Beginning in 2000, artistpro Publishing formed from the acquisition of the MixBooks, Electronic Musician (EMBooks) imprints, and the Recording Industry Sourcebook. The General Manager and Publisher of the imprints, Mike Lawson, brought the titles to the company when he was recruited by fellow publisher Brad Burkhart and partner George Mackin, with the goal of combining the traditional print media and video production business with the emerging online world of e-commerce and online educational opportunities.
The company took the AudioPro Home Recording Course series, written for MixBooks by bestselling author Bill Gibson, and created an in-depth online training course offered for free to people who registered for the site. Over 100,000 people took the courses during the five years artistpro Publishing operated, from its offices in Vallejo, CA, just outside of San Francisco. MixBooks and artistpro launched the publishing career of the industry's biggest selling author, Bobby Owsinski, and his collection of works including The Mixing Engineer's Handbook, The Recording Engineer's Handbook and many others.
In addition to the online training courses, users of the site had access to renowned record producers, engineers and mastering engineers in a forum environment where they could submit questions to and get answers from Alan Parsons, Al Schmitt, Joe Chiccarelli, Glenn Meadows and others.
The venerable Recording Industry Sourcebook, an annual directory favored by the music industry for over a decade founded by partner Burkhart, was published by MixBooks after Brad sold the company to the parent company of MIX Magazine in 1995. The directory expanded and flourished under artistPro, and was adapted into an online version and CD-ROM product to compliment the 600+ page mega-print publication.
During its last two years, the company produced artistpro Magazine, which was mailed to all members of the Recording Academy, and featured cover stories with Tony Visconti, Dweezil Zappa, and a rare interview with Michael Nesmith.
Over the years, artistpro Publishing released a catalog of over 100 book and video titles, a magazine, directory and more under multiple imprints distributed by leading publishing partners, launching the publishing careers of some of the greatest authors in the field, and releasing many of the bestselling titles in the industry, many of which are still in print after decades.
In July 2004, artistpro Publishing was acquired by Thomson Learning, a publicly-traded company, by its Course Technology "PTR" division (professional, trade, reference). At the time, artistpro was Hal Leonard Corp's largest independent distributed line of titles, having worked together for over a decade to pioneer sales of audio technology titles to the music instrument trade market. Course Technology, which published titles on the use of recording software titles, among other non-music topics, had sought distribution from Hal Leonard Corp, and been turned down, so they moved to acquire artistpro and inherit with it the distribution agreement. At the time, artistpro had venture partners who were able to compel the sale, and publisher/president and co-founder Mike Lawson went with the sale to Thomson/CoursePTR, where he was given the title of Executive Editor.
When his contract ended two years later, Lawson began Lawson Music Media, Inc, and went to work developing for Hal Leonard Corp, where he started their MusicPro series of pro audio and technology titles. During that time he published multiple titles, ending with the acquisition of "Q on Producing" which found Lawson paring Bill Gibson with Quincy Jones to create the book. Shortly after that title was signed, in 2008, Lawson Music Media, Inc began consulting Alfred Music Publishing to create a pro audio and music technology line for them, publishing 33 works over eight years, including The Roger Nichols Recording Method and Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, the memoir of producer Ken Scott, co-written by Bobby Owsinski. Lawson Music Media, Inc also produced a series of technology related titles for houses of worship on behalf of Thomas Nelson Publishing in 2009.
Thomson Course PTR became Cengage, and in 2008 they legally abandoned the artistpro brand, imprint, trademarks and URL, which Lawson reclaimed and purchased again for future use and posterity.
And, in 2017, artistpro Publishing will finally be back…
artistpro, llc is a Tennessee Limited Liabilty Company.