December 17, 2018
Rowman & Littlefield has acquired certain trade imprints and select trade titles of the Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group from Hal Leonard LLC. The latter will continue its separate business of publishing sheet music and music instructional materials.
The purchase gives R&L roughly 3,200 active titles aimed at aspiring and professional musicians, producers, engineers, directors, actors, and fans of pop culture. The titles are divided into five imprints: the Hal Leonard imprint (which will be rolled into R&L following the acquisition); Applause Theatre & Cinema Books; Amadeus Press; Backbeat Books; and Limelight Editions. Sales are estimated at about $4 million.
The imprints focus on different areas in the performing arts field. Applause is a publisher of theater and cinema books, while Amadeus Press focuses on classical music and opera books. Backbeat Books publishes a range of titles, including biographies and memoirs, covering all areas of rock 'n' roll, jazz, and other musical categories. Limelight Editions publishes titles that offer resources for actors, producers, writers, directors, filmmakers, set designers, and others in the performing arts.
According to Jed Lyons, R&L group publisher and CEO, the company will continue to release new titles under the Applause, Backbeat and Limelight imprints, while other new books will come out under the R&L name. R&L will begin publishing new titles in 2020, at which point Lyons expects that about 100 new titles to be released under the newly acquired imprints.
As part of the deal, three Hal Leonard executives are joining R&L, including John Cerullo, group publisher, who now reports to Oliver Gadsby, president of the company’s academic and professional division. Carol Flannery, editorial director, and Clare Cerullo, production manager, have also made the move to R&L.
The purchase will also bring about a change in distribution. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, Backbeat Books and Limelight Editions (as well as publishers distributed by Limelight) will all be sold by R&L’s National Book Network division. Titles acquired from Amadeus, and select other Hal Leonard titles, will be sold by R&L under each company’s discount schedules. The transfer from Hal Leonard to NBN and R&L will be February 1, 2019. Until this date, customers should continue to direct orders to Hal Leonard.
Commenting on the acquisition, Lyons, said: “We are delighted to bring the Hal Leonard team and business on board, and are looking forward to working with John and his colleagues. The Hal Leonard list will benefit from extra attention and focus from our own trade and academic teams."