Over the last few decades many full service record labels have been consolidating their operations. Some have merged with sibling companies by cutting staff, artists and marketing in order to show ownership and stock holders that they are making money. It’s here where middle management jobs had been diced / sliced and mashed and nothing is left but a shell of staff. Record vets were replaced by those who were younger, perhaps more street savvy and not in need of health benefits. Within these stalactite structures the focus has been guiding for “rack” businesses. This means taking a company with a mass catalog of tunes and repackaging them for new and old audiences. Marketing budgets have been cut so that record companies have sanctimoniously raped artists for these funds and create what is referred to as a 360 Deal. For some artists it works satisfactorily and others it’s the company literally stealing money. Depending on what side of the fence you defend the goals hardly prove to the artist’s benefit.
IsideOut artist Transatlantic
The majors don’t find it lucrative to develop artists as they did in the past. Pretty much if they don’t see your music with traction; that being download sales , viral views from YouTube and a shit load of ticket sales you are simply a non-entity. And if you take in Spotify “clicks” and Shazam searches the equation for success becomes even that much more elusive.
This fresher paradigm has allowed the burgeoning of music to reveal itself through a more “holistic” and natural pattern of development. If this is possible the artists actually can call their own shots. What a concept? A German Music Company that has been around for over 30 years and are doing it their way and delivering music directly to the fans. The company’s name is InsideOut Music and they were founded in 1996 by music visionary Thomas Waber. To mark his tenure within the genre he was recognized in 2013 by the Progressive Music Awards and given the “Guiding Light” accolade for his stealth direction at InsideOut Music.
Their North American operations are handled by a very confident, musically kindred managing director, Edgel Groves; and his background includes being a musician, tour manager and an aficionado of progressive music. Upon our meeting he graciously gave me a tour of InsidOut’s ground control operations. The office was austere in gothic design and it had many bodies sequestered in rooms busily at work. Discussion dabbled about InsideOut Records history and methods of doing business.
The genre that they have successfully branded is Progressive/ Progressive Metal/Non Metal sound. According to Groves the fans never went away and that the music is much more viable than it’s ever been.
Progressive Rock Most Saintly Classics. ELP,Yes and King Crimson-A must have in your collection…
“Major labels don’t touch progressive rock because they don’t know how to market it but at InsidOut Music we cater to this fan and super serve their loyalty. They have been there since the early 70’s with eclectic bands like King Crimson and Gentle Giant; and the audience got bigger with more mass appealing artists like Yes, E.L.P., Genesis and even progressive metal mainstay Rush,” Edgel carefully pointed out.
The Tempest opus of progressive metal.. Rush’s “Hemispheres”..
Dutch Argonaut Ayreon.“The Theory of Everything”
The Dutch Progressive Music Titan Arjen Anthony Lucassen ..
InsideOut Music has about 50 artists on their roster and most of the duties are done in house; that would entail art work, music videos and marketing. With the even flow of their roster constantly changing they maliciously follow Thomas Waber’s formula for success. Because of the nature of the genre most of their artist stay cocooned and just making music but at any time there would be approximately 8 or 9 bands touring at one time. Despite the vastness of the American market most of these artists tour only in Europe. “The dilution of American tastes with its variety of musical choices and the quantity of bands touring makes it difficult to micro manage but in Europe the progressive music fan is more taste modular and loyal” stated eloquently by Groves.
Edgel Grove’s day consists of very early calls to Germany. Mind you they are 9 hours ahead of Los Angeles; and then he tackles the onus of his position making sure all the tentacles of his operation are in synch. He takes on every detail of his position with mindful vigor and dedication. Nothing is left to chance. Progressive music doesn’t vacillate. It’s like advance calculus, there’s one and only one answer. Congruent vision is what makes InsideOut Music the great label they are. The label has made its presence known with progressive metal’s journeymen Fates Warning which has enjoyed relevant chart positioning..
Fates Warning “Firefly”
Mr. Groves was keen during our interview to say that there was an “intellectual sophistication” inherent within progressive rock and it makes the relationship with the artists a lot more symbiotic and “digestible”. The label is committed to the “vinyl” enthusiast and the market is growing but not at a great accent as one might expect. The progressive rock enthusiast comes to expect exceptional packaging with vinyl and InsideOut Music goes to great detail to create optic titillating album encasement’s.
The Elaborate Vinyl Edition of Fates Warning’s “Darkness in a Different Light”
As a final note Mr. Groves was quick to maintain that touring was the imperative vehicle for any artist’s success and without that the trek to stardom was improbable.
Steve Hackett..Genesis Revisted
I want to thank “Edge” for his kindest and insights about InsideOut Music…
Without fail I want to recognize the folks at Glass Onyon for their assistance.