Wind-up Records is the largest independently owned music label in North America. In November the company signed a joint publishing deal with leading filmed entertainment studio Lionsgate.
Ron Morse is the general manager for Wind-up Entertainment LLC. Before joining Wind-up, Morse worked for Sam the Record Man, Warner Music Canada, and Sony Music Canada. He recently spoke with us from Toronto regarding Wind-up’s new joint publishing agreement with Lionsgate.
The Wind-up slogan is ?Developing career artists.? It isn’t just a slogan; the company lives by it. As an example, the label’s second signing over a decade ago was the Burlington, Ontario rock act Finger Eleven. If you look up ?artist development? in the dictionary Finger Eleven is the first name you should see. When I first started working with the band in Canada they were just starting out and they had a small loyal fan base; however, it took quite some time for mainstream radio to embrace them. It has been a dozen years and four albums now and Wind-up has stuck with them through it all.
Their first album, Tip, was just certified gold this year and their most recent album, Them Vs. You Vs. Me, is platinum, plus the band won the 2008 Juno for Rock Album of the Year and the debut single from their album Paralyzer holds the record for most weeks at number one at rock radio, a very long way from the band’s humble beginnings.
Because Wind-up Records is a privately held, independently owned company, there is little chance of it becoming a large faceless corporation. The company’s size and organization affords it the ability to be nimble and adapt quickly with the fast changing music business landscape. Innovations such as this Lionsgate partnership will hopefully keep Wind-up on the cutting edge of change.
Recently I overheard somebody in the business say, ?TV is the new radio.? That may be [a] bit of an exaggeration but there is little doubt artists, managers, and labels are looking for novel ways to gain exposure. Television shows and movies can be a powerful medium to achieve this.
There have been many recent success stories of bands, such as The Fray, who got a big leg up through a relationship they developed with a film or TV company. Placement in the right prime-time TV show or at a crucial scene in a blockbuster movie can really help to capture the public’s ear.
The deal benefits both Lionsgate and Wind-up’s artists. Increasingly, film and TV companies are finding how crucial a part music plays in providing a powerful emotional underpinning for their scripts and story lines. In that respect music is a great driver for them, helping their television and movie properties to become more successful.
On the flip side, our artists now have another key stakeholder in their success. Lionsgate will actively search out appropriate placement for our artists? music in their highly successful TV and film properties. It’s a win-win.
The industry’s been evolving in terms of the partnerships they form with their artists. Wind-up has always been at the forefront of this. We’ve been in the merchandising business for a number of years now with Pronto Merch; we administer much of our artists? publishing and we take part in their touring activities. For Wind-up It’s never been just about selling music, It’s always been about developing our artists? careers. The Lionsgate partnership is another key element in achieving this.