When you imagine a group of record label executives, you probably wouldn’t expect them to spend as much time on a surfboard as they do in the boardroom.
But according to Pacific Records CEO and founder Brian Witkin (above left), the entire label’s brand is built around the laid-back, friendly vibes that surround the San Diego surfing community. And because Pacific Records is not genre-specific, the label defines itself by its lifestyle, which has guided their development and search for new talent, allowing them to grow their label in an organic and authentic fashion.
Like any label, Pacific Records has used traditional scouting measures to build their roster, but they also frequently scour the ReverbNation charts and Featured Artists to keep their finger on the pulse of new emerging talent. In fact, it was one of label president Pat Pickslay’s routine visits to ReverbNation that helped him discover (and sign) San Diego pop act Super Groupie.
Before Pat found them on ReverbNation, Super Groupie was still chasing their partially-defined dream of a music career. They were recording their own music and playing as many shows as they could in Southern California, knowing they wanted to move forward, but they weren’t sure how — a call from Pacific Records changed that.
“We were definitely excited, but it took us a while to get the contract negotiated, so we were pretty nervous — we hadn’t done anything like this before,” says guitarist Austin Steele. “We really learned how to handle the business of the industry from working with Pacific Records.”
Contrary to their expectations of working with a label, Steele notes that, “not only are we developing and growing as a band, but Pacific as a label is also growing, so it’s cool to see our mutual energy catapult one another.”
Another significant source of music discovery for Pacific Records has been various brands that fit with the label’s lifestyle and voice. Companies like Taylor Guitars, Billabong, and Nixon have lead them to Artists like Lindsay Perry, a professional surfer, model, and musician.
Much like Super Groupie, Lindsay “personifies the Pacific Record brand to a ‘T,’” says Brian Witkin (check out Lindsay on the ReverbNation homepage in April). Not only did her career as a professional surfer work with Pacific Record’s beach culture-focused approach, but she “also had a very strong social presence, which is key to any Artist’s success in today’s market,” says Witkin.
Lindsay was similarly not specifically working towards attaining a label, but she knew that “creating an album was always my end goal, and I had never realized how much time and resources it took to make something like an album happen.”
Being with a small, niche label like Pacific Records has allowed her to focus on what matters — her music: “I’m more free to openly create and finally be an Artist, as opposed to having to worry about so many other things that come along with the business.”
Advice For Emerging Artists
We compiled some of the best advice we received during our discussions with Pacific Records to help give you a leg-up on promotion, career management, and other areas that can be difficult for the independent Artist.
- Brian Witkin, CEO/Founder: Artists should learn that building a strong social presence is very important and will get you noticed. Partnering with organizations and brands that share your same vision and goals can also help get you where you want to go quicker.
- Pat Pickslay, President: Artists need a clean, well-organized profile. We also recommend plenty of pictures and videos, but only the best stuff. If your best three songs don’t get you any attention, you probably need to spend more time writing your songs.
- Douglas Foxworthy, COO: “Success” is a cooperative process that requires a strong focus on your recordings, performance, and raw talent combined with a mix of savvy business and social media expertise, the ability to attract fans, and a unique voice/brand.
- Ace Antonio, Social Media Manager: Social media is the key to showcasing your new work, exciting new fans, engaging with existing fans, and developing your brand. In 2015, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist.
- Gary Hyde, Vice President/Senior Director of A&R: Make sure your live show is always as tight as it can be and treat every show like an audition — you never know who will be watching you.
Watch out for upcoming releases from Pacific Records Artists Alfa (TBA) and Steven Ybarra (What I Really Want To Say) coming soon. For updates, visit Pacific Records’ website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.