The New Maestro
By Eric Hellweg

(Business 2.0) – Nonesuch president Bob Hurwitz has accomplished the seemingly impossible: He built a record label that's actually growing. The numbers aren't public—Nonesuch, a division of Warner Music Group, doesn't disclose revenue—but company officials say 2004 sales will exceed the $35 million the label reportedly made in 2003. How? While the industry giants rack up losses chasing megahits, Hurwitz thinks small. His specialty is niche acts with rabid fan bases—so Nonesuch doesn't have to spend much on promotion. And he's not afraid of the Net: Last year he streamed Wilco's entire A Ghost Is Born album as a free come-on. That tactic would have given most label execs seizures, but it helped Hurwitz move a respectable 250,000 copies. Says Mark Kates, a former Geffen A&R rep who's now CEO of Fenway Recordings, "The future of selling recorded music will be based on the models Hurwitz is creating now." — ERIC HELLWEG