Your Music On VizzTone?
by Bob Margolin
The VizzTone Label Group gets so many inquiries from artists that we want to save time by telling you as much as we can right here. Form letter? FAQ? A little, but as you’ll see, this link is born of both respect for you and your music and real world considerations for both of us.
• VizzTone is a LABEL GROUP, not a traditional record company. VizzTone works in partnership with artists. We don’t license or buy albums or advance production costs. With the artist covering production and manufacturing costs as their own investment or by crowd-source funding like Kickstarter and Indie-Go-Go, VizzTone can take less of the artists’ sales money for our services and branding. We love music, especially Blues, Roots, and Americana. We publicize that music and sell it to music lovers. VizzTone was conceived and flexibly developed because the 20th Century business model of a record company doesn’t work well for anyone anymore.
• VizzTone’s value is the quality of all our artists’ music. When a music lover sees our ad, when a DJ gets a package from us, when a media or Blues society critic reviews an album, the VizzTone brand already shows them to expect, as we proudly and truthfully promote in our ads…
• “Rising stars, seasoned veterans, and bad-ass debuts.” If any of those truthfully describe you and your unreleased recording proves it boldly, let’s begin to consider working together. Just “begin,” keep reading please. You will judge whether we interest you, but we will have to literally fall in love with you before we put out. And as with all love and partnership, there is…
• “THE BAD NEWS” — Our Real World Considerations about signing an artist, based on our experience and common sense:
• We must choose VizzTone artists with our hearts and our heads. There is a plethora of truly fine music offered to us — more talented artists than we could ever partner with. We have to choose only what we love the most and reasonably expect we can release successfully. We must limit the artists we choose to an optimum number of a few each year for whom we judge that our partnership can be mutually beneficial.
• Gigging now? Even if we are very impressed by your music, if you are not currently touring world-wide or at least over a very large area, our professional world-wide distribution through Redeye Distribution will not be effective to sell many of your CDs through stores and online outlets in places you don’t go. You, Redeye, and VizzTone would not profit, which sets all of us back instead of forward.
• Originality? To stand out from hundreds of musicians who would love to have a big-time career with their music, we want VizzTone artists to perform mostly non-generic original songs by you or a songwriter composing for you. Of course some covers are fine if you have something to add to the song yourself. The artists we seek have a recognizable, distinctive sound.
• Play entertaining and moving music? I remember when record company presidents would fly around the U.S. to check out prospective artists live. Now we have Youtube. Anyone who moves their audience with their music and entertains them — we can often see and hear part of their show from last night. I know what a world-class performance looks and sounds like from the charismatic Blues icons I’ve worked with. You won’t be Muddy Waters or Etta James, but you should be remarkable and stand out from the pack on the bandstand and in your recordings.
• THE GOOD NEWS: If you really do stand out from hundreds of others, we want to hear from you. If you’re special it will be instantly obvious. If you don’t know, but think, “it doesn’t hurt to ask,” we must tell you gently right now that it does hurt to ask.
On the other hand, the Vizztone Label Group found years ago that sometimes we love an artist’s music but because they have not developed their career enough yet to tour widely, the artist and VizzTone might not succeed together. The resourceful Mr. Rosenblatt developed the idea of Vizzable Music for this Catch-22 situation. Read about it by Clicking HERE.
…Did you read about Vizzable music? No short cuts! Vizzable can work well for a confident developing artist or a very independent artist who wants the promotional advantages of our brand but will find their own way to distribute their album. Again, please follow the link above if this interests you.
• Who will listen to what you send? I, Bob Margolin, am a working pro musician, producer, workshop teacher, journalist, author, and my experience in the Blues World goes back to before my time in Muddy Waters’ band. Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt is a working harp player when he’s not conceiving and producing the VizzTone Label Group’s business and promotion. From 1985-2005 Rosy was the President of Tone Cool Records, a successful Blues record label (rare!) who brought us the debuts of Susan Tedeschi and The North Misssissippi All-Stars among many other great CDs.
• The VizzTone Family. Since we began The VizzTone Label Group with my In North Carolina CD in 2006, we are proud of the dozens of albums we’ve released. Some were commercially successful, some weren’t. None of them make me look back and ask, “What were we thinking?” We have become good friends socially with many of our artists and when we play gigs together or meet at the Blues Music Awards or play on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, it’s like a family reunion. We bond over the work we’ve done separately and together, and it lasts with most VizzTone friends who have moved on.
• “One more thing,” as the founder of Apple used to say. As musicians, we respect that you are too and put your soul on the line to create your music. Let’s treat each other well because of it.