Cookie Marenco Bio (updated May 1, 2015)
Five-time Grammy® nominee and holder of two gold records, recording engineer/producer Cookie Marenco says she created Blue Coast Music Group “…as an ecosystem for high resolution audio where none existed before.“
Blue Coast Music Group emerged in early 2014 as the natural evolution to Blue Coast Records’ expansion, which now includes high resolution music distribution, recording to mastering studios, a dedicated website to provide information on high resolution music/audio and a weekly newsletter to more than 40,000 subscribers. Marenco’s websites attract more than one million page views a year.
After a 20-year career as a recording engineer/producer, the devolution of audio toward the convenient but low-resolution mp3 format concerned her. In response, Marenco returned to her roots in analog recording and developed a recording technique called Extended Sound Environment (E.S.E.) with audiophile champion, Jean Claude Reynaud. They began producing exceptional acoustic performances in E.S.E. that became the foundation of Blue Coast Records.
While this was contrary to what mainstream music fans wanted, she knew an audience existed for better sound and performances. Combining the richness of analog tape with the latest innovations in digital audio, called Direct Stream Digital (DSD), Marenco launched Blue Coast Records in 2007. Blue Coast Collection was heralded as one of the finest acoustic recordings by many critics and has become a reference standard for manufacturers to test the accuracy of their systems.
Blue Coast Records now has more than 40 album titles now available recorded in E.S.E.
In the earliest days of computer audiophile experimentation, Marenco believed that a loyal, significant audience could be found for better sound delivered directly through the internet. Blue Coast Records quickly confirmed that belief.
Marenco led the field, creating and evolving technology to send very large files to worldwide customers via the internet while providing convenient, secure payment options for these downloads beginning in 2008.
Other music labels soon came to Marenco seeking similar distribution on this platform. Marenco and her team founded Downloads NOW! to fill this need while creating a market where none existed before. Demand grew, and in 2010, Downloads NOW! became the first music company to deliver DSD audio files--the highest resolution of any available format--to customers worldwide.
Marenco and her team released DSD downloads at a time when only one -rather unlikely device (the Sony Playstation 3) - could play that file format. It was a risk that paid off. Now, hundreds of devices have DSD audio capability and thousands of albums are available in DSD as downloads.
Marenco is an active advocate for Sony Home Electronics, supporting their activities in High-Resolution Audio (HRA). Blue Coast Records and Downloads NOW! are both content partners with Sony in more than 20 countries in North American, South America and Asia.
As one of the industry’s biggest supporters of Direct Steam Digital (DSD), a format which offers 64 times the resolution of traditional CDs, and a much more life-like quality than MP3 tracks, Marenco speaks openly about her audio preferences. She currently works with the Grammy organization and many major labels to help educate professionals and consumers about DSD audio.
As the demand for DSD audio grows, so does the need for more information. Marenco founded DSD-Guide.com in 2012 as a resource for professional and consumers interested in DSD. Her weekly news release has 40,000 subscribers, who hear music handpicked by Marenco. The music includes exclusive classic recordings, under-the-radar acoustic performances and audio restorations not found elsewhere.
Blue Coast Music Group today
Blue Coast Music prides itself in understanding the entire chain of production, from recording to home delivery, and providing unsurpassed customer service. More than 75% of their customers come from outside the United States.
With this blossoming new market for HRA, Blue Coast Music Group distinguishes itself by offering the finest music available, curated by Marenco and Crew. The current catalog includes music from Blue Coast Records, San Francisco Symphony, Paul Horn, IsoMike and other labels who want to reach sophisticated, high-res consumers. This platform is called Downloads NOW!
Loyal to better sound, forever
Early in her career as a performing artist, Marenco was put in charge of operating recording equipment and from there, her career tilted toward producing and sound engineering. Marenco opened her commercial recording studio, OTR Studios, in 1982.
While maintaining OTR, she joined Windham Hill as a producer/A&R at the cusp of the CD Era. She produced one of the label’s best-selling albums, A Winter’s Solstice II, which went on to earn Marenco the first of two gold records.
Thanks to being located in the Bay Area near Silicon Valley, Marenco also served as an early advisor to the technocrats who would reinvent music production and delivery. Those early associations with Gerry Kearby (founder of Liquid Audio – first company to distribute digital downloads with secure payments), Gus Skinas (evangelist for DSD and founder of Sonoma System – the first DSD recorder) and Andreas Koch (DSD pioneer and engineered the first DSD playback device for consumers) have been important friendships that led to the creation of Blue Coast Music.
Over Marenco’s career she has recorded and produced more than 500 projects for a diverse group of acoustic artists such as Max Roach, Charlie Haden, Buckethead, Brain, Vijay Iyer, Mark Isham, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Alex DeGrassi, Fiona Joy, Keith Greeninger, Tony Furtado, Rob Ickes and Zakir Hussein.
After all, it’s always been about the emotional, personal connection with Marenco--that special bond when an artist, the music, and the audience connect and the music isn’t just heard…it’s experienced.