The Rise & Fall of Paramount Records, Volume 1 (1917-27), Perhaps the highlight of all music collections released during 2013, may be in trouble as its second volume is planned. A New Orleans jazz organization has claimed however that it owns the rights to the music featured in the set, which was released during November by Jack White's Third Man Records and Revenant Records.
Lars Edegran, a representative from the George H. Buck Jr. Jazz Foundation alleged to Offbeat magazine that the group had purchased the rights to the Paramount catalogue during the '70s from Chicagoan John Steiner, who himself had bought the label's rights from the original owners. GHB holds the paperwork for both of these transactions, Edegran claims.
Dean Blackwood, the co-founder of Revenant, says that the label will negotiate when presented with proof that Paramount was owned by GHB, but that hasn't yet.
"We informed the Foundation that we would gladly come to an agreement with them if they could prove ownership of the recordings," he said in a statement. "To date, they haven't produced anything that proves ownership. And although there is a more than 50-year history of labels large and small reissuing this material without their involvement, we remain open to discussions with them if they can prove ownership of the recordings."
Edegran claims that all previous uses of Paramount material was done so under licensed agreement. For the time being, Third Man and Revenant will go forward with planning for Volume 2's release in November 2014.
Volume 1 featured more than 800 total tracks from the titular record label, which gained attention for its so-called "race records," some of the earliest recordings from black musicians in the history of popular music.