RCRD LBL Has Launched

Downtown Records and internet entrepreneur and Engadget cofounder Peter Rojas today launched RCRD LBL, as an online label offering free, sponsor-supported MP3s from established and emerging artists and labels across a variety of niches and genres. PUMA, airline Virgin America and Nikon Inc. are among the major brands that have signed on as inaugural RCRD LBL sponsors.   

RCRD LBL is a blog-driven destination that attempts to combine an artists need to connect with young audiences who increasingly discover music on-line with sponsors looking new ways to communicate with this hard to reach demographic.


RCRD LBL is a joint venture between Downtown Records, which has released hits from such acclaimed acts as Gnarls Barkley and Cold War Kids, and Rojas, who founded the popular online community Engadget and also serves as the site’s editorial director.

“We are tremendously excited to be working together on a new model for music that combines Downtown’s talent for discovering and cultivating the hottest new artists with Peter’s experience in creating compelling web-based communities,” Deutsch and Rojas said in a joint statement. “We are convinced RCRD LBL will be a unique and innovative place on the internet to discover, enjoy and download free, legal music from an exciting roster of diverse artists and labels. RCRD LBL is proud to introduce and promote the experience of legally discovering and sharing music in a way that aligns the interests of bands, fans and brands alike.”

John Josephson, one of Downtown’s co-founders and a managing director at Allen & Company, added: “Unlike previous online music initiatives, which were created as an extension of traditional music businesses or by technology-focused entities with limited understanding of music content, Downtown’s resources and track record combined with Peter’s experience building online audiences and unparalleled relationships within the digital media industry give RCRD LBL a significant competitive advantage.”

The site will feature free exclusive tracks from both new and marquee acts, many of which have been recorded specifically for RCRD LBL. The site’s first-ever offering will be an exclusive, never before heard remix of Justice’s smash hit “D.A.N.C.E.” produced by Benny Blanco and featuring verses from Spank Rock and the legendary Mos Def. Other artists represented by exclusive songs on the site will include Junip featuring Jose Gonzalez, Switch, Eagles Of Death Metal, Spank Rock, Ra Ra Riot, Tokyo Police Club, Amanda Blank,Bad Veins, Dirty On Purpose, Meanest Man Contest, The Moths, White Denim, The Prayers, Sabrosa Purr, Kings And Queens, Skew, Jacques Renault, Professor Murder, Apes and Androids, Digitata, Sam Champion, Dax Riggs, Luxxury, Beat The Devil and others.

In addition to songs in the RCRD LBL catalog, the site will allow users to download exclusive, promotional and catalogue tracks from among the company’s extended family of labels, which include:

• Dim Mak Records (Bloc Party, Klaxons, Mystery Jets, Scanners)
• Downtown Records (Cold War Kids, Spank Rock, Eagles of Death Metal)
• Warp Records (Grizzly Bear, Squarepusher, Battles)
• Ghostly International (Mobius Band, Matthew Dear, Solvent)
• Modular Records (Wolfmother, New Young Pony Club, Cut Copy)
• Drowned In Sound (Kaiser Chiefs, Bat For Lashes, Martha Wainwright)
• Kompakt Records and Distribution (Michael Mayer, Superpitcher, The Field)
• Dirty Bird Records (Claude Von Stroke, Tanner Ross, Worthy)
• Turntable Lab (Diplo, Kid Sister, Piano Overlord)

RCRD LBL will continually make new music available, giving visitors a reason to return to the site on a daily basis.

Every element of RCRD LBL, from streaming radio and photos to videos and tour dates, is offered as a branded widget (a mini application which can be embedded in other websites or on a user’s desktop), offering sponsors an innovative way to integrate themselves into the experience of the site itself.

In addition to developing sponsored widgets with PUMA, Virgin America and Nikon, RCRD LBL is also creating a custom-programmed audio channel for Virgin America’s Red™ Inflight Entertainment system (IFE). Available exclusively onboard Virgin America’s flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, and San Diego, the channel will solicit listener feedback and allow passengers to chat and IM with each other as they hear new artists.

In addition to Deutsch and Rojas, key RCRD LBL executives include renowned music blogger, editor and marketer Elliot Aronow, who serves as both Creative Director and A&R person and Downtown Records A&R executive Michael Howe, who will now handle A&R responsibilities for RCRD LBL as well. 

About Peter Rojas

Peter Rojas is the founder and editorial director of Engadget, a daily blog covering gadgets and personal technology with a monthly readership of over 8 million. He is also the co-founder of Joystiq, Gizmodo, and Hackaday, editor-at-large of Switched.com, an on-air contributor to HGTV’s I Want That – Tech Toys, and in 2005 served as a guest host on G4’s Attack of the Show.

About Downtown Records

Downtown Records is an independent record label and music publishing company formed in 2006.  Downtown is distributed by Warner Music Group’s Alternative Distribution Alliance and also has a joint venture with Atlantic Records for North America. The company’s roster includes Grammy winners Gnarls Barkley, Cold War Kids, Spank Rock, Justice, Kevin Michael, Eagles of Death Metal, Art Brut and others.  Downtown Music Publishing owns or controls over 1,000 titles recorded by artists including Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, Hannah Montana’s Miley Cyrus and the cast of High School Musical 2. The company also represents writer/artists signed to Downtown Records such as Cold War Kids, Carla Bruni and Kevin Michael.  Downtown is also a joint venture partner in RCRD LBL, an online, totally ad-supported digital music label which will offer free downloads in a blog format.

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  1. RCRD LBL is trying to be too many things: a music blog, a social network, a music provider and a record label. I am afraid it won’t do any of these well. If advertising is paying the bills it must be, first and foremost, an advertising company -and it is not. It’s advertising model is fatally flawed.
    Check out the Ad-Supported Music Central blog:

  2. Pretty interesting.
    The musical choices and brand choices are hip. That’s good because it gives them some credibility…I can’t really discern whether they are trying to be a tastemaker or what. Including Turntablelab certainly gives it that slant. But of course, I will always just, ya know, surf Turntablelab.com.
    It’s an mp3 blog giving away sanctioned promo mp3’s. It’s tough to imagine it really scaling. Unless they want to make all the readers into mp3 bloggers themselves, blah blah

  3. I love the whole “2.0” thing – I’m gonna start calling my kid Jake 2.0 – ‘cos after all – it was me that provided the “content” – so to speak!
    I’d have loved to check out rcrdlbl but the site seems to be struggling – Oooops – nothing like underestimating the traffic.
    Here’s my thing – this sounds like a distribution model – not a record label – I still believe that record labels should be involved in artist development – and that’s a loose expression for money – money to pay the band to quit their day jobs, to tour, to eat, to pay for expertise, etc, etc.
    It’s one thing to set up shop with a roster of existing bands – but it’ll be interesting to see if they can actually become a label rather than one of a million online destinations with a message board and a cool widget!

  4. First commentator nails it.
    I’d also like to add I almost got a seizure from the flickering of all the damn widgets re-loading every time I hit a new page. I realize I’m getting old and am probably past the target age group, but man, there was so much going on there I felt I’d flashed back to a GeoCities page circa 1997.
    I didn’t see much that made me want to come back. Probably not for me anyway.

  5. I found this page searching to find out who owns RCRDLBL. There are so many advertisements on it that I find it inherently untrustworthy. Puma, Nikon, and Virgin all have their own “widgets.” While I love the fact that they are offering free legal mp3s to pretty good bands and links to songs and interesting music news, It looks to me like a new corporate attempt to co-opt indie rock. If it grew in popularity, I would fully expect it to start offering good reviews, news stories and song posts to bands from their corporate sponsors, selling those bands as cool. I am sure it will catch on with a certain number of people but I think others are going to be turned off by the corporate nature of it. Personally, the site makes me feel more like a target than a seeker of good music. I’ll be interested to see what happens with it.

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