The Yamaha Corporation of America (YCA) has extended its deep relationship with musicians with the launch of an in-house record label under the Yamaha Entertainment Group of America. Though comparable to such innovative corporate experiments as that of Red Bull Records and Hard Rock Records, these comparisons pale in the light of Yamaha's even longer history of artist support.
I'm still hoping to speak with Chris Gero, who is the Founder of Yamaha Entertainment Group of America and has a history with YCA dating at least as far back as 1992. In addition to being a songwriter/producer/composer who has worked with a variety of film, tv and record companies in that role, his career at YCA has involved artist relations from the very beginning.
But since many of our readers are likely most interested in Yamaha Entertainment Group's new in-house label, I'll focus there rather than pursuing what turns out to be a rather complex corporate and personal history.
[Update: An anonymous commenter made a solid argument for why I should not refer to this label as "indie." Upon further reflection I have updated the post and replace "indie" with "in-house." Beyond that I still think it's a smart move by Yamaha and a great opportunity for the artists involved.]
LEOGUN - Let's Be Friends
Billboard.biz got first dibs on the story and it's clear that there are some similarities to the wide range of interesting corporate experiments of recent years. From Red Bull Records to Hard Rock Records, such corporate labels are more about marketing than about providing a corporate revenue stream. In fact, for a corporation the size of Yamaha, it would be quite difficult to generate enough income to justify the existence of such a label for reasons other than marketing.
As Gero stated:
"Traditionally, what we've done with advertising has been print, down to the dealer level. But we need to compete against larger market manufacturers, and the best manner to get that messaging out is through artists."
"affiliated with Elton John's Rocket Entertainment Group...LEOGUN will release a five-song EP through Yamaha Entertainment Group of America on October 16 and a full-length album in February 2013."
Gero told The Tennessean that "two other acts have been signed and are working on projects." In addition:
"The label does not focus on any particular genre and will release about five records each year...The imprint will keep overhead costs low by employing just seven people and working with a team of about 30 independent consultants...Yamaha also has built a recording studio in Franklin [TN] where it will record all of the artists it signs, using as much Yamaha equipment as possible to keep recording and production costs low."
Gero also stated:
"The artist is going to be able to surround themselves with people who can finance and produce and market at a higher percentage. We're giving up a lot more territory to an artist than a traditional label would."
For example, artists will receive a "50% share of recorded-music revenue."
I'm guessing that Yamaha's extensive range of artist relationships mean they're less likely to take direct submissions but if I hear otherwise I will pass that news along. If you're interested in connecting, I'd suggest checking out their Artist Submission process for becoming a Yamaha artist. If you think you'd fit, it's definitely worth pursuing whatever your interest in the Yamaha Entertainment Group label.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.