Ray Charles (Probably Not) On IMNtv.com (2000)
In 2000 Ray Charles was part of a brief dotcom-ish adventure with InVision Records, a division of Falcon Entertainment Corp. Falcon was a crossmedia concept focused on three areas: broadcasting and cable networks, music, and internet websites.
Part of the deal was exposure through Independent Music Network Television (IMNtv), a medium intended to offer amateur bands and artists free national television exposure, plus worldwide visibility through concurrent webcasting.
“I’m very happy to be involved with InVision Records because the programs that they’ve come up with will make sure that the music gets heard — not just mine, but amateur artists as well,” said Charles in a Falcon press release. “And then they go a step further with a commitment to make sure that their artists are satisfied with their music. Nobody does that anymore. It’s the way the industry used to work, and it’s great to find a label providing that kind of support. It’s all about the music — that’s what matters to me, and the people at InVision Records are people who stand behind their word. It’s more than just contracts and money, these are men whose word means something. What we’re doing is going back to the way music and artists used to be treated in this business.”
Following a soft launch on April 15, IMNtv hit the airwaves and the web on 1 June. But on 6 November 2000 Falcon sent out a press release announcing that “after an evaluation of its current cable distribution and programming strategies for its IMNtv music video program, it has terminated its network carriage agreement with OlympuSat.” The company planned to launch version 2.0 of its web site during early November, “including: substantially easier navigation and search tools, improved band and video information for viewers, a more intuitive interface for bands to manage their IMNtv accounts, and an enhanced streaming video interface”. Furthermore, Falcon claimed it was negotiating with several sources for additional equity funding, “the completion of which is necessary for the company to expand its cable distribution efforts and to re-launch its IMNtv programming. At the present time, Falcon is relying solely on its Chairman and principal shareholder for its working capital funding.”
No records were released. I doubt if they ever aired any footage with Ray Charles. In 2009 (!) Falcon’s stock registrations were finally revoked. Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.
|Charles and Eddinger.|
In a 2017 article (which does not sound entirely true) label manager Marc Eddinger “[…] said he pushed Charles to record duets with other artists, which the singer then did on the posthumously-released album Genius Loves Company. Eddinger had the idea for InVision, and Charles was initially opposed, saying similar releases by other artists had never done well. ‘I said, well, there are all sorts of people out there that really want to work with you,’ Eddinger recalled telling Charles. ‘He said ‘What would we sing?’ and I said, ‘You would sing songs that you like. You do things you like.’ […] Charles recorded material for a record with InVision, but the album was ultimately never released, as InVision was closed by its parent company a year after Charles was signed.”
The New York agency RDAproduced the launch campaign for IMNtv (they’re probably still waiting to be paid), including these two – very decent – commercials on the theme “Get huge!”: