Audio Recording of Indie Labels Today: Charting A New Standard For DIY Success

Audio Recording of Indie Labels Today: Charting A New Standard For DIY Success



Managing independent labels to stability and commercial success will be the subject of NARIP’s special program. We will discuss proven strategies in advancing an independent label’s development, including strategic planning, finance, domestic and international marketing and distribution, creating sales demand for music, touring, merchandising and ancillary markets, branding, product cross-promotion, Internet presence and deal-making. We will also address various challenges facing independent labels including A&R, distribution, radio and retail, and building into a recognized national and international trademark / brand.


  • If and When To Form (or Sign To) an Indie Label
  • Best type of business entity (sole proprietor, partnership, LLC)
  • Funding the business: your own or someone else’s money
  • Planning: business, marketing, financial plans
  • Landscape for indie labels today
  • The essence of DIY success: time management
  • Case studies: Must-haves when starting a label, mistakes to avoid
  • Difference between a production company and an indie label: which one is right for you
  • Anyone seeking to form – or sign to – an independent label
  • Indie Label Owners, Music Rights Holders
  • Record & Music Publishing Executives
  • Songwriters, Producers, Musicians, Creators
  • Music Attorneys
  • Artist Managers and Artist Reps
  • Anyone who seeks to create successful strategies & sales demand in today’s music industry

PROGRAM DATE:  July 20, 2016
PROGRAM TIME: 2 hour, 16  minutes, 17 seconds (2:16:17)
QUESTIONS? Call 818-769-7007 or contact NARIP



 Wendy Day, Founder, Rap Coalition

Wendy Day has been working with Hip-Hop artists and labels since 1992. She has successfully built numerous companies, labels, and artist careers, having created many millionaires in the rap music business. She has been setting up urban labels and negotiating stellar distribution deals since 1996. She has been involved with many of the most successful labels in Hip-Hop history, and has been honored by The Source Magazine on their Power 30 List, two years in a row.

Wendy Day founded the not-for-profit Rap Coalition in 1992 out of disgust for the way urban artists are exploited in the music industry. Wanting to shift the balance of power to favor the artists, Wendy put her life savings (selling her condo and BMW) into starting the advocacy organization to support, educate, protect, and unify hip hop artists and producers. She became a fan of rap music in the early 1980s, and turned her passion into a career in the music business. Since 1992, Rap Coalition has impacted the urban music industry by helping, for free, thousands of artists, DJs, and producers individually, as well as through monthly panel discussions, seminars, showcases, and fair deal negotiations. Rap Coalition has offered health care and dental benefits, coordinated panels at many major urban music conventions, and instituted a mentor program for up and coming artists. Today, Rap Coalition continues to break unfairly oppressive contracts (pulling artists out of bad deals), and teaches the business side of the music industry to thousands of artists and industry hopefuls from around the country. All for free.

Rap Coalition answers to a Board of Advisors which reads like a Who’s Who of the rap music industry: Chuck D (Public Enemy), Vinnie (Naughty By Nature), David Banner, Keith Murray, Young Buck, Gipp (Goodie Mob), Too Short, Ras Kass, Do Or Die, Pimp C (UGK), Easy Mo Bee, C-Murder, B.G., KLC (Beats By The Pound), 8Ball, MJG, Shawty Redd, Evil Dee (Black Moon), Brotha Lynch Hung, Bizzy Bone, Mannie Fresh and Schoolly D. Prior to his death, Tupac Shakur was the first member of Rap Coalition’s Board of Advisors. Rap Coalition is based in Atlanta, relocated from New York City in 2005.

Ms. Day consults and helps build regional and national independent urban record labels so artists can regain control of their own art form. She has helped to consult Cash Money Records, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), Young Buck, Young Jeezy’s Corporate Thugz Entertainment (CTE), No Limit Records, C-Murder, Do Or Die, Trill Entertainment (Lil Boosie & Webbie), BloodRaw, DJ Screw, Trae Tha Truth, TMI Boyz Records, Think It’s A Game (Rich Homie Quan, YFN Lucci, Trinidad James), Trouble’s DuctTape, and many others. In 2009, TMI Boyz had the distinction of being the #2 independent record label in any genre of music according to Nielsen and Billboard Magazine, an accolade not uncommon to Ms Day. She has helped build many of the successful indie labels that still exist in rap today.

Consistent with this goal, Ms. Day has negotiated stellar distribution deals in urban music. She played a part in Eminem’s deal at Aftermath/Interscope, Master P’s No Limit deal with Priority Records, UGK’s renegotiation with Jive Records, and Ruff Ryder’s renegotiation with Interscope. She negotiated the joint venture deal for Twista with Atlantic Records in 1996, which both The Source and Rap Pages magazines called “the best deal in the history of Black music.” She topped her own record with the now famous $30 million dollar deal for Cash Money Records with Universal. Her focus is complete control and ownership for the independent labels and artists she represents. Master P was the first artist to keep control and ownership of 100% of his masters for No Limit. The money Wendy Day earned negotiating these deals has gone into funding the not-for-profit Rap Coalition.

Ms. Day has written extensively about the urban music industry. She has contributed to The Source, RapPages, VIBE, Blaze, the RAPCOINTELPRO column in Murder Dog, Ego Trip, The Final Call, Word Up, Tech.Nically Speaking in Tech.Nitions Magazine, The Connection, 4080, The Fever, Beat Down, Props, Flavor, The Bomb, Ignition, Insomniac, Rap Sheet, BRE,,,,,,,, etc. She has a “how to” book that is 100% self-published called “The Knowledge To Succeed: How To Get A Record Deal,” and she is mentioned in Upski’s “Bomb The Suburbs,” and Dan Charnas’ “The Big PayBack.” While hard at work on her next book, “Making Money With Your Music,” for independent artists and those who want to start their own labels, Ms. Day set up up an educational Web site to teach artists and industry workers how to make money with music. launches in the Summer of 2016. Iconic rapper, Slick Rick, just completed the audio version of How To Get A Record Deal for release in June 2016.

Ms. Day has been at the leading edge of making change in the way the music industry conducts business, her name is synonymous with fairness and education. She has dedicated herself to finding new ways for artists to increase their streams of income, since selling records through a major label is almost never profitable for the artist. The bulk of artists in rap music come through her offices, and record labels seek out her opinion on trends, styles, and regions of talent explosion. It is difficult to find an artist today, either established or up and coming, who hasn’t been touched by this woman. More than once, Source Magazine has named her among “The Power 30,” an annual ranking of the most influential people in urban music. Wendy has been featured in VH1’s “The Tanning Of America,” along with numerous documentaries such as Beef 1, Beef 2, Beats and Rhymes, 16 Bars, and many others. She is featured in many of the Eminem documentaries, such as A&E Bio: The Eminem Story, and E! Eminem. She has received awards from Bigga Rankin’s Ghetto Grammys, the Diamond Awards, TJsDJs, The Core DJs Legend Awards, the Southern Entertainment Awards, THUG Awards, AllHipHop Awards, etc, although accolades are not what drives this woman.

Ms. Day holds an undergraduate degree in Graphic Design, an MBA in Marketing (McGill University), and a Master’s Degree in African American Studies (Temple University). She lives in Atlanta, GA with her little five pound Chihuahua, Gangster, and her boyfriend Tony (who weighs a bit more than five pounds).

DJ Pierre, Founder, Afro Acid

Nathaniel Pierre Jones AKA DJ ‘Wildpitch’ Pierre is a dance music pioneer, label owner, DJ, producer, music publisher, promoter and entrepreneur. Known for creating Acid House, he created a blend of all styles in studio production and DJ-ing (Afro Acid Concept) which he brings to the development of his record labels. As former Junior A&R and production team member at Jive Records, Pierre developed his skills in every area of label work. He then became head of A&R at Strictly Rhythm Records, one of the most influential electronic music labels. He was pivotal in the development of the label and for the release of the biggest selling house music record on vinyl to date, Follow Me by Aylus. He soon created his own label – Afro Acid Digital – which focuses on a cutting-edge mainstream style. As EDM grows, Pierre sees the need to re-introduce the beginnings of House Music to a new generation. Afro Acid Trax (AA Trax) re-introduces the essence of mid 80s to 90s House, Acid House, Detroit Techno, & Jacking Chicago House to a receptive audience and educates them on the origins of the music they call EDM. Afro Acid Deep is the new sister label designed to show the deeper side of the music. Pierre and his team, led by A&R Ronnie Raskal, aim to bridge the gap between then and now. The music will be a balance between staying true to the classic vibes while introducing newer elements to keep the sound fresh and current.

Not many artists in dance music can list Carl Cox, Diesel (X-Press 2), Junior Vasquez, Danny Tenaglia, Michael Mayer (Kompakt Records), and Tom Stephan as fans. He helped kick start the careers of Felix Da Housecat and Roy Davis Jr. Not many can claim giving birth to a genre and pioneering a sound that had the whole world dancing (and many imitators) for 15+ year. He mentors many of the ‘A’ list DJ fraternity, old and new, and stands strong in a volatile, fast-changing industry. From the days of Phuture, Pierre’s successful project with fellow squelchers Spanky and Herb J – and their release Acid Trax, to his biggest hit The Horn Song featuring Barbara Tucker, to solo projects with David Morales, Felix Da Housecat and his stint as Head of A&R at Strictly Rhythm, DJ Pierre remains active. His first artist album is coming soon.

Juliett Rowe, Founder, Atlanta Record Label Fest

Juliett Rowe has spent her career working with indie and DIY musicians, whether it was writing about unknown artists for print publications, helping artists make strategic decisions regarding their art, or taking late night phone calls to offer encouragement. In 2010, Juliett founded Essential Creative Management, a management and marketing firm to help independent artists further their careers. In 2013, she became head of marketing and promotions for Atlanta indie record label Blood Drunk Records. The label was active with ten bands on the roster, all in various stages of recording and touring. Juliett worked on everything from mailing out records to developing album release plans, securing tour press, and producing label-focused events. She elevated Blood Drunk Records to become one of the strongest labels in Atlanta. During this time, she realized that many people in the DIY music business often went unnoticed and unrecognized for their hard work supporting artists they believed in.

With this, she created the Atlanta Record Label Fest in 2015. While digital music seems to be the future of our industry, there are still plenty of music fans who like to buy vinyl and cassettes and support their music community. Atlanta Record Label Fest showcases the people behind the scenes and the incredible merchandise that these burgeoning record labels are releasing. The purpose of Atlanta Record Label Fest is twofold: to serve the indie record labels by creating an opportunity for networking, learn from each other, and build community; and to serve music fans by presenting them with cutting-edge musical artists, and bridge the gap between genres and sub-cultures. The first year of Atlanta Record Label Fest, was a success by drawing in hundreds of people and bringing together record labels and music fans in a new and unique way. This year will be spent building on that foundation and expanding the event to two days and including indie record labels from all across the state of Georgia.

Juliett is active not only in the Atlanta music scene, but also with organizations like Georgia Music Partners. She understands the need for education, networking, supporting fellow friends and artists. You can often find her at a show, or hanging out with bands waxing poetic on the value of having a Web site and an email list.

Lee Morin, Esq., Music & Entertainment Attorney, Panel Moderator

Lee Morin is principal of MORIN Entertainment Law and sits on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Record Industry Professionals – Atlanta Chapter, since 2015. She represents chiefly independent artists, songwriters, composers, sound designers, session musicians, performers, publishers, label owners, producers, and managers in the music industry. She also works in related industries including film and games. She has led panels for NARIP Atlanta including Music in Games, Producing Hit Songs, Meet the Press, and The Business of EDM: Current & Future Opportunities. A former college radio DJ at WRAS Atlanta, 88.5FM, Lee volunteers also with music advocacy group Georgia Music Partners and is an Associate Member of The Recording Academy – Atlanta Chapter. To learn more about her practice, please visit


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