K-tel: Wikis

Advertisements
  
  

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Encyclopedia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the Albuquerque Telemundo station, see KTEL-LP.

K-tel International (OTCBB: KTLI) is an "As-Seen-On-TV" company, which is most noted for its compilation music albums, such as "The Super Hits" series, "The Dynamic Hits" series and "The Number One Hits" series. It is also known for "The Record Selector," "The Micro-Roast," "The Tote-a-Tune portable stereo," and many other products.

Contents

History

The company has been in business since the late 1960s and is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They also have subsidiaries or other controlled entities in the U.S., the UK and Germany. In the UK the company is known as "K-tel UK Limited." In the U.S. and Canada it is known as "K-tel International." In fact, the compilation albums listed distribution as such, with an address of Minnetonka, MN.

The founder of K-Tel was Philip Kives.[1] Kives, a fast-talking demonstration salesman who had previously sold cookware door-to-door, harnessed the power of television to sell Teflon-coated frying pans. Kives bought and marketed a number of other products from Seymour Popeil, father of Ronco founder Ron Popeil such as the "Dial-o-matic," a type of food slicer that allowed the user to "dial in" the thickness of slices produced, the Veg-O-Matic, and the "Feather Touch Knife."

The combination of inexpensive goods, mail-order distribution and a well-honed simple sales pitch were a hard combination to beat. Kives took his "Feather Touch Knife" on the road to Australia starting in August, 1965 and by Christmas had sold one million knives with a net profit of one dollar a knife. [2]

K-Tel was formally founded in 1968. After a very successful 1970s, the company expanded rapidly both through acquisitions in their core area of business as well as diversifying into other areas. Philip's cousin Raymond Kives was president of K-Tel USA from 1967 to 1977, and president of K-Tel Europe from 1977 to 1984. K-Tel diversified in its early years, and Raymond began to concentrate on building the USA market and music sales while Phil concentrated on house-wares. The company acquired rival Candlelite Records in 1980, and also formed subsidiaries in areas such as real estate and oil exploration[3]. By 1984, the high-risk ventures had sapped the company's fortunes and K-Tel was unable to meet the payroll. K-Tel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[4]

Mickey Elfenbein, Mr. Kives' nephew was appointed CEO of the publicly-traded U.S. entity K-Tel International in 1993[5] Elfenbein remained CEO of the company into the late 1990s, during which period the company achieved a strong resurgence in worldwide sales primarily of music-related products and had a successful NASDAQ IPO trading under the symbol KTEL. Elfenbein was recognized by Business Week Magazine in 1994 as the CEO of the 7th best publicly traded company in the country, based on growth and profitability.[6]

Entering the Music Business

In 1966, Kives released the company's first compilation album, a collection of 25 country songs titled 25 Great Country Artists Singing Their Original Hits.[7] Kives never intended K-Tel to be a music business, saying "I had to do something else, Ray kives ,Phil/s cousin thought why not do a music album? Raymond thought it'd be a one-off."[8]

Ray and Phil Kives and K-Tel recruited Australian Don Reedman to help set up the UK-based division of K-Tel Records in the early 1970s,with Raymond Kives as president [9]

The company built the business of releasing compilation albums that combined material from a number of popular artists -- "20 Original Hits! 20 Original Stars!" -- on a single theme album.[10] The company could earn revenue in this way, because they negotiated directly with artists and labels for the rights to reproduce their original recordings, in the process also securing a long-term asset through adding those recordings to their catalog.

A lot of their compilation albums largely relied on the pop charts of the time - but concentrated on a specific musical genre - 20 Power Hits, for example, released in 1973, mostly concentrated on rock, though it had "Yesterday Once More" by The Carpenters on it. Some were made for the disco music market (Night Moves, 1979), whereas others featured older music (for example, Summer Cruisin', made in about 1976, featured mostly 50s music).

During the 70's, the K-Tel compilation albums were as prolific as the Now That's What I Call Music! collections of today, if not more so. Just a partial list of releases includes: 1975-Music Express/ 1976-Mind Bender, Power House, Block Buster/1977-Disco Rocket, Pure Power, Music Machine/1979- Circuit Breaker. Most releases had 18 to 22 songs per album.

  • The recording quality deteriorated due to having so many tracks on one album (artist albums of the time had about four or five tracks on each side);
  • It was also difficult to select individual tracks, as the albums had minimal spacing between tracks;
  • As stated on many of these albums, "To ensure the best quality reproduction, the running times of some of the tracks, as originally released, have been changed," meaning that in order to get as many songs on the album as possible, the songs had been edited.

Most of the albums — particularly the ones with songs that were, at the time of release, currently in the charts — invariably topped the album charts; at the time, the album charts covered all albums, but they were later separated into artist and compilation album charts, once compilations started to proliferate. The company is also famous for its Mini Pop Kids series of covers of popular adult contemporary songs.

The company also created original records, the most notable of which were the Hooked on... series, starting with Hooked on Classics.[11] In 1995, the company released the "Club Mix" dance compilation series, which became the highest selling music series in the company's history, with several RIAA Gold and Platinum certifications.[12] The Club Mix dance series was created and initially produced by Elfenbein's son, Mark Elfenbein, who was VP of A&R for the company in the early 1990s.[13]

Today, K-Tel remains one of the most well-known brands associated with TV marketing and the music industry, and the work of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s in amassing an extensive catalog that may turn out to be particularly shrewd. The company is hoping to leverage their significant back catalog in a digital rights and distribution offering that supplies content to large online music retailers such as iTunes, Puretracks and Amazon.com.

Dot com Bubble's effect on K-tel

In mid-April 1998 during the Dot com bubble, news that the company was simply expanding its business to the internet sent the thinly traded stock shooting from about $3 to over $7 in one day (3:1 split adjusted). In spite of the early gains, the company was deemed by many to be a complete bomb, and the short interest of the stock swelled. The price of the stock peaked at about $34[14] in early May, and began to decline, reaching $12 in November and eventually pennies. The vicious advance was fueled mainly by a massive short squeeze that financially devastated traders who held short positions and were either "bought in" or simply forced to cover the positions at very high prices because of the great losses.[15]

K-Tel was unable to sustain the growth and profitability. The company was taken private in a 1 to 5000 reverse split on July 18, 2007[16] changing their symbol to KTLI and moving from the NASDAQ market to the Over-The-Counter market.

Trivia

  • While K-tel was best-known for its "as seen on TV" records and products, they briefly dabbled in television programming and theatrical releases. At theaters, K-tel released at least two movies -- Kermit Schaefer's film about bloopers, Pardon My Blooper, and Mr. Superinvisible, a comedy-fantasy starring Dean Jones. On television, K-Tel also co-produced at least the first season of the musical children's series, "Kids Incorporated."
  • On SCTV, Dave Thomas played a character named Harvey K-Tel, an announcer who specialized in the loud patter typified by K-Tel commercials. His name was a play on the name of actor Harvey Keitel. In 2006, Thomas narrated a documentary film about the history of the company.[17] K-Tel's albums were also satirized in numerous SCTV sketches, such as in the "5 Neat Guys" albums.
  • They trade in Ireland under the name of Celtic Collections.

See also

References

External links

Advertisements

For the Albuquerque Telemundo station, see KTEL-LP.

K-tel International (OTCBB: KTLI) is an "As-Seen-On-TV" company, which is most noted for its compilation music albums, such as "The Super Hits" series, "The Dynamic Hits" series and "The Number One Hits" series.[citation needed] It is also known for "The Record Selector," "The Micro-Roast," "The Tote-a-Tune portable stereo," and many other products.

Contents

History

The company has been in business since the late 1960s and is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They also have subsidiaries or other controlled entities in the U.S., the UK and Germany. In the UK the company is known as "K-tel UK Limited." In the U.S. and Canada it is known as "K-tel International." In fact, the compilation albums listed distribution as such, with an address of Plymouth, MN.[1]

The founder of K-Tel was Philip Kives.[2] Kives, a demonstration salesman who had previously sold cookware door-to-door and in a department store, used television advertising in 1962 to sell Teflon-coated frying pans to a large-scale audience.[3] Kives bought and marketed a number of other products from Seymour Popeil, father of Ronco founder Ron Popeil such as the "Dial-o-matic," a type of food slicer that allowed the user to "dial in" the thickness of slices produced, the Veg-O-Matic, and the "Feather Touch Knife." [3] The combination of inexpensive goods, mail-order distribution and a simple sales pitch were a novel combination in television advertising in the early 1960s. Kives took his "Feather Touch Knife" on the road to Australia starting in August, 1965 and by Christmas had sold one million knives with a net profit of one dollar a knife.[3]

K-Tel was formally founded in 1968. After a successful decade in the 1970s, the company expanded rapidly both through acquisitions in their core area of business as well as diversifying into other areas. Kives' cousin Raymond Kives was president of K-Tel USA from 1967 to 1977, and president of K-Tel Europe from 1977 to 1984. K-Tel diversified in its early years, and Raymond began to concentrate on building the USA market and music sales while Phil concentrated on house-wares. The company acquired rival Candlelite Records in 1980, and also formed subsidiaries in areas such as real estate and oil exploration.[4] By 1984, the high-risk ventures had sapped the company's fortunes and K-Tel was unable to meet the payroll. The publicly-traded U.S. entity K-Tel International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[5]

Mickey Elfenbein, Mr. Kives' nephew was appointed CEO of K-Tel International in 1993[6] Elfenbein remained CEO of the company into the late 1990s, during which period the company achieved a resurgence in worldwide sales primarily of music-related products and had a successful NASDAQ IPO trading under the symbol KTEL. Elfenbein was recognized by Business Week Magazine in 1994 as the CEO of the 7th best publicly traded company in the US, based on growth and profitability.[7]

Entering the Music Business

In 1966, Kives released the company's first compilation album, a collection of 25 country songs titled 25 Great Country Artists Singing Their Original Hits.[8] Kives never intended K-Tel to be a music business, saying "I had to do something else, I thought why not do a music album? I thought it'd be a one-off. Everybody said 'that won't work'. Now all the major labels do compilation albums, but mine was the first."[8]

Ray and Phil Kives and K-Tel recruited Australian Don Reedman (Don is the twin brother of Peter Reedman who was already working in the Australian office as second -in -charge to National Sales Director, John Harper) help set up the UK-based division of K-Tel Records in the early 1970s, with Raymond Kives as President and Ian Howard as Managing Director. Ian Howard recommended to Phil Kives that he hire Don Reedman as Ian Howard and Peter Reedman worked together as Managers' of the Australian Boutique at Expo'67 in Montreal Canada, both worked together back in 1966 for The Australian Department Store David Jones Ltd prior to joining K-Tel.[9]

The company built the business of releasing compilation albums that combined material from a number of popular artists onto a single theme album using the tag line "20 Original Hits! 20 Original Stars!".[10] The company could earn revenue in this way, because they negotiated directly with artists and labels for the rights to reproduce their original recordings, in the process also securing a long-term asset through adding those recordings to their catalog.[citation needed] The compilation albums largely relied on the pop charts of the time but concentrated on a specific musical genre: 20 Power Hits, for example, released in 1973, mostly concentrated on rock, though it had "Yesterday Once More" by The Carpenters on it. Some compilations were made for the disco music market (Night Moves, 1979), whereas others featured older music (Summer Cruisin', made in about 1976, featured mostly 50s music).

The company also created original records, the most notable of which were the [[Hooked on Classics]] series of classical recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra.[11] In 1995, the company released the "Club Mix" dance compilation series, which became the highest selling music series in the company's history, with several RIAA Gold and Platinum certifications.[12] The Club Mix dance series was created and initially produced by Elfenbein's son, Mark Elfenbein, who was VP of A&R for the company in the early 1990s.[13]

Today, K-Tel remains a memorable brand associated with TV marketing and the music industry.[8] The company now leverages their significant back catalog in a digital rights and distribution offering that supplies content to large online music retailers such as iTunes, Puretracks and Amazon.com.

Dot com Bubble's effect on K-tel

In mid-April 1998 during the Dot com bubble, news that the company was simply expanding its business to the internet sent the thinly traded stock shooting from about $3 to over $7 in one day (3:1 split adjusted). In spite of the early gains, the company was deemed by many to be a complete bomb, and the short interest of the stock swelled. The price of the stock peaked at about $34[14] in early May, and began to decline, reaching $12 in November and eventually pennies. The vicious advance was fueled mainly by a massive short squeeze that financially devastated traders who held short positions and were either "bought in" or simply forced to cover the positions at very high prices because of the great losses.[15]

K-Tel was unable to sustain the growth and profitability. The company was taken private in a 1 for 5000 reverse split on July 18, 2007[16] changing its symbol to KTLI and moving from the NASDAQ market to the Over-The-Counter market.

See also

References

External links


Advertisements






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message