Friday, September 4th, 2020
Program Expansion and Staff Changes at the longtime Label of ACF
Leading into its 50th anniversary in 2025, American Composers Forum (ACF) has developed a new strategic plan. Key aspects of the Board-approved plan and its new direction will be shared over the next few weeks. Highlights were discussed earlier in a video with the President & CEO, Vanessa Rose, and Board Co-Chairs Nirmala Rajasekar and Stephen Miles. The plan includes a central commitment to racial equity; a statement outlining this commitment is on the website here and is open for public feedback.
As part of the plan, ACF is expanding opportunities for diverse artists to find a “go-to space” that provides information, support, and community. This expansion will bring changes to the business model of ACF’s longtime in-house recording label, innova Recordings. A varied “menu” of options will include releasing single digital tracks, promoting full albums, and offering advice on self-releases and use of digital platforms. In addition to offering different cost options, we are building a national network of resources to assist artists in the production of their recordings, as well as creating an equitable panel process to help in selecting artists for the label.
With ACF’s new strategic direction and anticipated changes to the innova Recordings label, Philip Blackburn has decided to leave the organization after 29 years to launch his own record label venture, Neuma Records. He will continue to collaborate with ACF on projects as well as his own business expansion, effective October 1. With teammates Chris Campbell and Tim Igel at Innova, Philip’s vision and leadership of the label has led to more than 650 albums in its catalog and multiple awards. ACF will continue to showcase the current catalog and add new releases each month such as Alex Shapiro’s ARCANA, iSing Silicon Valley’s HERE I STAND, and gamin’s NONG albums out now. In addition, the recordings program of ACF will be rolling out new opportunities for artists to share their recorded work later in the year.
Philip’s tenure at ACF (then MCF) began in 1991 as Composer Advocate and later as Director of Programs, the scope of which included Jerome and McKnight grant programs as well as innova Recordings and multiple international tours and internationally-inspired festivals. The success of innova enabled him to focus more fully on the label over the last decade. His work has enabled hundreds of artists to receive incomparable support, guidance, and pathways for creating and sharing their music with audiences. We are so grateful for his unwavering dedication to this work and will support his new adventure!
Chris Campbell, currently Director of Operations of innova Recordings and an ACF staff member since 2003, will assume the title of Director of Recordings, and Tim Igel, currently publicist for innova, will be Manager of Recordings & Advertising, both effective October 1. We look forward to sharing more about this expanded programming and the strategic plan in the coming weeks.