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In 1995, Field showed his mettle, standing toe-to-toe with the establishment on what he saw as critical First Amendment issues.
FIELD OF DREAMS, THE SEQUEL
Ted Field’s Once and Future Adventures
in the Music Biz
Ted Field is poised to launch a new label venture, marking the trailblazing entrepreneur’s return to the business he helped transform and modernize as the founder of Interscope Records, and later the co-head with Jimmy Iovine.

A bit of history: A decade and a half before getting into records, the heir to the Marshall Field family fortune made a name for himself when he formed Interscope Racing, which became a prominent name in motor sports, Field taking the wheel himself from time to time, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In 1982, Field got into the movie business, founding Interscope Communications and producing more than 50 feature films. Eight years later, he and Iovine started Interscope Records, with financial support from the Doug Morris-led Atlantic, which took a 53% stake in the company. Morris and Iovine had some history, Iovine having produced Stevie Nicks’ 1981 smash debut album Bella Donna for Atlantic subsidiary Modern Records.

During the next half decade, a period of widespread label expansion, Field, Iovine and their hand-picked team, including Tom Whalley, Step Johnson and Marc Benesch, grew Interscope from a start-up to a new power in the record business, getting an early hit with Gerardo, and creating magic with such newly minted stars as Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Nine Inch Nails.

Meanwhile, Morris became the head of Warner Music, but in June 1995, he was forced out by Michael Fuchs immediately after the HBO head replaced Robert Morgado as Chairman of Time Warner’s music division.

During this time, Interscope and Suge Knight’s Death Row, distributed by Interscope, came under attack by onetime civil rights crusader C. Delores Tucker, in partnership with former Drug Czar William Bennett. After Tupac was nominated for an NAACP award, Tucker and Bennett ramped up the pressure on Time Warner to end its association with gangsta rap, which Tucker condemned as “pornographic filth” that was poisoning the minds of young African-Americans.

At that point, Field showed his mettle, standing toe-to-toe with the establishment on what he saw as critical First Amendment issues.

In September 1995, Time Warner succumbed to the mounting pressure, letting Field and buy out of their deals. A bidding war ensued, and the following January, Seagram heir Edgar Bronfman’s MCA Inc. completed a deal that paid Iovine and Field $200-million for a 50% stake in Interscope, enabling them to repay the $100 million they owed Time Warner under their separation agreement.

The deal was hammered out by none other than Doug Morris—who had bounced back from the Morgado/Fuchs fiasco to become MCA Music Group Chairman.

Following the acquisition, Interscope became even more prosperous, having major successes with the likes of Dre, No Doubt, Bush, Marilyn Manson, Limp Bizkit, Helmet and Eminem. Following MCA’s acquisition of PolyGram in 1998, transforming the company into the Universal Music Group, the Geffen, A&M and MCA labels were folded into Interscope, creating IGA.

Given the company’s marketshare dominance, it was a major shock when Field abruptly left Interscope in January 2001.

More than 11 years later, Field is about to make his return to the music industry, once again taking into account the changing realities of the business. With his new label venture, Field plans to help launch the careers of the acts he signs by using their music in the films and TV shows produced by his Radar Pictures, with distribution deals for the new venture currently being discussed.

This story will be continued.
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