Tony Van VeenPennsauken, NJ (January 19, 2007)–Disc Makers’ Board of Directors has named Tony van Veen to serve as the company’s new president. Van Veen has been with Disc Makers for 20 years–his entire professional career–and becomes the first person outside of the Ballen family to head up the 61-year-old company.
Van Veen replaces Morris Ballen, who had served as president since 1972 and grew up with the company working with his father, Ivin Ballen, who founded Disc Makers in 1946.
On behalf of the Disc Makers Board of Directors, Morris Ballen, who now becomes Chairman, stated, “The Board is happy to announce Tony van Veen as Disc Makers’ new president. Tony is recognized throughout the industry as one of the most innovative business leaders, and his leadership has been a driving force in the strong growth of the company. As president, he will continue to bring a combination of strategic insight and imagination, operational excellence, and motivational leadership needed for many years to come.”
“Becoming president of Disc Makers is the fulfillment of a long-held dream, and I’m extremely excited to have the chance to continue to lead a company as dynamic as Disc Makers as we increase our dominance in our niche and expand beyond it,” said Tony van Veen. “I am fortunate to succeed Morris and wish to thank the entire Ballen family for their unwavering support over the past two decades. I look forward to working with our whole Disc Makers team to continue to develop attractive products and services our customers will embrace.”
Van Veen began his career with Disc Makers in 1987 as a sales and marketing associate. His business prowess and keen insight into the independent music industry quickly led him to oversee the company’s sales, marketing, and account management operations by the early 1990s. Under his direction, sales grew exponentially as the company continued to reinvent itself into the leading optical disc manufacturer for independent artists, filmmakers, and businesses, which today services tens of thousands of such customers each year.
A musician himself, van Veen has helped Disc Makers keep its finger on the pulse of the independent community while leading the company from a commodity pressing plant to a fully-integrated, value-added manufacturer that offers best-in-class customer service, turn times, and product quality. Van Veen has also helped fuel Disc Makers’ growth into new markets, including independent film, church production, education, and government.
Disc Makers is one of very few companies in the media industry that has thrived through 60 years of technological changes by being format neutral (78 rpm shellac to 45 and 12″ LP, to 8-track cartridge and audio cassette, to CD and DVD). According to van Veen the secret is listening to customers on both the macro and micro level: “If you listen to what customers tell you, your job becomes very easy. They’ll let you know what’s working and what’s broken. You just need to follow up on what they say.” This philosophy has led to a series of innovative solutions for Disc Makers’ customers, including the pioneering of the all-inclusive CD package, promotional poster printing, the free barcode for independent musicians, the addition of Do-it-Yourself CD duplication machines, and more recently the introduction of custom printed garments (a.k.a. “Merch”) and a music download service for its customers (Digstation).
Thanks to the above innovations and the company’s unwavering commitment to putting the customer first, Disc Makers continues to see double digit annual sales growth, even in this era where the large record labels see year over year sales declines.
A native of Aruba and a graduate of the prestigious Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, van Veen is widely recognized in the independent music, pro audio, and independent film industries. He is a regular at industry trade events such as NAMM (National Association of Music Merchandisers), CES (Consumer Electronics Show), and the CMJ New Music Festival.
“Under Tony’s leadership, Disc Makers will continue its core mission to help independents–whether musicians, filmmakers or small businesses–compete head to head with much larger companies and multinational institutions,” added Ballen. “He has the support of the entire company behind him to usher Disc Makers to new heights.”