Revolutionary Indie Record Label Expat Records

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Indie Label Expat Records President Jeff LIbby on the state of the Music Industry

Interview by Heather MacDonald of

The traditional record label model might be struggling, but that doesn't mean that the work that labels do is outdated. Artists can still benefit from having someone help them manage the business side of their careers and tap into new opportunities for promoting and distributing their music. That is where Expat Records comes into the picture. Expat aims to provide artists with the support they need - and that means the kind of support they need right now, in this music environment. By breaking the traditional record label model, Expat aims to make the music business function again. Here, label founder Jeff Libby discusses his vision for Expat.

Question: Expat Records is a record label, but with a modern twist. Can you tell us a little about what makes Expat unique?

Answer: We call what we are doing Music 2.0: a fusion of music and technology to create a new type of record label which brings unprecedented exposure to independent musicians. We've developed a revolutionary software platform we are in the process of patenting that essentially combines multimedia syndication, social media, automated content distribution, mobile, and advanced analytics. It sounds complicated and from a technical standpoint it is, but the concept is quite simple: we get our artists' news, music, and videos in as many places and in front of as many people with similar taste as possible. This enables our artists to be on hundreds of sites around the internet in front of literally millions of potential fans for virtually no cost whereas traditional label tactics like magazine ads and street teams have exponentially higher costs and reach only a tiny fraction of the audience we reach.

Why buck the traditional label model? What made you decide to take things in a different direction?

It's shocking to me how slow the record industry has been to adopt the new technologies and lean business models of today. The modus operandi of the traditional record label is to make big bets on a small number of groups. Regardless of your opinion of this model, it is a fact that over 95% of major label artists never see a penny in royalties because they never recoup the initial investment. From the standpoint of statistical probability you can see why this makes big labels so risk averse and causes most small labels to fail. On the other side of the coin, our initial investment in technology allows us to simply make many more smaller bets each with an extraordinarily low break-even point. As such, we are on target for 100% artist profitability as opposed to the industry average of 5%!

Also, in the old days, it was almost impossible to make a proper record without a label. In addition to financing the project, labels took an active role in creating the product by providing songwriters, producers, studio musicians, etc. For this, the companies argued, they should be entitled to own the masters and pay the artist only a tiny fraction of the profits. Although this still goes on, and a times with great success, the fact is that almost anyone today can cheaply record an album at an incredibly high technical standard. As such, our model is that we partner only with artists with completed masters. The artist retains ownership of the masters, we take 100% of the risk, and we split the profit. This works out very well for artists who don't need traditional label backing to make a recording because with us they earn about a 650% higher percentage of the profits than they would with a major label.

How does the "signing" process work for musicians?

Although not just anyone can join our label the way they can sign up for Youtube or Facebook, our model allows us to take a lot more risk than even a small indie label could take, let alone a major label. Today, the major labels have become like big banks: they do not like risk at all! They want a band that already has a big following, is touring, selling a lot of downloads, etc. While this model's merits can be argued, we want to show people great new music and break new bands. My philosophy on this is highly influenced by writings on crowd psychology and its parallels with statistical sampling. I think a hallmark of the internet age is people following the advice/decisions of masses of peers as opposed to the opinions of a few experts. For example, do you buy a new camera because of one article in Consumer Reports or an average 4 star rating from 100 customers on Amazon? Do you go to a restaurant with one foodie mag review or because it's crowded every night? Instead of having 'experts' dictate merit we throw a lot of stuff out there and let people discover and decide on their own what they like.

For More on New Indie Label Expat Records, visit their official website
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New Indie Record Label Expat Records has signed nearly one hundred artists, ranging from never-before-heard-of bands to big names in old-school funk and hip-hop. To find out more about this revolutionary new Indie Label, visit their homepage at or check them out on youtube at

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Revolutionary Indie Record Label Expat Records

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This article was published on 2011/04/27