Burt Goldstein, Veteran Music Retail & Distribution Exec, Dead at 73 – Billboard


Burt Goldstein, a colourful music trade character and government who headed up two music retailing operations and three impartial distribution corporations throughout his greater than three-decade profession, died peacefully in his sleep at his house in Albuquerque, NM on Oct. 9. on, his birthday. He was 73.

Goldstein’s profession spanned from the early Nineteen Seventies, when he opened his first Musical Maze retailer in Manhattan, to the Nineteen Eighties, when he served as the highest music retail government for the Loopy Eddie equipment retail chain. Later that decade, he pivoted to indie distribution — first together with his personal firm Affect Distribution, opened in 1988; then by heading up Profile Data’ Landmark Distributors. He later began his personal distribution firm Huge Daddy in 1996, which he offered in 2007 to Music Video Distributors (MVD). Alongside the way in which he mentored a variety of executives who went on to music trade careers of their very own.

Whereas Goldstein might be a hard-nosed enterprise government and a tricky negotiator — as the main label executives who needed to take care of him throughout the Nineteen Eighties when he oversaw the Loopy Eddie music division can attest — he was additionally recognized for having loads of enjoyable alongside the way in which, typically in a tongue-in-cheek method, former colleagues recall. In actual fact, when he turned a distributor, he would typically start gross sales calls by performing a magic trick, testifies his Huge Daddy accomplice Doug Bail, who additionally labored with him at Benel Distributors. 

In actual fact, at one NARM conference (now referred to as Music Biz), Goldstein cornered the keynote speaker —Google’s then-head of latest enterprise improvement Chris Sacca — and identified that Goldstein’s sneakers had a multi-color weave containing all of Google’s company colours. He then proceeded to try to speak Sacca into shopping for 1000’s of pairs of sneakers for all of Google’s workers. At one other NARM conference, Goldstein received in hassle with the commerce group by breaking the principles and promoting CDs on show on the Huge Daddy’s commerce sales space. However Goldstein was donating all of the gross sales to Bob Benjamin’s Mild Of Day charity and wouldn’t be deterred. After they shut him down the primary time, he continued to promote the CDs earlier than being stopped as soon as once more.

Harry Spero, who these days heads up his personal advert company, Spero Media, recollects his days working alongside Goldstein at Loopy Eddie, the place he skilled either side of Goldstein — the hard-nosed businessman and his omnipresent joy-of-life angle. “One week, he would have a battle with CBS till he received what he needed, then the following week he would have a battle with WEA, adopted the following week with PolyGram. He was all the time at battle with one of many labels.”

Jay Rosenberg, who additionally labored at Loopy Eddie, echoes Spero, remembering that in his days on the chain, “We had epic battles with the labels.” Wealthy Masio, who labored at Huge Daddy, quoted two Goldstein sayings that displayed the chief’s take no prisoner’s model — “You eat what you kill” and “Good luck to you, my good friend and the horse you rode in on” — the latter of which might be inscribed on the Huge Daddy firm t-shirt. The primary saying was to remind the gross sales staff to maintain promoting, and the second was for when he was completed with you, Masio explains.

Goldstein was born in 1949 and grew up in Brooklyn, graduating from Lengthy Island College in 1971 with a B.S. in Sociology. However whereas going to highschool, he started working on the Uni Sonic document retailer throughout the road from the LIU Brooklyn campus. After graduating, he stayed on to handle the shop, ​thus launching his music trade profession. By 1973, he moved on and opened his first Musical Maze within the Gramercy Park space of Manhattan, across the nook from Baruch Faculty and the Faculty of Visible Arts. In 2006, Goldstein informed MusicMorselsonline.com that by age 15 he knew he was going to open a document retailer. 

The Musical Maze enterprise would quickly develop to 4 shops and a pop-up retailer or two. Alongside the way in which, the unique Musical Maze, situated between twenty third Road and twenty second Road on Third Avenue, appeared to make use of a who’s-who from the downtown New York music scene of Max’s Kansas Metropolis and CBGB’s. At one time or one other, Musical Maze staffers included George Scott from James Probability and the Contortions, Peter Holsapple from The dB’s, Jimi “Quidd” Hatzidimitriou from the Dots, Ed Ryan from The Rudies and, very briefly, Lance Loud from the Mumps in addition to Drew Wheeler, a New York Rocker contributor and future Billboard copy editor.

Throughout his Musical Maze days, Goldstein married his girlfriend Jan DeGeer Goldstein, who labored with him on the small indie chain, on March 2, 1984, in Las Vegas, based on an merchandise in Billboard‘s “Lifelines” column. Along with being his accomplice in life, DeGeer Goldstein additionally labored with him throughout the Loopy Eddie days and in a while at Huge Daddy.

The native Musical Maze chain would proceed on at the same time as Goldstein started his subsequent retailing journey in 1979, working the music sections for the then-rapidly rising Loopy Eddie electronics chain, whose commercials had been notorious for utilizing a fast-talking DJ Jerry Carroll because the chain’s pitchman, touting the shops “insane costs.”

Goldstein truly labored for the Loopy Eddie chain’s sister firm Benel Distributors — often known as the File and Tape Asylum, an operation that equipped and operated the music presence within the chain’s 43 shops — at its peak. At Benel, Goldstein held the title of government vp, and was the important thing particular person negotiating with the main document labels on advertising and marketing {dollars} and promotional campaigns for brand new releases. 

Whereas there, Goldstein employed Rosenberg as a purchaser for the chain, and inside a few years Rosenberg turned head purchaser. Rosenberg says Goldstein “helped form my music trade profession. I realized quite a bit from Burt on easy methods to take care of labels and distribution.” In actual fact, Goldstein, in his personal inimitable means, would typically remind Rosenberg of that. As Rosenberg recollects — and posted on his Fb web page — “Burt used to inform individuals, ‘I taught Jay every part he is aware of, however not every part I do know.’”

After Loopy Eddie imploded within the late Nineteen Eighties attributable to monetary hassle detailed in a lately issued guide on the chain and its proprietor Eddie Antar, Goldstein’s profession went in a distinct path when he opened up an indie music distribution operation, Affect Distribution, in Chicago in 1988. That will launch the following part of his profession. Quickly, he was additionally working with Landmark, the distribution arm owned by the Profile Data principals, first opening a department in Los Angeles whereas sustaining the Affect department in Chicago. In 1991, Affect was merged beneath the Landmark banner and, within the course of, stood on the forefront of a development that might sweep the indie music sector: the tip of regional distribution networks for indie labels and the transfer to nationwide distribution.

Nonetheless, Orchard senior vp of product improvement Alan Becker remembers Goldstein extra for his retail days. “Burt was a really colourful man and a throwback to the retail guys of a bygone period,” Becker says.

Landmark finally blew up attributable to infighting between the 2 Profile principals, which not directly developed into an unsuccessful involuntary Chapter 11 submitting in opposition to Landmark by three of its labels. That submitting however spelled the tip of Landmark, because it made the opposite Landmark-distributed labels and its retail account base skittish. Within the aftermath, Goldstein began Huge Daddy, his most profitable distribution firm. After merging Huge Daddy into MVD in 2007, Goldstein retired from the music trade.

Larry Germack, who labored at Huge Daddy, recollects his days on Goldstein’s workers. “He was an incredible document man; the headmaster of the old-fashioned document enterprise, who pressed the flesh to the tip, ” Germack says. “I’m actually saddened by his passing. Burt’s character and verve had been sturdy. He was an entertainer, had a great vibe about him; and he was one-of-a variety within the true sense of the phrase.”

On his final day, the Goldstein household and pals went out to dinner at a restaurant to have fun his birthday. A few of his former staffers recalled that on his birthday, it was Goldstein’s technique to encourage a roomful of strangers to sing “Blissful Birthday” to him, main them like a conductor. His pals puzzled if that occurred on his final night time too. 

In an e-mail informing pals of Goldstein’s passing, his spouse Jan wrote that her husband “was comfortable…and sometimes mentioned he had such an incredible life.”

Along with his spouse, Goldstein is survived by his daughters, Ali and Jessie, and his brother Steve.

Impressed by his father-in-law’s instance, Goldstein generously donated his physique to the College of New Mexico Faculty of Medication.  To make a charitable donation, go to UNMfund.org.

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