Behind the Opportunity: Ghost Ramp Records

Ghost Ramp Records, who has released music from a diverse range of artists including Wavves, Best Coast, Weezer, and more, is scouting unsigned artists via an exclusive ReverbNation opportunity. We chatted with Patrick McDermott, co-founder of Ghost Ramp, to learn about what sets them apart from other indie labels, what they look for in artists, and more.

Ghost Ramp Records is the the brainchild of Wavves front man Nathan Williams and Patrick McDermott. How did you two meet and what inspired you to start a label together? How has it evolved since its inception?
Nathan and I met via mutual friends. Our friendship really stemmed from our mutual interest in video games (and possibly getting relatively drunk while playing them). But seriously – I think when you meet a fellow gamer as an adult it’s something that does really build a bond. It’s collaborative and just really snowballs in terms of other nerdy hobbies and interests.

Ghost Ramp releases music across several genres. What are some factors you look for when recruiting new artists?
We aren’t calculated with trying to check boxes with genres or really worried about confusing people with lots of genres. I think the modern listener has a diverse palette as ever. People listen to everything just like we do. We truly just put out what we like.

Why do you think its important for a record label to release video game OSTs? Is the release process different from ‘regular’ music releases?
I don’t think it’s necessarily important for other labels to worry about video game OSTs (please leave them to us :)) haha but yes I just really believe some of the best electronic music is coming out of video game scores. I’ve always been super drawn to OST music and I believe it’s time to close the gap between the traditional music world and the video game world which is often considered niche (but in fact has arguably a larger listener base).

The 405 said, “At the end of the day, Ghost Ramp is aspiring to usher in a return to the label love of old, when fans could ID a preferred curator of their favorite music and items.” Can you describe Ghost Ramp’s aesthetic and how ‘merch’ plays a role in your business?
When Nathan and I started Ghost Ramp – we well knew starting a record label – in the classic sense of the definition – just straight up isn’t a good business plan at this point. It’s just really really hard to develop no name bands and make money. So we positioned merch as sort of our ‘flagship’ band. So in a sense we still have a classic label model (where a high level cash cow entity provides money to fund the rest) but for us its our label apparel – not a high level band. This allows us do pay for things that are more risky, like lower level bands, larger video game pressings – and even opening our store. Beyond the fiscal aspect – I really wanted to work with Nathan because he has such great taste visually/aesthetically. Music is really just one of our passions. I think people connect as much with our merch as with our music and that’s cool!

We love the idea of Ghost Ramp Monthly – what inspired you to start a subscription service and what can fans expect when they sign up?
GRM is actually coming to an end _ BUT TO BE REBORN (this was a clerical change accounting wise as we started fulfilling orders ourselves) so to be transparent we aren’t pushing people in that direction at the moment as it ends next month!

But to answer your question – we wanted to get exclusive content to our most diehard fans. We have people who buy literally everything we make so it felt like a good idea to come up with a cohesive package that made them feel even more special – while still curating content they might not totally know!

What are some of the benefits an artist has when signing to an indie label like Ghost Ramp?
I think the really really dedicated fans of the label is our biggest asset. The built-in audience gets you access that no press outlet can create so I think that’s our biggest strength. Our fans view us as artist run and essentially peers and I think that relationship is great.

Can you tell us what you think are some of this biggest misconceptions artists have about indie vs major labels?
I’m honestly not really sure what people think and I’ve never really worked with a major outside of tangential stuff. I’d say indie labels give us just as greater chance of any for initial buzz as a major. I don’t know though, I really don’t think about major labels. It seems like a totally different industry to me and it’s not one I’m very interested in.

What kind of affect have new forms of music distribution and streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and Soundcloud had on your music industry?
I’m in the camp that streaming has been great – CONSIDERING how far the industry has fallen with purchasing. I might have a different tune if people still bought music, but I think it’s monetizing something that wasn’t even there after the collapse in the early 2000’s.

Also I think it fosters how people listen to music now (fast and furiously) and it helps labels like ours that have shifted towards selling a brand – not just albums. So were happy with band exposure via streaming if it means people go to shows, buy vinyl and merch!

 

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Ghost Ramp Records Opportunity:
Los Angeles-based record label Ghost Ramp Records is conducting A&R research to identify potential ReverbNation artists for its roster. Ghost Ramp has released music from a diverse range of artists, including Wavves, Best Coast, Cloud Nothings, Weezer, Courtney Love, Sweet Valley, and many video game original soundtrack composers. Do not contact anyone directly at the record label. Doing so will DISQUALIFY you from consideration. Submit here.

 

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KevinBehind the Opportunity: Ghost Ramp Records

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