Orlando-based Hard Rock International just announced the launch of their own record label. You know what a record label is, right? That business model built on shady accounting practices, questionable promotional tactics, and fueled by the crystallized dreams and ambition of millions of guitar players, singers, and songwriters who thought that "getting signed" was the only way to make it as a musician?
Except that's not what Hard Rock is doing at all. In the vein of brand-extending creative ventures like Red Bull Records (who have actually had a huge hit with AWOLNation) and the Scion Rock Fest, Hard Rock Records is a way for the memorabilia/burger/casino/hotel titan to further define itself as a cool company with tastes just like its customers, "signing" up-and-coming bands to one-year contracts during which HRR will release and promote their album (and, presumably, said band will play lots of shows at various Hard Rock-related venues).
And to that end, the label's first signing, Nashville's Rosco Bandana ... well, they sound like this:
Not exactly "hard rock," and actually pretty okay at the same time? That's somewhat unexpected!
Also unexpected (from the press release):
“All the money from album sales goes back to the artist,” says Hard Rock Records co-Head of A&R James Buell. “We don‘t take any publishing. The artists own the music and hopefully, when the year is done, they have a better standing in the music community and we have a great ongoing relationship with them. The best thing that could happen for us is for another label to say we really like this band and to sign them and further their career after we helped get them started.”
WHAT THE WHAT? You're kidding me, right? A reasonable and ethical and generally practical approach to selling and promoting music in 2012? Well, that's just fucking awesome.
And, FYI, Rosco Bandana will be playing Sunday night at the Social on a great bill with Flashlights and Jr Meowzer. It's free.