The music industry can often times be a cutthroat and turbulent business. Ludek Zdrubecky is reinventing the music label and turning the power over to the artists represented! He was kind enough to share more information about the label and his current endeavors with his artists!
Hi Ludek! Thank you for taking the time to talk about the record label.
Q: Cannonball Rocks is unlike many other labels. Tell us about Cannonball Rocks? How did the label get started?
A: There are two main reasons why I decided to set up the label. First of all, I wanted to look at the music business from a different angle than most others do. I am referring here to freedom, creativity, copyrights ownership and revenue divide. Secondly, I was looking to do something more challenging and completely different from the current business I am running.
Q: Is the label based out of the Czech Republic? If so, how does this help you reach musicians in Europe seeking a label?
A: At the moment our focus is on the US only. We feel that if you are trying to do something different in the long term you need to set up in the right environment where the people are ready to listen and understand that you are being innovative. Innovation is what Cannonball Rocks is all about. I do believe US is our best place to start as most of the new ideas come from this country and the significant portion of the world’s famous music originates from the US. We have an office in Florida and our merch distribution center is out of Arizona.
Q: Something I find refreshing about the label is that you are putting the creativity and power back into the hands of the artists. I can’t tell you how important I think that is to musicians, especially in today’s world of freely available music.
A: Right. It is the basic idea or kind of golden rule if you like. I am sure all the artists have a clear vision what kind of music they want to do. They get signed by a label who expects them to make money. If plans fail, often the labels will tell the artists to do it another way. For example, let’s say you’re a heavy metal band, but your music isn’t selling, so often the label then tries to recreate you so you can sell, even if it means recreating you into a pop band. Many times, the bands many times will recreate themselves into what the labels want because of monies owed and contracts signed. This takes away the freedom to be independent. We feel and create what it is the musician wants.
Q: You already have a terrific lineup of bands and singers the label is representing. What’s it been like to work with and represent the work of these up and coming artists?
A: It is exciting because I have different musicians and different genres. It is a great start because the label is open to everybody (except of extremes like racism, hate etc). Whether a band is right at the beginning of their career or a bit ahead, it is good to work with young artists. They are all excited to keep their sound, their independence, and to be a part of a team that supports each other.
Q: Being an independent label, how do you control the ‘quality versus quantity’? In other words, how do you determine which artists to represent?
A: We are a young music label so at the moment there is no queue behind the Cannonball. Rocks door. Also, we are working on getting more demos and talking to more musicians and it is exciting. We believe the label should look for the artists not the other way around. It is also probably a new view we have on the music industry. Honestly we did not think of finding the balance between “quality and quantity” as our main goal right now, but we have an excellent A&R team of people who can tell what makes sense and what doesn’t in terms of music quality.
Q: Do you think you have a better rapport with artists since you support their desires and efforts?
A: Building relations and trust takes a certain amount of time. We are kind of what we call an internet label, meaning we do digital sales only. I am sure the other ways of creating smaller music labels are great and they are doing a job for the artists who believe it is the best way for them. For us though at Cannonball Rocks, we all prefer personal contact, the artist retaining their copyrights, independence, and self-expression with support to develop if needed.
Q: How would you like to see the label grow in 2017?
A: Rather than seeing the label ‘grow,’ I want to see it grow the artists we are currently working with. It will be great to see how their fan base increases and obviously how this all turns into revenue. Like it or not the music industry is a business like other businesses and so sooner or later it all has to turn into a cash flow.
Q: Ludek, what else would you like for musicians and readers to know?
A: Yes, one important thing to stress up here. Musicians should look for the label who works for them. They should not work for a label. That is what we believe at Cannonball Rocks and we welcome any band who would like to send us their demos for consideration. Feel free to contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or through our website: www.cannonball.rocks, I am always available.