Hal Leonard acquires New York play-along company

Music Minus One recordings will add to offerings

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Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:14 pm

Milwaukee-based Hal Leonard Corp. this week acquired New York-based play-along recording company Music Minus One.

Founded in 1950 by Irv Kratka, Music Minus One made records that omitted one instrument so a musician could sing or play along with an orchestra. Now a library of more than 1,100 digital recordings, Music Minus One’s products became an industry standard and feature world-class musicians and orchestras, according to Hal Leonard.

Kratka, now 90, sold the company. He is its only employee.

Hal Leonard acquired MMO’s equipment, inventory and music library in the deal. It declined to release the purchase price.

“The recordings are the part that we’re most excited about because they’re very high-quality recordings for the music industry, so we’re anxious to put those to use in new products as well,” said Hal Leonard spokesperson Trish Dulka.

“We’ve been happy to distribute Music Minus One products for almost 10 years now and we’re proud that Irv is entrusting us to continue caring for and developing this iconic brand that really set the standard for play-alongs in our industry,” said Keith Mardak, chief executive officer of Hal Leonard. “We are sad to see Irv retire but he deserves a rest after working so hard on this great series for so long.”

“I’m 90 years old and after 66 years in this business, I thought it was time to hang up my spurs,” Kratka said. “I’m confident that Keith and his crew at Hal Leonard will take good care of this catalog and nurture it into even more modern products for the next generation of musicians.”

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.