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Who you decide to go into business with can make or break your company. And the people who partner with RBC Records typically end up being more successful than ever.
Led by music industry executives Bob Grossi and Brian Shafton, the Burbank, California-based company works with distribution entities such as Navarre, Fontana, Universal, EMI, Atlantic, RED, Asylum, Caroline, ADA and Select-O-Hits to help make E-40, Raphael Saadiq, Public Enemy, 8Ball & MJG, Tech N9ne, Layzie Bone, DJ Quik, C-Bo and others reach their full retail, sales and visibility potential.
RBC allows its artists to retain 100 percent interest in their masters and their company, while simply receiving a sales commission and a fee based on the sales performance of each project they work on. To date, RBC's biggest successes include Tech N9ne's Absolute Power and Anghellic albums, which have shipped more than 250,000 units each. RBC titles from Raphael Saadiq, The Game, Do Or Die and DJ Quik have also shipped more than 100,000 units each. In fact, RBC delivered Fontana its first No. 1 independent record in 2005 with DJ Quik's Trauma. In 2006, RBC helped Tech N9ne's Everready (The Religion) debut at the No. 2 spot on the independent albums chart.
On the DVD side, RBC helped propel three volumes of the Ghetto Fights series to platinum status and have pushed the Wildest Street Brawls and Hood Life titles to gold. RBC also works on merchandising and sales consulting. The company also handles trend items for music retail outlets, including Nelly's wildly popular Pimp Juice and Lil Jon's Crunk Juice beverages and Snoop Dogg's clothing line, among other product lines.
By fulfilling a general management role for artists and independent records companies, RBC Records has been able to see double-digit growth in each of its first six years in business, even as the overall music industry continues to decline. "We saw a niche in the business environment with the downsizing of the record labels," Grossi explains. "We figured that a lot of artists that are viable are going to get cut loose and there are going to be very few avenues where they can go and find ways to continue to do their craft."
RBC's seven-person staff also includes VP of Product Development Ben Grossi, Director of Online Marketing and Publicity Brett Morrow and VP of Sales & Marketing Fred McKendree. The staff helps Grossi and Shafton come up with realistic sales expectations for each project, thus earning RBC the trust of distributors and artists alike. "The distribution companies allow us to get the financing and the rappers trust us that we won't misappropriate it," Shafton explains. "So, that's enabled us to find our niche."
That niche has been a natural fit for Grossi and Shafton. A 30-year music industry veteran, Grossi was head of sales and distribution for Priority Records for 14 years. During his 17-year career, Shafton rose to VP of Sales and Distribution at Priority. In these capacities, Grossi and Shafton helped build the careers of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Mos Def, Master P, N.W.A, Mack 10, the Geto Boys and a host of others, as well as such prominent labels as Death Row, No Limit, Rawkus, Ruthless and Rap-A-Lot.
They also learned every aspect of the music business. "We're able to penetrate retail on an urban level above and beyond what anyone else can do," Shafton says. "We have relationships with everybody from radio to streets to press to television buying. We've been doing this a long time, so we feel that we can look at a project, examine it and really put forth the best marketing plan for it."
It's a proven formula. "We have watched the majors fall apart, such as MCA, Priority, Loud and the Capitol/Virgin merger," Shafton says. "At the same time, the independent companies that we manage are continuing to not only exist but thrive in this incredibly competitive marketplace. They are making money."
And for any business, it only makes sense if it makes dollars.
February 14, 2008
February 15, 2008
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Saint Andrews Hall
London Music Hall
Phoenix Concert Theatre
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