Music: Small Record Labels: Hypnote, NY state
Most small labels get started because the owner feels the current market isn't covering something properly. What are you aiming to provide? Feel free to wax lyrical!
I started Hypnote because of what I perceived to be the lack of people who are having any fun or who are dedicated to music that is actually any fun. The only labels doing anything fun seemed to be largely in the indiepop/twee category, and while that is a style/ category that i love dearly, I wanted to try to bring that kind of fun and positive spirit into some slightly more ambitious projects that don't pigeonhole me musically. I also aim to be an "inclusive" label, rather than an elitist one.
Have you got someone signed now that exemplifies that?
Wolfgang is a fun record in a category (Electronic/Dance) where I perceived a complete dearth of anyone having any fun (and in fact is taken far too seriously in general). I worked hard to make the packaging and "backstory" as much fun as possible.
How do you find new artists?
I hate to say but myspace is probably the best place to find artists. There really is a lot of really great stuff in there. I wish more people would use my P.O. Box because it would mean I could spend less time in front of the computer.
What's your latest release?
The Wolfgang full-length album "The Wicked Truth About Loving A Man" came out in April of 2007.
Do you find you use studios much for the likes of mastering, or do most things arrive pretty much ready to go out?
I use the best mastering people I can find/afford. I use Herb Powers Jr. for all of my dance music and he is easily the best in music history for that. In general, you can always make a master sound better by using a top sound engineer. I have actually had Herb master a couple of records that sounded perfectly fine and he is just so great that it was still worth it. I am using Ryan Morey (Arcade Fire) for my next release by Monster Bobby.
One of the main problems for small labels is distribution. Have you solved that? Is the internet part of your solution?
I am very lucky in that I am a veteran of the music business, so I didn't have all that much trouble getting distribution. I have a digital and a physical deal, so yes the internet is a part of it.
One of the other problems is publicity. Do you bother with the mass media? How do you get the message out?
It really is a problem. I hired a publicist, whom I like very much but I find that it also helps if I supplement their efforts by reaching out to journalists myself as well. I think that some journalists have become what I like to call "promo firm resistant" and would rather hear firsthand what a label is all about and what they are doing.
What's your take on the RIAA's campaign against piracy and the general area of copyright?
My take on the RIAA is that they are one of the most demonstrably stupid, myopic and ultimately ineffectual organizations I am aware of. The basic problem is that here in the US we are still working under the "fair use" and "Betamax" paradigms of a reigning late-70's Supreme Court ruling. The idea was that you were indeed allowed to use your Betamax video recorder to not only record TV shows and movies, but that you could share that material with friends, under the rubric of "fair use". If your friends were to make a copy of the tape, that was OK too, bearing in mind that once you dubbed it a couple of times it wasn't worth anything much to anyone, let alone approximating the original item. The problems which they did not anticipate, of course, are that the digital age would allow us to make EXACT copies of this content, which is clearly in violation of the spirit of the entirety of copyright law. AND to top it off, the concept of one's "friends" could not possibly have been anticipated to allow for the myspace definition thereof. But instead of propagating the essentially false idea that "downloading is illegal" (because it actually isn't!) and going after cheap PR hits by threatening 12 year-old kids and/or families with kids in college, they should have been busy trying to lobby this exact issue in a straightforward manner in the correct venue (Washington). The issue is crippling most levels of the business (there is always some artist like janis ian who comes out and says that this is all helping) but not enough is being done in part because all of the wrong things have been tried and people have become immune to the issue, in no small part due to the ineptitude of the RIAA efforts to date. The USA must lose hundreds of millions each day in software, music and video piracy. I believe that if we were not at war, that more attention would be paid to this issue.
For people who want to buy your releases, how do they get in touch with you?
Depends where they are, we are available all over the world (and attempting to expand from that). Our website is a good place to start.
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