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Independent Artist Looking to Build Relationships with Major Labels Through Imprints

Tyler Mason
Posted by Tyler Mason on Oct 14

The panel was packed from start to finish as crowds of people rushed into the room to gain advice from EarthGang's manager Barry Hefner, the notable LA Reid’s son Aaron Reid, marketing specialist Joy Young, and Shade45’s Gray Rizzy. The topic of discussion was centered on the relationship between independent labels (imprints) and major labels.  

IMG_3386.jpgPhoto credit: Bradon Davis for A3c Media Services

Barry Hefner started off by explaining that artist sometimes misunderstand what all goes into building relationships with major labels. The artist must first be able to bring in ticket sales, as well as enough buzz to establish those great relationships with major labels, and prominent figures. Hefner described the action of grinding as “ shaking hands, and kissing babies. "Artist like to tend to believe that just because you have a big social media following, that you are going to be able to sell tickets,” stated Hefner. “It’s really all about ticket sales, merchandise, and how you interact with your fans.” 

IMG_3385.jpgPhoto credit: Brandon Davis for A3c Media Services

Social media is definitely important, but it is not the reason why labels sign an artist to great deals.  Ultimately, a social media following will not give you the opportunity to demand certain expectations from a label. Joy Young, who has an impressive background in marketing, television, and music agreed that brand management is the key to pushing your product in the right direction. “ As an artist, you need to gain the trust of your fans, and make great music for them," said Young. With it becoming easier and easier to share music, there should be many ways for an artist to slowly build the following they need to take things to the next level.  Young also explained how becoming an imprint could fail if the entrepreneur who is interested in this field doesn’t know the business side. "There is a system to how everything works, and running a label/business is no exception," said Young.

IMG_3416.jpgPhoto credit: Brandon Davis for A3c Media Services

As the panel continued, Aaron Reid spoke about a successful independent artist with an imprint. “Dom Kennedy is one of the most successful independent artists in the world because he gives fans what they want, and understands the business language of the industry,” stated Reid. “The more hits you make, the more fans and money you bring in.” When deciding whether or not you want to stay independent or merge with a label, make sure the decisions revolves around where your career currently is as an artist.


Tyler Mason

Written by Tyler Mason

T. Mason is a Content Producer for A3C, as well as an entrepreneur with a passion in fashion and music.

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