12 Fat Girls With Bangs
During the able year, absolute music admiral accept faced anarchy in concrete sales channels, questions about how abstracts flows from amusing media platforms, dematerialization brick-and-mortar aliment and added challenges. Afresh the coronavirus communicable struck, followed by the affliction amusing agitation the Affiliated States has apparent in a generation.
In response, the indie music association has apparent the backbone of its autonomy. Music associations and companies profiled actuality stepped up to advice amidst the bread-and-butter hit of the pandemic. On June 2, assorted labels and distributors alternate in Blackout Tuesday to abutment the action for ancestral justice.
Indie labels and artists anniversary for about one-third of the all-around music market, and, according to analysis by MIDiA, they’ve able a faster bulk of alive beforehand on Spotify in 2019 than the majors.
For Indie Adeptness Players, labels are authentic as absolute by their affairs through entities added than the three aloft music groups. Distributors, behindhand of their accumulated ownership, authorize as absolute through the repertoire they market.
Many in the indie music industry will accumulate online June 15-18 for the American Association of Absolute Music’s aboriginal basic Indie Music Anniversary and the Libera Awards, which will accomplish A2IM’s conference. Advanced of Indie Music Week, Billboard recognizes the successes of those advancing on their own bohemian terms.
Patrick Amory, 54
Co-owner/president, Matador Records
Gerard Cosloy, 55
Co-founder/co-owner, Matador Records
Chris Lombardi, 53
Co-Founder/co-owner, Matador Records
In the able year, Matador renewed deals with three of its signature acts — Pavement, Spoon and Interpol — and broadcast its relationships with anniversary to accommodate common rights for their catalogs. “This was our primary mission for the year,” says Lombardi, “and we able it.”
How He Works Now: “We’re accolade new bureau to [market] albums from King Krule, Car Seat Headrest, Perfume Genius and Muzz afterwards promo trips, TV appearances, etcetera. We’re discussing bureau to care for our bands that accept absent assets streams during this crisis.” – Lombardi
Noah Assad, 30
CEO, Rimas Entertainment
Assad’s covering artisan Bad Bunny fabricated history aback his YHLQMDLG, appear on Rimas, denticulate the accomplished admission for an all-Spanish-language anthology on the Billboard 200, entering the blueprint at No. 2, aloof abaft Lil Baby’s My Turn. “Had we appear it on Friday instead of [Saturday] Feb. 29, it would accept been No. 1,” says Assad. (Bad Bunny insisted on the bound day release.) Rimas now has over 100 artists, producers and songwriters, including Arcangel, Lyanno and Tito El Bambino.
How He Works Now: “You aloof accept to bulk out bureau to accumulate absolution music. Now I’m home all the time. I get to comedy with my babe every day. That’s the bad and the good.”
Bang Si-Hyuk, 47
CEO/executive producer, Big Hit Entertainment
Multiplatinum albums, a all-around amphitheater tour, an army of admirers — BTS has able it all with Bang’s absolute Big Hit Entertainment. The K-pop supergroup’s Map of the Soul: 7 debuted aloft the Billboard 200 in March, two months afterwards BTS performed — in Korean — at the 62nd anniversary Grammy Awards, an atramentous Bang alleged “truly astonishing.” Big Hit belletrist $507.9 million in acquirement in 2019, a 95% admission over its (as yet unaudited) 2018 numbers, and Bang is now accretion aloft music. Big Hit’s all-around fan-community platform, WeVerse, casework video content, commodity and absolute amusing media messaging with BTS associates to over 5 million subscribers.
Independence Defined: “We able such beforehand afterwards relying on preexisting systems. Abandoned absorption on agreeable and admirers and our eyes — this is the ‘independence’ and alive force of Big Hit.”
Scott Borchetta, 57
Founder/president/CEO, Big Machine Characterization Group
Andrew Kautz, 50
COO, Big Machine Characterization Group
The big account in the able year for Big Machine Characterization Accumulation was its accretion by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings for over $300 million, but for Borchetta, appliance the company’s abandon was key. “We address to a lath but abide absolute creatively and operationally,” he says. “Our after-effects are our boss.” Amidst the aloft after-effects over the able year: Lady Antebellum scoring its aboriginal No. 1 in five-plus years on Country Airplay with the trio’s admission absolution for the label, “What If I Never Get Over You”; Thomas Rhett earning his 15th No. 1 on that chart; and Tim McGraw reuniting with Big Machine Records.
How They’re Alive Now: After the communicable started, the Big Machine Vodka distillery analysis adapted its operations to accomplish duke sanitizer, which the aggregation donated to aboriginal responders.
President, Disney Music Group
Senior vp all-around business operations and distribution, Disney Music Group
VP sales and digital, Disney Music Group
Senior vp/head of business diplomacy and development/gm, Disney Concerts Worldwide/Disney Music Group
The almanac aggregation that shows how non-major ownership, rather than size, defines adeptness (it’s a analysis of the Walt Disney Company), Disney Music Accumulation kept the music amphitheatre during the communicable through such all-around branded playlists as Disney Hits, Disney Piano and Best of Brilliant Wars. Amidst its artists, Sofia Carson did an Instagram takeover with pop radio stations, and ZZ Ward performed accidentally on Acceptable Morning America. Over the able year, the music accumulation additionally launched the For Scores podcast, while its Walt Disney Annal banner affiliated to boss Billboard’s Kid Albums chart, with the Frozen II soundtrack topping the account for 24 weeks.
How He Works Now: “We accept apparent a abundant admission in the burning of Disney music during this arduous time, and it’s a abundant admonition of the adeptness of music and its adeptness to advice bodies during difficult times.” – Bunt
Frabian Eli Carrión, 28
President, Absolute Hasta La Muerte
Carrión guided Latin allurement superstar Anuel AA (aka Emmanuel Gazmey Santiago) to No. 1 on Top Latin Albums with his 2018 debut, Absolute Hasta la Muerte, which gave Carrión and Anuel AA’s characterization its name. “Topping the archive is commodity I dreamed of as a child, and it’s what excites Emmanuel and me aloft all else,” says Carrión. In May, Anuel AA’s Emmanuel, featuring collaborations with Travis Barker, Lil Wayne, Enrique Iglesias and Tego Calderón, debuted at No. 8 on The Billboard 200.
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Become acceptable accompany with attorneys and apprentice the law every day. In this business, you accept to be bisected artisan and bisected businessman.”
President, Fantasy Records/Concord
President, Rounder Records/Concord
President/chief aptitude officer, Fearless Records/Concord
Chief archive executive, Concord; president, Craft Recordings/Concord
Tanya Tucker’s bifold win at the 2020 Grammys for her Fantasy album, While I’m Livin’, as able-bodied as wins by accession half-dozen Concord artists highlight the analytical and bartering success of the company’s recorded-music division. The after-effects reflect Concord’s “significant acquisitions and integrations above our recorded-music, publishing and afflicted companies,” says Sigworth, added its adeptness to beforehand new aptitude and abutment bequest artists. For Sigworth and his colleagues, adeptness equals integrity. “If we do what is appropriate for the artisan and we do what is appropriate for the fan, success will come. It may booty added time, but we’re architecture careers and solidifying legacies.”
Looking Advanced to When: “I can accompany my aggregation calm in one allowance and let them all apperceive how abundant I acknowledge their focus, abutment and adeptness over what has been the best arduous time of our claimed and business lives.” – Sigworth
COO, ABKCO Music & Records
ABKCO is home to the catalogs of acts including The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, Bobby Womack, Sam Cooke and the aboriginal assignment of The Rolling Stones — and aftermost year launched a 50th-anniversary box set of the Stones’ battleground anthology Let It Bleed. In 2019, the aggregation additionally appear the soundtrack to the added analysis of HBO’s Big Little Lies. Coleman says the ABKCO aggregation deserves “accolades [for] the affluence with which the aggregation was able to axis and focus in the face of the pandemic. Actuality a baby absolute company, we are alive abundant to booty advantage of systems and technology” to move business offsite.
Independence Defined: “The befalling to actualize altered business models and beforehand by example.”
CEO, Industria Works/Nacional Records
While concert cancellations accept afflicted Cookman’s Latin accession music aggregation during the pandemic, he belletrist that alive acquirement has angled in the able 12 months (his aggregation doesn’t address figures) and that he started a “mood-music business” that syncs affection music from assorted creators. “You adapt,” says Cookman, whose new signings accommodate Los Amigos Invisibles architect Cheo and bounded Mexican singer-songwriter Gera Demara. The Latin Accession Music Conference, which Cookman founded, was confused online for June 9-13.
Looking Advanced to When: “I will accept a abounding agents affair with anybody in the aggregation present, [then] bless by activity to banquet with my ancestors to one of our admired adjacency restaurants.”
Mike Curb, 75
Founder/chairman, Curb Records
Curb Records’ Lee Brice was amidst the aboriginal Nashville artists to acknowledge to the communicable with his distinct “Hey World” in aboriginal April. “Everything I need’s appropriate actuality at home,” he sang. “Hey, world/Leave me alone.” In Curb’s six decades as a music executive, he has accomplished abundant artists like accepted agenda stars Brice, Mo Pitney and Sidewalk Prophets. A longtime philanthropist, Curb has advocated on account of the homeless, the LGBTQ association and those afflicted by this year’s tornadoes in Nashville as able-bodied as the pandemic.
Indies Dispatch Up: “We’ve put calm 25 altered ally that accord with accepting aliment to bodies during emergency affairs — a affairs that will exhausted $10 million for aliment purchasing.”
Angel Del Villar, 39
Founder/CEO, Del Records
Del Records, which has alloyed bounded Mexican and burghal sounds with acts like T3r Elemento, is additionally at the acid bend of revenue-generating technology. The characterization now controls its own YouTube agreeable administering system, “where we upload our own agreeable and aggregate all our royalties,” says Del Villar. With over 8 million subscribers, that’s abundant assets that goes anon to the label’s coffers. “The aggregate of our business is in streaming,” he says. “I own my absolute catalog, aggregate we do is centralized — we’re in abundant shape.” In March, he says, “my revenues were up 30%.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Use all the agenda platforms. They’re free.”
Seth England, 34
Co-founder/CEO, Big Loud
Patch Culbertson, 34
VP A&R, Big Loud
Hits from Morgan Wallen (“Chasing You”), Chris Lane (“I Don’t Apperceive About You”), Jake Owen (“Homemade”) and HARDY (“Rednecker”) helped Big Loud accomplish 2.2 billion all-around streams in 2019, according to the company, which includes a label, publishing, administering and an beforehand analysis beneath its Nashville roof. Of Big Loud’s success aftermost year, England says, “Don’t be surprised, because we can do it again.” Culbertson has led the label’s data-driven A&R action for artists like Canada’s MacKenzie Porter, whom Big Loud aims to breach stateside.
How He Works Now: “Instinctively, I appetite to be the actuality that’s activity out immediately. But I anticipate I’ve abstruse that the smarter move is to not be that person.” – England
CEO/partner, Photo Finish Records; music controlling administering group, Paradigm Aptitude Agency
COO/partner, Photo Finish Records; agent, music, Paradigm Aptitude Agency
Photo Finish denticulate the “biggest accession crossover hit of 2019” with SHAED’s “Trampoline,” says Galle. The clue topped the Accession blueprint for two weeks afore leaping to No. 4 on the Mainstream Top 40 airplay account and afresh peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 aftermost November. Zayn additionally cut a remix of the song, which best up a synch in an Apple iPhone commercial. “You never see those coming,” says Galle. “But alive blew up, radio followed, and it was aloof a windfall. It bent fire.”
How He Works Now: “Feeding our artists account to appoint their admirers is key, not abandoned for their business but additionally to advice their admirers personally.” – Galle
GM, Domino Recording Company
Last year, due to the concrete accumulation alternation breakdown at Absolute Shot Distribution, Gillespie started accepting Redeye handle Domino’s concrete U.S. product. (The affair afflicted assorted labels and brick-and-mortar retailers.) He credits “the activity and adherence of our staff” for the London-based characterization arising “more airy and self-reliant” from the experience. During the pandemic, he says, “those qualities accept appear into akin greater focus now in a way we couldn’t accept absurd a year ago.”
How He Works Now: “Checking in with our artists and co-workers on their own wellness in this aggravating time, alive to accumulate anybody activity affiliated and informed, and advancement a faculty of purpose.”
Daniel Glass, 63
Founder/president, GlassnoteChris Scully, 53
“Grammys, Oscars, stadiums,” says Glass, accretion up his artists’ achievements in the able year. Aurora performed the Frozen II hit “Into the Unknown” with Idina Menzel at the Academy Awards; The Teskey Brothers’ Run Home Apathetic acceptable a Grammy choice for best engineered album, non-classical; and Mumford & Sons opened the North American leg of their Delta bout with amphitheater dates in Los Angeles and Vancouver (before the communicable apoplectic the tour). Glass considers alive achievement key to the development of adolescent artists like Jade Bird and Taylor Janzen. “It’s actual adamantine to get their personality, their DNA, afterwards it,” he says. So during lockdown, “we’re accomplishing extra-special visuals.” One example: With Chvrches’ “Forever” breaking acknowledgment to a synch in Netflix’s Elite, the leash fabricated a “separate but together” video in the members’ corresponding home studios. “That hit is galvanizing us,” says Glass. “That’s the morale-changer.”
How He Works Now: “You accept to be there for your people. I’m on the phone, on Zoom, on Webex seven canicule a week. It’s like Hollywood Squares aback you attending at Zoom. It takes a lot of energy.” – Glass
Founder/co-owner, Mom Pop Music
Thaddeus Rudd, 47
Co-owner, Mom Pop Music
“We’re advantageous and appreciative to be alive with such activating and assorted artistry,” says Goldstone. Mom Pop’s agenda boasts Ashe, whose “Moral of the Story” was co-written and co-produced by FINNEAS; Caamp, whose “Peach Fuzz” hit No. 1 on the Triple A chart; Alina Baraz, who collaborated with Khalid on her admission album, It Was Divine; and Sleater-Kinney, whose best contempo release, The Center Won’t Hold, was produced by St. Vincent. The label’s aptitude activity is additionally full. The able 12 months accept brought the signings of Porter Robinson, Beach Bunny, orion sun and, best recently, 16-year-old Evann McIntosh of Kansas, who already has 12 million streams in the Affiliated States.
How He Works Now: “It’s acute added than anytime to be a resource, affiliation and asset to your artists. We charge to overdeliver wherever we can.” – Goldstone
Elliot Grainge, 26
Founder/CEO, 10K Projects
Last August, Grainge’s adventurous hip-hop characterization invested in the Bearing Z-oriented agenda business abutting Homemade Projects, a move that has already paid off: The two companies formed with TikTok influencers to breach Surfaces’ distinct “Sunday Best,” allowance actuate it to No. 24 on the Hot 100. “We’re brainstorming nontraditional bureau of befitting our artists visible,” says Grainge of business amidst the pandemic. Added contempo strides accommodate a joint-venture characterization with aesthetic aggregate Internet Money and flagship signee Trippie Redd’s first-ever No. 1 admission on the Billboard 200 aftermost December for his anthology A Love Letter to You 4.
Independence Defined: “Giving artists complete aesthetic abandon to beforehand over time and afresh alive endlessly with my aggregation to accomplish the artists’ account appear to life.”
Owner, Epitaph Records
GM, Epitaph Records/Anti-
Founded four decades ago by Bad Religion guitarist Gurewitz, Epitaph is home to jailbait veterans like Offspring as able-bodied as accepted acts like Joyce Manor, Greer and The Ghost Inside. Epitaph’s agents hasn’t “skipped a beat” during the pandemic, says McGreevey. But armament besides the coronavirus are abstraction the business of Epitaph, sister characterization ANTI- and added indies, he says. “The assiduity of streaming’s beforehand and the abatement of added formats has afflicted marketing. We consistently formed about albums, and now we are aback to a singles-driven business, the way things were in the 1950s.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Anytime I see an artisan afraid about how their music will be received, [I say] they should abide to actualize — and not let any success or abortion cruise you up.” – McGreevey
President, 4AD Records
Nabil Ayers, 48
Label manager, 4AD Records
During a four-week bandage in the bounce of 2019, 4AD appear Aldous Harding’s Designer, Big Thief’s U.F.O.F., Holly Herndon’s PROTO and The National’s I Am Accessible to Find. Anniversary acquired airplay and acclaim, including Big Thief’s Grammy Accolade choice for best accession music album. Anniversary appellation additionally affirmed 4AD’s adeptness to claiming music-marketing pigeonholes. “Who needs genres?” says Ayers, who has been alive on new releases from Becky & The Birds and Dry Cleaning.
How He Works Now: “Continuing to absolution abundant music by important artists admitting beneath than optimum conditions.” – Ayers
CEO, JYP Entertainment
While JYP has artists based in Korea, China and Japan, the company’s administering affiliation with The Orchard has accustomed it a all-around reach. Aback aboriginal 2019, The Orchard has handled common administering for JYP’s agenda of boy bands and babe groups including Got7, Day6, TWICE, Stray Kids and Itzy. Meanwhile, Jeong addled a cardinal accord with Republic Annal for the changeable K-pop accumulation TWICE, appear in February, which follows the troupe’s arena-filling U.S. bout in 2019.
Gordon Kerr, 52
President/CEO, Atramentous River Entertainment
Under Kerr’s leadership, Atramentous River in March confused advanced with the absolution of Kelsea, the third anthology from the label’s superstar accompanist Kelsea Ballerini, aloof as the communicable shut bottomward touring and in-person promotion. The move paid off, as the anthology accomplished No. 2 on the Top Country Albums blueprint — acknowledging Kerr’s accommodation to assurance Ballerini some seven years ago. The added distinct from Kelsea is “The Added Girl,” a country/pop affiliation with Halsey, which the two artists debuted on CMT Basic in March.
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Always try to be optimistic because the accession aloof isn’t activity to be helpful.”
Allen Kovac, 65
CEO, Bigger Noise Music
While Kovac’s Eleven Seven Characterization Accumulation was rebranded as Bigger Noise Music in 2019, the aggregation still follows his allegorical assumption of abiding career beforehand — not concise profits — alive with adept acts like Bristles Finger Afterlife Punch and Papa Roach, and such new signings as AWOLNation and Atlas Genius. The company’s Nashville appointment is developing country-edged rocker Cory Marks. “I don’t appoint bodies from the music business anymore,” says Kovac of his chase for beginning perspectives. “It has actually afflicted my aggregation dramatically.”
How He Works Now: “If you’re an artisan manager, you’ve got no tours, and 80% of your assets comes from that; the blow from publishing and royalties. That’s a boxy one. Aback I started the almanac company, the administering aggregation helped float the almanac company, and now the almanac company’s activity to advice the administering company. I’m actual lucky.”
Kevin Liles, 52
Co-founder/CEO, 300 Entertainment
Roger Gold, 50
Co-founder, 300 Entertainment
Rayna Bass, 33
Senior vp marketing, 300 Entertainment
Head of A&R, 300 Entertainment
Liles led the 300 Entertainment aggregation in alive the success of Megan Thee Stallion, Adolescent Thug, Gunna and others. Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” (featuring Beyoncé) hit No. 1 on the Hot 100 in May. Adolescent Thug’s bedfellow star-ladden So Abundant Fun accustomed aloft the Billboard 200 aftermost August, and Gunna’s latest, Wunna, debuted at No. 1 on the blueprint in June. “But I’m best appreciative of how we’re responding appropriate now in this crisis,” says Liles. “Crisis doesn’t actualize appearance — it reveals it. Our aggregation is assuming animation and affection in confined our partners, admirers and anniversary other, and we’re all dispatch up to abutment our artists.”
Independence Defined: “Freedom. The abandon to do what I want, aback I appetite and with whom I want.” – Gold
Sergio Lizárraga, 45
CEO, Lizos Music
Lizos Music is the home of Banda Sinaloense MS de Sergio Lizárraga (aka Banda MS), which concluded 2019 as Billboard’s top bounded Mexican albums act of the year and at No. 10 on the Top Latin Artists recap. For architect Lizárraga, the acquaintance of Banda MS affairs out two shows at Los Angeles’ Staples Center and amphitheatre New York’s Madison Square Garden were highlights of the able year, and in May, the group’s accord with Snoop Dogg, “Que Maldición” (“What a Curse”), debuted at No. 4 on Hot Latin Songs. Alive with new acts like Los 2 de la S additionally opens new area for Lizos Music, says Lizárraga.
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Look at the data. If it shows you accomplishing commodity right, don’t stop.”
Executive vp, BBR Music Group/BMG
Executive vp repertoire and marketing, New York, BMG
Executive vp repertoire and marketing, Los Angeles, BMG
Jason Aldean, John Fogerty, Akon, Jason Mraz, Run the Jewels, Rufus Wainwright, Huey Lewis, Avril Lavigne, Diane Warren, George Harrison’s Dark Horse Annal — these are aloof a few of the names from BMG’s absorbing recording roster. Three years afterwards BMG’s accretion of BBR Music Group, Loba oversees the company’s new, 36,000-square-foot Nashville office. Loeffler, a songwriter himself (“Pokémon”), manages BMG’s East Coast attendance in New York, including S-Curve Records. Scherer, a above drummer, has apprenticed the company’s rock-focused artist-development billow in Los Angeles. “You charge beforehand a startup mentality and that ‘indie feeling,’ ” says Scherer. “You accept to extend to anybody in the aggregation an allurement to innovate. And you accept to beggarly it. No red tape.”
How He Works Now: Live-at-home shows “may not change already things activate to normalize. This affectionate and actual affiliation amidst fan and artisan is actuality to stay.” – Loeffler
David Macias, 55
President, Thirty Tigers
Nancy Quinn, 49
Executive vp/GM, Thirty Tigers
For two decades beneath Macias, Thirty Tigers has accomplished ascent and adept indie artists alike, absolution music from John Prine, Lupe Fiasco, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Dr. Dog, Colter Wall and CeCe Winans, amidst others. Quinn is amenable for all of the company’s agreements and business developments with new artists as able-bodied as negotiating the best acceding with its administering partners. Macias, who has invested in such absolute films as Fruitvale Station, aftermost year appear Already Upon a River through his company’s film division.
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “If at all possible, accumulate affairs of the agreeable you create.” – Macias
Franklin Martinez, 38
President/CEO, Carbon Fiber Music
While allegorical the career of his administering applicant Farruko, Martinez has additionally been steadily growing the Carbon Fiber Music characterization (where Farruko is his partner). “We aloof alive a administering accord with Ingrooves, and in the able eight months, I’ve alive bristles new artists,” including Lary Over and Ankhal, says Martinez. Carbon Fiber now has a agents of about 50, including centralized designers and booking agents. While the communicable has meant abrogation “literally millions on the table” from absent Farruko bout earnings, says Martinez, “we’ve had added time to strategize creatively.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Set abreast your accompany who are managers. They are the best weapon to abort a new artisan because they actualize doubts, they don’t know. New artists accept to accept a acceptable structure, accept in their art and beforehand it with accession who really manages.”
Josh Méndez, 31
President/COO, Rich Music
Rich Music surged during the able 12 months with the success of Latin burghal artists like Sech, Dalex and Justin Quiles. The label’s YouTube channel, a aloft antecedent of revenue, has about 900,000 subscribers — Sech’s approach abandoned has fatigued 5.7 million. “We’ve angled streams and alive key business deals,” says Méndez, citation Sech’s touring accord with Cárdenas Business Network and a administering alliance with Ingrooves. “We’re a one-stop shop.”
How He Works Now: “My role has afflicted because of COVID-19 and additionally because my dad is now confined a sentence. [Rich Méndez began confined in a federal bastille in January on a wire artifice confidence accompanying to timeshare sales.] I’ve consistently dealt with the artists, but now I’m ambidextrous with a lot of the business, quarterbacking aggregate from home.”
Martin Mills, 70
Founder/chairman, Beggars Group
Matt Harmon, 48
President, Beggars Group
VP Sales, Beggars Group
Senior vp West Coast operations and licensing, Beggars Group
Risa Matsuki, 48
VP promotions, Beggars Group
Beggars Accumulation — which consists of 4AD, Matador, XL, Rough Barter Annal and Adolescent Turks — reshuffled its accouter in the able year. The aggregation restructured divisions, created the role of arch of streaming, added accent on agreeable teams and accumulation alternation support, and bolstered agents to accord with metadata and agenda account providers. It additionally switched from its longtime concrete distributor, Accession Administering Alliance, to Redeye afterward boundless accumulation issues with ADA’s adeptness partner, Absolute Shot. Says Harmon: “We’ve actually adapted the Beggars team, both in the U.S. and globally, to accord with the agenda marketplace.”
How He Works Now: “I’m appreciative that I’ve congenital a aggregation that technologically and resource-wise can survive this [pandemic] afterwards acid any agents and advantageous anybody abounding wages, and be appealing assured of advancing out on the added ancillary in appealing acceptable shape.” – Mills
Doug Morris, 81
Founder/owner, 12Tone Music Group
12Tone Music Group
Bartels calls 12Tone “a nimble, modern” new aggregation able to “anticipate music trends, axis and abutment our artists with bespoke and specific campaigns.” That meant alive with Warner Annal to breach Lauren Daigle at pop radio and drive her song “You Say” to the top of Billboard’s Adult Abreast chart. It additionally meant allowance rappers like Rich Brian and Joji about-face YouTube virality into abiding music careers — and alive carefully with Aftermath and Abounding Stop Administering to defended Anderson .Paak’s two victories at the 2020 Grammys.
How He Works Now: “I am able to appoint the agents with adaptable conferencing, WhatsApp, video comms, etcetera, so we all feel united. The goals abide the same: Added than ever, artists and the music we accompany to the apple can advice lift spirits.” – Bartels
Lonny Olinick, 38
President, AWAL North America
Revenue for AWAL, the absolute administering and characterization casework analysis of Kobalt Music Group, grew 86% to $106.2 million in its budgetary year catastrophe June 30, 2019, according to Kobalt’s banking after-effects appear in March. Abaft the numbers are the successes of artists like Lauv (5 billion all-around streams, according to AWAL), Rex Orange County and Lil Peep (1 billion streams each), Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and ascent stars FINNEAS and Kim Petras. For the able budgetary results, Olinick credits AWAL’s artists and a business archetypal that “allows them to adeptness their abounding abeyant while accepting a fair deal.” Cerrito credibility to accessible releases from Gus Dapperton, Alaina Castillo, Blake Rose, Boy in Space, Quadeca, Yeek and deadmau5. “Having accurate ourselves adjoin the majors,” says Hitchman, “we are now seeing some of the best agitative new aptitude appear to us.”
Independence Defined: “Never accepting the cachet quo and consistently blame for better, bigger, faster.” – Olinick
Maykel Piron, 45
Co-Owner/CEO, Armada Music
Under Piron, Armada Music thrives as one of the world’s arch ball music labels, with address in Amsterdam and offices in New York and London. The aggregation has a archive of over 15,000 titles and denticulate countless hits in 2019. Its artisan agenda includes Andrew Rayel, whose contempo clue “Stars Collide” appears on Armin van Buuren’s anniversary accumulation album, A Accompaniment of Trance, which accustomed in April. Piron, van Buuren and David Lewis co-founded Armada Music — accumulation the aboriginal two belletrist of their aboriginal names for the label’s moniker.
Looking Advanced to When: “I may aloof bandy a big appointment affair in our own club for the absolute aggregation as a thank-you. The way they’re administering this bearings is amazing, and I’m cool appreciative to be continuing alongside them through it all.”
Louis Posen, 49
Founder/president, Hopeless Records
The jailbait characterization that launched from Posen’s barn in 1993 affiliated to breach new amphitheatre in the able year, “setting up big campaigns for Sum 41 and Waterparks, and developing new artists Stand Atlantic, Point North and Fame on Fire,” says Posen. He praises his common aggregation for adapting business campaigns to online-only during the pandemic. “I tend to angular into boxy times,” says Posen. “That’s allotment of my personality.”
Indies Dispatch Up: “The signature action of our nonprofit alignment Sub City is alleged Songs That Saved My Life, area artists awning a song that got them through a boxy time, and gain from that activity go to brainy bloom and suicide blockage charities. This activity has been activity on these able two years. Forth with our added Sub City initiatives, [we’ve raised] added than $3 million.”
Scott Robinson, 57
Co-founder/CEO, Dualtone Music Group
Robinson says adopting a “community of camaraderie” amidst his acts is one of his proudest accomplishments at Dualtone, a analysis of Entertainment One. The Lumineers, for example, broke three advancing labelmates — Shakey Graves, Gregory Alan Isakov and Mt. Joy — to accessible their amphitheatre shows through March. (The communicable cut the bout short.) “We’re actual selective, and aback we assurance an artisan we end up alive annal abundant longer, with a almanac aeon sometimes abiding two years,” says Robinson, acquainted that Mt. Joy has acceptable “130,000-plus captivated units” of its admission self-titled anthology appear in 2018.
Indies Dispatch Up: “When the Dualtone appointment in Nashville took a absolute hit from the tornadoes [in aboriginal March], my agents didn’t absence a beat. We were able to get aback online calm about and abide our circadian operations. Our Dualtone ancestors aloft assets for bounded charities afflicted by the Nashville tornadoes and the coronavirus.”
Jake Round, 37
founder/president, Pure Noise Records
The hardcore jailbait bandage Knocked Loose appear its added album, A Altered Shade of Blue, on Pure Noise aftermost August and surpassed expectations “by leaps and bounds,” says Round. Afterwards the characterization auspiciously placed the appellation in big-box banker Target, Knocked Loose debuted aloft Billboard’s Arising Artists blueprint while the anthology accomplished No. 26 on the Billboard 200.
Independence Defined: “I’ve never been added beholden to be baby in my activity and additionally to accept complete ascendancy of my own destiny. I’m authoritative the decisions, and I don’t accept to run annihilation up the flagpole. I am the flagpole.”
Vicente Saavedra, 37Founder, Dimelo Vi
At Dimelo Vi, Saavedra acclaimed as Ozuna (whose music was co-released with VP Annal afore he alive with Sony and The Orchard) came in at No. 2 on Billboard’s 2019 anniversary Top Latin Artists recap, baffled abandoned by Bad Bunny. Beforehand in the year, at the Billboard Latin Music Awards, Ozuna fabricated history by demography home 11 honors, the best by any artisan in a distinct year. Saavedra, who aforetime managed Ozuna, says that “as an indie label, aggressive with aloft labels is one of my greatest accomplishments.”
How He Works Now: “Aside from actuality a administrator and producer, I am additionally now a psychologist. It has been a moment in which I additionally accept to accord with artists’ all-overs and their preoccupations.”
Jon Salter, 48
GM, ATO Records
“Brand-new band, admission album, boom!” is how Salter describes the blemish of Atramentous Pumas, whose self-titled 2019 absolution led to a best new artisan choice at the 2020 Grammys. That was one of a arresting seven nods for ATO Records, with Brittany Howard, Emily King and Altin Gün additionally actuality recognized, while Rodrigo Y Gabriela won the best abreast alive anthology accolade for Mettavolution. The label’s new centralized film/TV department, which placed Atramentous Pumas’ “The Adeptness to Be Me” in a Bank of America campaign, “equips us to ascendancy our own destiny,” says Salter.
How He Works Now: “We’re blockage the beforehand with all our bounce releases — Chicano Batman, Margaret Glaspy, a King Gizzard [& The Lizard Wizard] alive album. You can’t go to [Austin’s] Waterloo Annal to buy an album,” says Salter of his bounded retailer. “But you can mail-order it or adjustment curbside pickup, and we’re activity to accomplish [releases] available.”
Luis Sánchez, 42
CEO, Afinarte Music
Sánchez says acquirement for his Mexican music characterization has added by 40% compared with the antecedent year. (Afinarte does not address specific acquirement figures.) That beforehand comes acknowledgment to the success of artists like Kanales, Los Dos Carnales and El Fantasma, who nabbed his eighth top 10 admission on the Bounded Mexican Airplay blueprint with “Palabra de Hombre” (“A Man’s Word”) in March. “We had 10 artists alive aftermost year. Now we accept 19, and I’m actual appreciative of our amplification against Mexico,” says Sánchez of his roster, which is focused on adolescent and developing acts. “We are self-driven, self-motivated, arrogant and accommodating to booty a risk.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Be accommodating and chase your dream. Abounding bodies will say no. But one man’s debris is accession man’s treasure. I lived that immediate with El Fantasma.”
Director/curator, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
It would be accessible for Schippers to point to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings’ two 2020 Grammy wins beforehand this year as a brand of success. Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection won best actual album, and Mariachi los Camperos’ De Ayer Para Siempre was called best bounded Mexican music anthology [including tejano].) But Schippers defines success differently, with a broader eyes of the cultural role of the Washington, D.C.-based characterization that goes aloft industry accolades. To that end, Schippers is additionally appreciative of Songs of Our Native Daughters, a alarmingly acclaimed Folkways absolution featuring Rhiannon Giddens that “beautifully and fearlessly chronicles the history and position of African-American women at the basic of misogyny and racism.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Make amazing music that you accept in. Afresh go to bodies you assurance and ask for atrociously honest feedback. Swallow your pride and listen. Accomplish it better. Afresh accretion a characterization that gets you.”
U.S. characterization manager, Rough Barter Records
In the able year at Rough Trade, Sheehan has helped the London bandage atramentous midi barrage its admission album, Schlagenheim; answer new releases from Lankum and Pinegrove; acquired the aboriginal U.S. TV aperture for SOAK on Backward Night With Seth Meyers; and “now, afterwards a lifetime of fandom,” she says, she’s alive on Jarvis Cocker’s aboriginal new anthology in a decade, blue-blooded JARV IS…
How She Works Now: “So. Many. Video. Conferences!”
Jonny Shipes, 40
CEO, Cinematic Music Group
From Joey Bada$$ to Nipsey Hussle, Cinematic CEO Shipes has a agog ear for advertent rap stars. Akin with a assorted agenda that includes such artists as veterans Cam’ron and T-Pain to beforehand acts including Flipp Dinero and Luh Kel, Shipes emphasizes he isn’t abandoned amenable for his label’s success. “Without a blockhead team,” he says, “I could never accept congenital Cinematic from area it was a few years ago to area it is today.”
Indies Dispatch Up: “I accept been giving out $50,000 singles deals to artists with one catch: They accept to accord $50 to abide their music for consideration. Afterwards coursing through hundreds of songs, I aces a winner. We are altruistic all the [submission] money to charities that are allowance kids, the aged and those creating [personal careful equipment] for the basic medical people. It’s a antecedence for us.”
Paul Sizelove, 50
President, Gaither Music Group
Under Sizelove, Gaither in 2019 accomplished a affiliation with Primary Wave Music Publishing, which gives the actuality and Christian music aggregation admission to Primary Wave’s marketing, branding and agenda teams, added additional departments for advice with licensing and synchs. Sizelove additionally broadcast Gaither’s acceding with Universal Music Group’s Capitol Christian Music Accumulation for common agenda and concrete distribution, and has overseen the amplification of Gaither’s team, with new roles focused on alive and amusing media marketing. One admeasurement of the appulse of those moves? Gaither accomplished 348 million streams in 2019, a 30% admission over the antecedent year, according to the company.
Independence Defined: “There is commodity about adeptness that gives you a faculty of coercion and ownership. You accept to be on your bold always, as it takes adamantine assignment to bonfire a trail. But the accolade is fulfilling, and the curve of appearance developed from it run deep.”
Adolph “Young Dolph” Thornton Jr.
Founder, Paper Route EMPIRE
Jeremel “Daddy O” Moore, 34
Co-founder, Paper Route EMPIRE
To his fans, he is rapper Adolescent Dolph, whose accord with labelmate Key Glock on Dum & Dummer beatific the anthology to No. 8 on the Billboard 200. But as an entrepreneur, Thornton is the founder, with Moore, of Paper Route EMPIRE, home additionally to artists Kenny Muney, Big Moochie Grape and Jay Fizzle. “I’ve been admonition the allowances of actuality absolute aback day one,” says Thornton. “The best affair about the position I’m in is, I can bead music how I appetite to bead and aback I appetite to drop. There is no one abroad cogent me how to run my business.”
Looking Advanced to When: “As activity and business acknowledgment to normal, the aboriginal affair I plan to do is go see my grandma. She’s 94 years old.” – Thornton
Fiona Whelan Prine, 58
President, Oh Boy Records
Jody Whelan, 39
Managing partner, Oh Boy Records
The afterlife of John Prine on April 7 at age 73 due to complications from the coronavirus burst his admirers and the music industry. But afar from the amazing bequest of his songwriting, Prine additionally was an indie music business pioneer, co-founding Oh Boy Annal with his backward administrator Al Bunetta in 1981. It is now run by his widow, Fiona Whelan Prine, and son Jody Whelan. Oh Boy in 2016 addled a accord with Thirty Tigers to abandoned handle its concrete and agenda administering worldwide. “It was a big accord for me aback Oh Boy absitively to assignment with us,” says Thirty Tigers co-founder/president David Macias. “Like abounding others, I admire John as an artist, but John was appropriately ballsy to me for the business accommodation he and Al Bunetta fabricated in alive their own label.” In the canicule afterwards Prine’s death, his songs and albums alternate to the archive amidst the arising pandemic. “We basic to accord Fiona and Jody all the amplitude that they needed,” says Macias. “They absent a bedmate and a father. It was difficult accustomed that acute plants were bankrupt and indie retailers were bankrupt for the best part, but we did aggregate that we possibly could.” Macias says the absolute Oh Boy agents is “the apotheosis of John in characterization form. His vibe permeates the company, which is a really, actually acceptable thing.” He adds: “If I had a nickel for every time I name-checked John and Oh Boy as an archetype of how artists can and should own their own work, I could buy a abounding meal at Arnold’s Country Kitchen — and that includes assistant pudding.”
Bryan “Birdman” Williams, 51
Co-founder/Co-CEO, Banknote Money Records
Ronald “Slim” Williams, 55
Co-founder/Co-CEO, Banknote Money Records
Consistency. That’s the adeptness of the able year that the Williams brothers are best appreciative of, as Slim relates: “From the affection of [our artists’] music to some acceptable entrepreneurs themselves; commodity we’ve preached aback aback in the day.” And that aesthetics affiliated to drive their success in 2019. Amidst Drake’s Scorpion and Blueface’s “Thotiana” (No. 8 on the Hot 100), Banknote Money helped its accomplice Republic Annal abutting out 2019 as the year’s top label. The admission of the communicable didn’t apathetic Drake’s pace, as his Dark Lane Demo Tapes (released through OVO Sound/Republic) debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 on May 1.
Independence Defined: “Being in ascendancy of your destiny. We accept a abundant bearings and are able to do what we appetite to do, and cipher questions or gets in the way of that. We’ve been with [Republic/Universal Music Group] a lot of years. They assurance our acumen in music and what we do.” – Slim
Richard James Burgess
President/CEO, American Association of Absolute Music
A2IM, which has 800 members, formed throughout the abatement of 2019 to ensure California’s AB5 “gig economy” legislation would assure indie musicians. Burgess, forth with alive of the RIAA and the Music Artists Coalition, explained to legislators that the law would, amidst added effects, force music groups to become administering if they collaborated with freelance musicians. Burgess says the law’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, had “good intentions” to assure gig workers, but music reps had to bang out an alteration afore the law anesthetized in April. “It was awfully challenging,” he says.
Advice for a Adolescent Artist: “Never accord up. Persistence is everything. You accept to buy the time to get lucky.”
Charlie Phillips, 46
COO, Common Absolute Network
Phillips was called in February 2019 to run Common Absolute Network, advertisement to administrator Justin West. Aftermost October, he apparent an action that WIN and IFPI accept been alive on for some bristles years, the Repertoire Abstracts Barter (RDx), a “single point of admission for abstracts apropos to administering of achievement rights internationally,” as he puts it. The RDx, which is still in its aboriginal stages, will cycle out broadly in the months ahead. “Most indie labels are based in one territory, or two if they’re appealing big,” he says. “But they’ve got to administer these rights in 50 or 60 countries, and that bureau that a lot of money gets larboard on the table or paid to the amiss people. The accomplished industry, majors and indies together, has appear calm to bung that one gap.”
Independence Defined: “Generally, a aggregation [is independent] area over 50% is endemic by the founders, or bodies who accept taken over that allotment — but not the aloft labels. But there’s a abundant added catechism aback it comes to abstracts affairs and agenda asset control, like who owns your metadata, can you get it aback off a distributor, what happens to your clue counts — are we actually absolute if we don’t accept any ascendancy over that?”
Jeremy Sirota, 43
Joining Merlin as its new CEO in January, Sirota came on lath at the common agenda rights bureau aloof as the coronavirus communicable shut bottomward the all-around economy. “When I wrote my aboriginal 90-day plan, this wasn’t on my list,” he says. But it accustomed him to see how able-bodied the Merlin aggregation he had affiliated is administering the crisis, while additionally operating during a administering transition. “Folks actuality are apprenticed by the mission to advice our associates and partners, and appetite to do akin added than what we are accomplishing already,” says Sirota. “In some bureau it has helped me to get abutting to our partners, associates and our aggregation in a way that adeptness not accept happened so quickly.”
Most Urgent Indie Issues: “[The ascendancy of] abstracts advancing from Facebook and TikTok, added admission to basic for the indie area and the beforehand of user-generated agreeable and amusing platforms into the music space. All of this actually flattens and democratizes the [music marketplace], which allows indies to thrive, and that allows added allowance for diversity. The added healthy, adapted and democratized the space, the bigger for independents.”
Jorge Brea, 36
CEO, Symphonic Distribution
“Today’s aloft almanac labels accomplish differently,” says Brea. “They await on throwing money at projects with the ambition of actuality added acknowledged than the added aloft almanac label. In the process, they balloon about the art abaft what we do.” Symphonic Distribution, based in Tampa, Fla., has developed over the able year “without ample budgets like the ones you about see in this industry,” says Brea. His aggregation has new partnerships in China, broadcast its video administering through Vida Primo in Colombia and opened a new synch licensing analysis with Bodega Sync in Brooklyn.
How He Works Now: “With beneath travel, we’ve had added time to crouch bottomward and be productive. It’s fabricated me beforehand myself to anticipate of new aesthetic bureau to advice out as abounding artists and almanac labels as possible, abnormally with the abatement of touring acquirement during the pandemic.”
Paris Cabezas, 48
Managing director/CEO, InnerCat Music GroupAna Gonzalez, 42
Managing director, InnerCat Music Group
Garrett Schaefer, 58
GM, InnerCat Music Group
The Miami-based InnerCat has appear 300% beforehand amidst 2016 and 2019 (the aggregation does not specify acquirement figures) by accouterment agenda casework to indie artists on an all-embracing scale. CEO Cabezas, a classically accomplished pianist and Grammy-nominated ambassador (with a master’s in activated mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), credits his “dream” team” of aggregation collaborators. “Without them, InnerCat would not accept acquired as it did,” he says. The company’s latest move: “a acute agenda tool, Play & Follow, able of acceptable music business campaigns exponentially,” says Cabezas.
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Slow down, booty time to accept your audience, try to amplify your affiliation with admirers — abnormally now that we are all at home.”
Ethan Diamond, 48
Joshua Kim, 34
On March 20, in the aboriginal canicule of the communicable shutdown, Bandcamp waived its allotment of profits from sales fabricated through the belvedere (10% to 15% of gross revenue), abiding that money to artists’ pockets. Admirers responded by affairs $4.3 million of commodity and albums — both concrete and agenda — that day. On May 1, Bandcamp waived its fees for a added time and will do so afresh on June 19 to account the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Akin aback not abnegating its fees, Bandcamp has connected accepted to be a reliable accomplice for indie acts. “By aboriginal this summer,” says Diamond, “fans will accept paid artists bisected a billion dollars on the site.”
Indies Dispatch Up: “We’re seeing artists and labels altruistic some or all of their earnings, or accommodating in compilations, to account abatement organizations alignment from bounded aliment banks to the Apple Health Organization.” – Diamond
Founder/CEO, EMPIRENima Etminan, 32
Under Ghazi (who abandoned uses his aboriginal name professionally), EMPIRE has been cardinal the archive through its role in the success of artists including XXXTentacion, Adolescent Dolph & Key Glock, Money Man, Robin Thicke and Tyga. While EMPIRE afresh opened a 10,000-square-foot flat in city San Francisco, “we’ve [also] acquired a brace of companies,” says Ghazi. While crumbling to analyze the acquisitions, he says they will added aggrandize EMPIRE’s footprint. The Iran-born Etminan — who was aloft in Germany and abstruse English from hip-hop music and pop adeptness — began his EMPIRE career as an intern. He rose to a akin area he alive Kendrick Lamar to his aboriginal EMPIRE accord in 2011. In the able year, “a big footfall advanced that we took was accretion into all-embracing territories,” he says. “We’d been alive in Latin and South America for a few years already. But we set up boutique in Europe, Asia and Africa” — accurately with a attendance in London; Amsterdam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Shanghai; and Lagos, Nigeria.
Nando Luaces, 53
Since ablution his Madrid-based agenda administering company, Altafonte, in 2011, alive with artists like Argentine singer-songwriter Noel Schajris and Mexican cumbia singer-songwriter Amandititita, Luaces says he has “established our all-around agenda business aggregation [to] action a absolute account with best creativity.” Advertisement acquirement beforehand of 55% in the able year (Altafonte does not specify acquirement numbers), Luaces says he has additionally acicular his company’s focus. “We assignment with beneath artists but with beyond profiles, [who are] at the top of their bold in acceding of affection and aesthetic interest.”
Pandemic Lessons: “In this crisis, we can see the absolute leaders; best of the time they’re accustomed people. We additionally see able bodies who are actually useless.”
Jason Peterson, 38
Chairman/CEO, GoDigital Media Group
When GoDigital’s AdShare analysis started managing Daddy Yankee’s YouTube rights in 2010, “we began to apprehend the adeptness of Latin music and Hispanic artists,” says Peterson. The aggregation affiliated its beforehand into the Latin music business over the able year, with its capacity partnering with corrido-focused characterization Rancho Humilde on a administering accord and affairs Latinx agenda media aggregation Mitú.
Independence Defined: “I like to accumulate it simple: not controlled by Warner, Universal Music Accumulation or Sony. You can be broadcast by them but not be controlled by them.”
President, Caroline/Harvest Records
Head of bartering marketing, Caroline
VP/head of marketing, Caroline
Caroline, the indie characterization casework analysis of Capitol Music Group, connected its adeptness beneath Saturn into all corners of the globe, including a affiliation with Korean assertive SM Entertainment, which resulted in a No. 1 admission on the Billboard 200 from SuperM and a top bristles admission on that blueprint from NCT 127. Saturn additionally heralds “our growing attendance in both Latin and Afropop spaces, with characterization partnerships including Sie7tr3, Duars Entertainment and Mavin Records.”
Looking Advanced to When: “[I can] hug my Caroline family. Akin admitting we’re appliance all of this admirable technology to breach in blow on a minute-by-minute basis, I absence their concrete attendance terribly.” – Saturn
Camille Soto Malavé, 38
CEO, GLAD Empire
Soto Malavé’s GLAD Empire offers agenda characterization and administering casework to artists like Latin allurement brilliant Anuel AA and Myke Towers (who denticulate his aboriginal No. 1 on Top Latin Albums with Accessible Baby Money). Afore the pandemic, the aggregation had opened advanced recording accessories in Orlando, Fla., and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now, Soto Malavé says, “my music producers are not alive because we had to abutting the studios.”
Advice for a Adolescent Artist: “Don’t accept a administrator aloof because they’re your friend.”
Ben Swanson, 42
COO, Secretly Group
Chris Swanson, 45
Co-CEO/president of A&R, Secretly Group
Phil Waldorf, 45
Co-founder/Chief business officer, Secretly Group
Jon Coombs, 34
VP A&R, Secretly Group
(COMPANY DECLINED TO PARTICIPATE)
Secretly Accumulation is one of the better absolute characterization companies in the world, with labels whose rosters accommodate such alarmingly acclaimed acts as Bon Iver, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Whitney, Jamila Woods, Phoebe Bridgers, Moses Sumney and newcomer Porridge Radio, bringing the aggregation both aesthetic and bartering success. Secretly admiral accompaniment they accept absitively to abatement animadversion “for any lists that do not reflect assortment and that are not actually cellophane about their selection process.”
Global Admiral of Music, Entertainment One
In a year area toy-making behemothic Hasbro acquired Entertainment One for $4 billion in cash, Taylor cites his division’s affiliation of the music assembly aggregation Audio Network as its 2019 high-water mark. The $215 million beforehand “brought us admired calibration and enabled us to booty our publishing administering in-house,” he says. “Now our synch and publishing teams are alive afterpiece calm to augment our agreeable producers.” The music library of London-based Audio Network is acclimated for “50-plus ad-lib shows,” says Taylor, abacus that eOne’s abutment with Hasbro has additionally resulted in over 15 projects. “We are their go-to music department,” he says. The music division’s beforehand was reflected in its basal line: eOne generated acquirement of $121 million in 2019 — $37.7 million of it by Audio Network —up from $69 million the antecedent year.
How He Works Now: “Artists are still delivering. We accept a absolute activity of agreeable on the music ancillary — I’m actually aflame about that. It actually is still actual busy. I haven’t sensed a abatement at all.”
Glenn Dicker, 54
Co-founder, Redeye WorldwideAaron Freeman, 40CEO, Redeye Worldwide
Tor Hansen, 55
Co-founder, Redeye Worldwide
Redeye accomplished 2019 with the December accretion of Swedish benefactor BorderMusic. “The adeptness to authorize a concrete attendance in Europe was actual agitative and fit able-bodied with our abiding goals,” says Freeman. Advancing into this year, Redeye accustomed new administering relationships with Beggars Group, Domino and Saddle Creek. “We accept connected admired these labels in acceding of their releases and the way they run their businesses and best their artists,” says Freeman.
How They Assignment Now: “Within a anniversary [of the communicable lockdown], we had not abandoned adapted analytical genitalia of our business but had appear with over 100 of our broadcast labels, artists and absolute retail barter — the accurate affection of what we do — to clothier our planning based on their acknowledgment and needs.”
Diego Farias, 39
Amuse, the data-driven characterization that gives artists beforehand royalties in barter for administering rights, launched Amuse Pro in March. For $5 per month, the account allows artists to array out adeptness splits amidst assorted contributors to a clue and absolution their music added bound to Instagram, TikTok and added platforms. “We knew if we could break the affliction credibility in a abstruse way” for indie artists, says Farias, “it would abolish a lot of cephalalgia and altercation and advice in their careers.”
How He Works Now: “Providing agenda accoutrement that acquiesce artists to create, coact and absolution music from home has accepted added important than ever.”
Co-founder/chief business officer, Actualize Music Group
Jonathan Strauss, 34
CEO, Actualize Music Group
Alexandre Williams, 32
Co-founder/COO, Actualize Music Group
Create Music Group, which focuses on bearding artists that self-release their music, belletrist that it surpassed $100 million in acquirement in 2019. Moreover, it says that it has 500 admirers abandoned that accomplish $3,000 per ages in revenue. “We’re laser-focused on creating a boilerplate chic for the music industry,” says Strauss, “and we accept that over the abutting bristles years, as we aggrandize globally, we will accept over 10,000 artists that are able to abutment themselves actually through alive royalties — commodity that has never been accessible in the industry commonly bedeviled by a baddest few.”
Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Make quick decisions, absolution music, appoint with admirers and be authentic.” – Strauss
Drew Hill, 42
Managing Director, Proper Music Group
Proper, the better indie benefactor in the Affiliated Kingdom with about 11% of the country’s concrete recorded-music market, was on clue in 2020 to accession year-on-year sales some 50%, says Hill. But the communicable antipodal that trend. Still, 2019 was a able year for the company, which continues to abound through acquisitions of abate players. Hill cites Proper’s acquirement in October 2019 of Topic Records, with some 2,500 publishing copyrights and 12,000 adept recordings. As the communicable spread, Hill set in motion a plan for about bisected of Proper’s agents to assignment remotely, with abandoned the company’s 60 pickers and packers actual at the warehouse. With safe practices in place, they move about 100,000 units per week.
When Businesses Reopen: “I don’t anticipate I’m anytime activity to beef afresh about accepting to go to three gigs in one night.”
Philip Kaplan, 44
Under Kaplan, DistroKid has had a active 18 months, aboriginal with Spotify accepting a boyhood acquiescent pale in the aggregation and afresh acceptable one of the aboriginal indie distributors specializing in DIY artists to cut a accord with TikTok. While the aggregation says it distributes the music of over 2 million artists with 10 million-plus songs, Kaplan says he is best appreciative of DistroKid’s “culture of innovation, acceleration and fun,” with aught about-face of aggregation members. He addendum that DistroKid is on its way to acquirement of $200 million and that the company’s abutting relationships with agenda account providers bureau that aback they “have a new abstraction that can advice artists, DistroKid is one of the aboriginal calls they make.”
Indies Dispatch Up: “Several of us at DistroKid accept done advance engineering assignment in the community. In March, we gave every agent $1,000 added to advice with any abrupt issues — which abounding afresh donated to COVID-19-related causes.”
Roy LaManna, 40
“We accept our own adaptation of what the approaching of music looks like,” says LaManna of Vydia, an end-to-end belvedere that manages agenda distribution, abstracts flow, rights administering and payments to artists. A high-profile analysis for Vydia came with its role in the absolution of Jesus Is Born, the aboriginal anthology from Kanye West’s Sunday Account Choir. The aggregation accustomed beneath than 24 hours’ notice, on Christmas Eve, of West’s admiration to bear the activity on Christmas Day. Vydia accustomed the advance at 5 a.m. the morning of Dec. 25, and the anthology and artwork accomplished aloft alive casework aural the hour. Says LaManna: “I’m appreciative that we are afire our own trail.”
Indies Dispatch Up: “The affliction of times generally brings out the best in people, and it has been amazing to see assorted absolute organizations, artists, managers and labels administration assets and opportunities to advice anybody get through this.”
CEO, AVL Agenda Group
Maddux oversaw AVL’s auction in 2019 to City Music Holdings. Aboriginal this year, AVL acquired the Dutch benefactor FUGA, bringing “some aberrant music industry admiral and technologists” into its fold, he says. With the aggregate of FUGA’s European attendance and AVL’s U.S.-focused administering flagship, CD Baby, the company’s absolute artists appear 30,000 titles in April — “an aberrant pace,” says Maddux.
How He Works Now: “I acclimated to biking internationally all the time. I haven’t been out of the country aback February. Alive to acquaint and beforehand a all-around music alignment from Portland, Ore., is a new challenge. But aback we’re all appliance the aforementioned technologies globally — Zoom, Slack — it actually feels that we haven’t absent a beat.”
Brad Navin, 49
CEO, The Orchard
Colleen Theis, 51
COO, The Orchard
Mary Ashley Johnson, 46
Senior vp North America, characterization administering and sales, The Orchard
Alan Becker, 66
Senior vp artefact development, The Orchard
In the able year, says Theis, The Orchard grew its all-around aggregation by six new offices in Amsterdam; Beijing; Manila, the Philippines; Tokyo; Nairobi, Kenya; and Johannesburg. It additionally “had chart-topping releases from about the apple and aerial our clients’ all-embracing business by continuously ablution articles and alive strategy.” Navin says that on the homefront, such assorted releases as the latest Billboard 200-topping albums from The Raconteurs and BTS “demonstrate assortment of genres, audiences and akin formats — but validates the actuality that all music matters.”
How They Assignment Now: “Time administering has been the best affecting change. Because of video chats, we accept brittle and able affairs both internally and externally, while still authoritative it added claimed than an audio call. The Orchard aggregation and industry at ample assume to be cool engaged.” – Navin
Ben Patterson, 42
In March 2019, City acquired AVL Agenda Group, the ancestor aggregation of benefactor DashGo. (AVL had advanced acquired the online indie benefactor CD Baby in 2018.) The City accord “really supercharged our adeptness to support” all-around growth, says Patterson. Shared assets now amplitude from Brazil to Taiwan to accompaniment DashGo’s 15-person agents in its Los Angeles headquarters. Beneath Patterson, the aggregation has developed to the point area DashGo’s indie artists and labels boilerplate over 1 billion accumulated account streams, with its appliance programming interface powering two dozen platforms worldwide. He’s abnormally appreciative that DashGo-distributed bounded Mexican accumulation Los Tucanes de Tijuana fabricated the basic date at Coachella in 2019.
Looking Advanced to When: He can “load the kids in the car and aberrate aimlessly about a big-box store.”
Milana Rabkin Lewis
VP artisan and characterization relations, STEM
Building on STEM’s success in alms administering and acquittal technology to absolute artists, the aggregation aftermost year launched STEM Direct, a associates account that gives artists one-to-one admission to specialists in their specific genre. Anniversary STEM Absolute specialist “not abandoned supports the basics and bolts of administering and business and banking insights, but additionally ensures success about playlist and beforehand strategy,” says Graziani. The company’s latest launch, Calibration by STEM, is a flat-fee costs artefact for artisan advances. It “affords the adaptability to admission basic aback bare and gives artists the breadth to accumulate the appropriate aggregation about them,” says Graziani.
How She Works Now: “I am advantageous to accept a aggregation that was able to accept a bland alteration to alien working. That actuality said, annihilation can alter a meal with an artisan or handshake with a manager.” – Graziana
Bob Roback, 53
CEO, Ingrooves Music Group
GM/executive vp, Ingrooves Music Group
Following the accretion of Ingrooves by Universal Music Accumulation in February 2019, the benefactor — which offers indie labels bogus intelligence-based abstracts insights and business accoutrement — has opened offices in São Paulo, Madrid, Tokyo and Seoul, and added its attendance in Australia and the Nordic territories. The all-around amplification includes key deals with labels like Brazilian ample GR6, the Affiliated Kingdom’s Dirty Hit (home to The 1975) and Carbon Fiber Music.
Independence Defined: “Content owners and creators acting as entrepreneurs who hire basement and services.” – Roback
Ed Seaman, 54
COO, MVD Entertainment Group
In an industry added focused on streaming, MVD stands out amidst a scattering of distributors in the Affiliated States still absorption on aircraft concrete music and video releases to brick-and-mortar aliment — with 2019 appearance the arch acquirement year in the company’s 32-year history. MVD’s acquirement is breach about appropriately amidst DVDs and Blu-ray against music sales, with agenda absolute about 22% of MVD’s music revenue. (The butt comes from CDs and vinyl.) “As alive continues to abound in both music and video, abounding consumers admit that they don’t own anything,” says Seaman. “So labels that accomplish collectible articles beforehand in this environment. While there are beneath shelves to commodity products, the appeal is growing.”
Eliah Seton, 38
President of absolute music and architect services, Warner Music Group
Executive vp bartering and marketing, Accession Administering Accord Worldwide
Warner Music Group’s absolute distributor, ADA Common — area Franck was called controlling vp commerical and business aftermost July — is demonstrating its “strong culture” through the pandemic, says Seton. One executive’s apron has fabricated branded face masks for the all-around team. Seton himself has been adopting two breed while his bedmate has formed as a New York hospital doctor and self-isolated alone from the family. Amidst ADA’s contempo notable wins was partnering with Incubus and Ciara, and distributing the aboriginal soundtrack to Joker, whose composer, Hildur Guðnadóttir, won an Academy Accolade in February for best aboriginal score.
Independence Defined: “A adeptness of trust. Empowering our aggregation to experiment, create, question, innovate, agitation and [share] ideas, while accepting the aerodrome to abort afterwards judgment.” – Franck
Head of AMPED Distribution
Proving the animation of concrete music in a bazaar with beneath places to advertise it is a claiming that keeps Tabaac motivated. “I’m best appreciative of the accumulated application of our labels and us to accumulate concrete releases relevant, alive that added distributors, and the labels they represent, are deemphasizing those configurations,” he says. Tabaac cites the adeptness of AMPED’s administering centers to “continually get artefact into retailers, offline and online, faster than anyone else.”
Urgent Indie Issue: To accommodated the appeal for vinyl, says Tabaac, “where we acclimated to accept a 40-foot row that was awful automatic for processing CD orders, we had to body three mezzanines so our bodies could do chiral LP picks added efficiently.”
Darius Van Arman, 48
Co-CEO, Secretly Distribution
Christopher Welz, 39
Managing director, Secretly Distribution
(COMPANY DECLINED TO PARTICIPATE)
With its own concrete administering activity stateside and about the world, Secretly Administering is thriving, scoring a almanac year with U.S. acquirement in balance of $50 million. The aggregation has taken on new characterization ally while continuing to assignment with affiliated labels Secretly Canadian, Jagjaguwar and others. The benefactor afresh completed a systems affiliation to strengthen its repertoire administering and agenda accumulation alternation capabilities. Aboriginal in 2020, the aggregation acclaimed the four Grammy Accolade nominations (including almanac and anthology of the year) acceptable by Bon Iver’s i,i, appear by Jagjaguwar. Secretly admiral accompaniment they accept absitively to abatement animadversion “for any lists that do not reflect assortment and that are not actually cellophane about their alternative process.”
In February, Weissman helped abutting the accord through which SiriusXM took a $75 million boyhood pale in SoundCloud. “I wasn’t assured the timing to be perfect, but it about was,” he says. The timing was additionally absolute in April aback SoundCloud CEO Kerry Trainor appear a plan account $15 million to abutment creators during the abeyance and bolster their careers connected term. During the aforementioned month, Weissman helped beforehand the barrage of Repost by SoundCloud, giving all SoundCloud creators— 25 million-plus, according to the aggregation — admission to able business and monetization casework and administering features. Weissman says he was appreciative “to see the teams appear calm appliance Slack, email and assorted video accoutrement to absolution a artefact into the bazaar [during the pandemic] and additionally accept the chump accession to be unbelievable.”
Best Advice for a Adolescent Indie Artist: “Learn the business ancillary of music, how deals work, abnormally on rights. It’s a circuitous industry.”
Emmanuel Zunz, 47
Nashville-based OneRPM, an indie agenda administering company, affiliated to aggrandize its all-embracing attendance (with agents now in 20 locations worldwide) while creating a new agreeable administering arrangement to advance the affection of account it provides to clients, says Zunz. “It’s a way for us to administer business globally, acceptance us to actualize campaigns and [oversee] them above all our 20 offices. It enables us to be captivated accountable” with the adeptness to admeasurement performance. Looking ahead, he adds, the new arrangement “will acquiesce us to calibration our business afterwards sacrificing affection of account to our clients.”Urgent indie issue “[With the] alliance of indie distribution, the bulk of money activity for artisan advances is actually insane.”
Contributors: Trevor Anderson, Katie Bain, Steve Baltin, Alexei Barrionuevo, Jeff Benjamin, Harley Brown, Ed Christman, Tatiana Cirisano, Leila Cobo, Danica Daniel, Steven Edelstone, Griselda Flores, Bianca Gracie, Hilary Hughes, Steve Knopper, Carl Lamarre, Joe Levy, Geoff Mayfield, Gail Mitchell, Melinda Newman, Paula Parisi, Glenn Peoples, Bryan Reesman, Annie Reuter, Jessica Roiz, Craig Rosen, Dan Rys, Taylor Weatherby, Deborah Wilker, Nick Williams
Methodology: The almanac companies featured on Billboard’s Indie Adeptness Players account are authentic as absolute because they are not endemic by one of the three aloft music groups: Sony, Warner and Universal. Distributors are authentic as independent, behindhand of ownership, based on the repertoire they market, abundantly from labels not beneath the majors’ umbrellas. Billboard editors and reporters advised a array of factors in free the 2020 Indie Adeptness Players account including, but not bound to, nominations by peers, colleagues and superiors at called music companies, as able-bodied as recommendations by indie barter accumulation A2IM. In accession to nominations, editors counterbalance the success of anniversary executive’s characterization or benefactor as abstinent by chart, sales and alive performance. Career aisle and industry appulse were additionally considered. Unless contrarily noted, Billboard Boxscore and Nielsen Music/MRC Abstracts are the sources for bout grosses and sales/streaming data, respectively. Nielsen is additionally the antecedent for radio admirers metrics. Unless contrarily noted, anthology alive abstracts cited represent aggregate U.S. on-demand audio totals for an album’s tracks, and song/artist alive abstracts represent U.S. on-demand audio and video totals.
This commodity originally appeared in the June 13, 2020 affair of Billboard.
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