"The Company Man" over at HipHopDX recently highlighted Siddiq, the CEO of Rhymesayers in a new in-depth interview that discusses the current state of the music industry, touring, the success of Atmosphere, and more!
Check out a snippet below and then head to HipHopDXfor the full thing.
HipHopDX: Rhymesayers Entertainment is approaching 16 years. How have you been able to stay successful in the midst of a rapidly consolidating industry and an explosion in technology for the past decade and a half?
Siddiq: For starters, a lot of our [business model] was just built out of necessity. All of us were actually involved. I used to do production. Then I took that shift as we got more serious and started to focus on the business side. Fortunately, it came out of need. Being from Minnesota, thereâ??s not a huge industry here, although there are some notable artists. Just not in the Hip Hop genre. And thereâ??s no [music] industry here. So, without kind of having those trails already blazed, we had to learn how to do everything on our own. In some sense, we attribute our longevity to the fact that we never had those things to lean on. It really forced us to go out and learn how to do things. We had to learn how to handle - to some regard - every facet of this business on our own. We gained a wealth of knowledge by actually doing it. We were fortunate enough to kind of have that luxury to be thrust into it that way. I think a lot of our counterparts didnâ??t have that. They rode in on that wave of independent Hip Hop that was really hot around that time, or they were just latching on to that and maybe had a few records or a small little buzz going and the distributors were all open. For us, we definitely took the slow build approach to a sense that, while a lot of other indie labels at that time were either starting up and running distribution deals. We opted to maintain our own distribution ourselves. I think 2004 was when we got our first distribution deal. Thatâ??s actually because we licensed out a couple of projects. We did a couple of strategic licensing deals. But as far Rhymesayers [Entertainment] having an actual distribution deal, we didnâ??t do that until about 2004. I donâ??t think a lot of people really realize that at the time because of the numbers that we were doing. By taking that approach and always making sure that when we made a move, we were more prepared for that move. I think a lot of labels donâ??t do that, or didnâ??t do that at that time. Really, in a lot of ways, thatâ??s the key.
The other thing is, we have a really solid crew. Iâ??m talking about from the artists to the staff. I donâ??t believe thereâ??s a lot of labels that work harder than us. Weâ??re all truly invested in it. We started this thing out as a collective in the sense that early on, nobody really made any money off of it. So if we made $100 dollars on a show, we took that $100 dollars and threw it into the pot so we would have funds to record the next project. In some regards, we still have artists and staff that are all truly invested in the company; truly invested in us succeeding as a collective as opposed to having artists that are only thinking about themselves. We have a flagship artist who is just as concerned with the labels success and the other artists on the labelâ??s success as he is about his own success.
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