Red Bull Readies Music Label For 2008 Launch
Red Bull plans to officially launch their new record label in 2008 and is now exploring different distribution models. The initiative, which we revealed in November, now has several A&R executives attached to it, as well as a website. The professional recording studio in Santa Monica is said to be active with several indie rock acts, however nothing has been disclosed about electronic music artists, which seems to be a more natural fit, especially for the European market.
Red Bull has always sought more innovative marketing strategies, and currently supports several music based endeavors including Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Music Labs. The elaborate Santa Monica studio has been letting hand-picked rock-based acts record there since it opened for free, and is being run by Greg Hammer, who left Universal’s A&R team to launch Grace Marketing.
Eschewing massive spending on more traditional advertising approaches, Red Bull enjoys supporting lifestyle events and “experiences” which promote the brand in a more subliminal manner. However, judging by the scale of the endeavor it appears that the company is actively pursuing a revenue model instead of creating yet another music money pit.
The question is what can Red Bull truly offer artists in the current climate of plummeting record sales? Recording and touring support are no-brainers, but a comprehensive distribution model is going to be a tough nut to crack. Although, Red Bull has tremendous brand-equity in the market, how will that translate into record sales when they don’t have their own retail presence for physical distribution, like Starbucks.
Nate Warner, Red Bull’s interactive marketing manager, registered redbullrecords.com last July, and several employees are using the domain name including Matt Pinfield of MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball fame, who is doing A&R for the start up.
The Future: The success of Red Bull Records is going to hinge on their distribution model. Sure they can launch a website with digital downloads, but, excuse me, yawn… that’s not going to move any mountains. They can team with a major label’s distribution arm, but sorry, did I nod off just now? that’s not going to impress anyone. Install a bunch of kiosks in large retail locations? Might as well throw millions of dollars into Mount St. Helens and call it a day…
No, they have to go big. A non-spinning format would be a move in the right direction…