, surviving and thriving in such a fluctuating market is no small feat. "The music video business has always had ups and downs in the eyes of the industry," MVD Distributors founder and COO Ed Seaman said in a recent interview.
"A Led Zeppelin DVD box set comes out and everyone is in love with the format and then, the market floods with crap that doesn't sell. The market fluctuates down and as a result, only appropriate releases make their way to market."
However, something new or rare always seems to come along that shifts the landscape or sets a new trend within the industry. "Eventually, something new sets the world on fire and everyone is hot-to-trot on the format again," Seaman said. "We've watched this fluctuation for 25 years. The truth of course - is the music DVD business is never as bad or as good as the industry makes it out to be - it lies somewhere in the middle."
However, as long as there are people out there that want to see their favorite artist or band, there will always be a market for music video. "Consumers still want their favorite act on DVD or BluRay because it is a collectible, like a hat or a T-shirt," Seaman added." There are a lot less retail shelves to put products on, but the demand remains there.
"We adjust by striving for the right content at the right value and aim for highly collectible artists. We are more cautious about the money we spend on acquiring or making content and more cautious about how we market the products, with the focus more on consumer-direct awareness. Particularly, we focus on
areas where we can bring the fans closer to the bands; we draw energy from that relationship."
When asked how the emergence of digital music may have affected the DVD industry over the last five years and subsequently, how MVD Entertainment has adapted, Seaman's answer may be a little surprising. "Digital so far, has had very
little impact on music DVD sales in our eyes," Ed said.
"Most fans for a music DVD are collectors - not casual fans who will stream five minutes on YouTube. Electronic Sell Through is also limited; it is awkward to gift a download to someone. We are very active in the digital world but to date,
there is very limited monetization on music video programs compared to physical."
Speaking of audio, the MVD Audio division is also active and thriving, focused on bringing in great artist/label catalogs such as Manifesto Records (Dead Kennedys, Turtles, Tim Buckley), the Meat Puppets, V-12 (Robin Trower), Vision Music (Nils Lofgren), Amherst Records (Spyro Gyra) to name a few.
"Audio CD and vinyl ain't dead, but the collectors all know this," Seaman added. "And if the media wants to paint the picture that it is a dead or dying business, no problem - that simply weeds out our competition. Especially with heritage acts, we really see far more physical sales than digital."
Indeed, MVD's impact on the industry has been significant over the years.When asked to name a few of MVD's "landmark" releases over the years, public relations director Clint Weiler elaborated, "In my 10-plus years at MVD, I've worked with a 'ton' of diverse and talented artists."
"We work with so many genres of music and film and I've learned so much about the history of entertainment. But a few titles that come to mind include Rockers, Style Wars, Sublime's "Stories Tales and Lies and Iggy and the Stooges' Live in Detroit.
Moving forward, MVD is also excited about their upcoming "In the Hands of the Fans" series in which six fans will be chosen to film a band in high definition. "Then, they will get to meet their heroes face-to-face and interview the band. The end resulting program shows the fans 'journey, including their crazy contest submission videos, all the way through the concert film and then meeting the band.
"So far, we've done Iggy & The Stooges doing Raw Power and Dinosaur Jr. doing Bug Seaman added. "We are currently looking for more bands to feature in this very rewarding program. It is also a very efficient model to make a unique and engaging concert film!"
Of course, MVD also continues to churn out both new and classic DVD titles in a variety of genres for collectors, hard-core fans and even the innocent bystander who might not even be aware of what is now available to them. Some recent and upcoming DVD releases include Frank Zappa - Strait To Bizarre, Dinosaur Jr - Live At 9:30 Club, The Beatles - Srange Fruit, Apple Records Documentary The Grateful Dead - Dawn of the Dead, Iggy And The Stooges - Live At APT 2010 and X - The Unheard Music.
Upcoming CD releases include Dead Milkmen - The King In Yellow, Nils Lofgren - Old School, Prima Donna - Bless This Mess, New Riders Of The Purple Sage - 17 Pine Avenue and Ignitor - Year Of The Metal Tiger. To learn more about the MVD Entertainment Group, visit online at www.mvdb2b.com.