ARTICLE SUMMARY: 6-D THE MIAMI HERALD Thurs., Oct. 3, 1974
BY JOHN HUDDY
Records Flying For Independent Hialeah-Producer
Two years ago, Henry Stone saw it coming. The owner of Tone Distributors, a sprawling, independent record-distribution firm tucked away off SE 10th Court in Hialeah, realized that maverick record firms faced hard times, not only because of rising costs far out of proportion to wholesale revenues, but also because the labels themselves were starting to do their own distribution.
“Tone started its own label (T.K. Productions) as an insurance policy,” someone close to the operation says. “It’s a crazy business and they wanted to stay in it. somehow.” Says another expert: “What’s happening is that the record business is now in the hands of the bankers and the accountants working for the big conglomerates. They can operate at a loss because they’re tap tapping public money through public companies.
Tone is one of the few big independent distributors not to go bankrupt, but they don’t have the Product they once had.” Tone is still kicking, and for good reason: That little “insurance policy” in the form of a second-hand, grubby little studio stuck in a comer of the warehouse, is now a runaway success, paying stunning, multi-million-dollar dividends. George McCrae’s three-month -old “Rock Your Baby,” which shot to the top of U.S. charts last summer, has become the biggest international hit since Perry Como’s “It’s Impossible,” trade sources say.
Recently the No. 1 record in Great Britain and France, “Rock Your Baby” currently is No. 1 in Belgium and Switzerland, No. 4 in Sweden, No. 8 in Australia, and No. 9 in Denmark, according to Billboard magazine . Anticipated sales: $5 million. And there’s more: McCrae has another potential hit. ‘I Can’t Love You A}one;” already climbing the domestic soul charts. The composers of his first hit, H. W. Casey and Richard Finch, are out with their first album, “K.C. and the Sunshine Band,” and have a single, “Queen of Clubs,” that’s No. 9 in England. Another T.K. group, Little Beaver, has “Party Down” edging upwards on the soul charts (it’s now No. 31), and a singer named Latimore has the No. 43 disc in “Let’s Straighten lt Out.”
Trade secrets? The expert says T.K. Productions concentrates on records that sell, the firm has a very strong promotional staff, excellent, experienced songwriters and singers, and understands the soft rhythm-and-blues feel to contemporary soul music.”
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