Riffage.com Acquires Rights to 1500 Records

Riffage.com Acquires Rights to 1500 Records and Artists From A&M Records.
Business Wire, July 10, 2000

Business & Entertainment Editors

PALO ALTO & LOS ANGELES, Calif. - (BUSINESS WIRE) - July 10, 2000

Deal With Former Interscope/Universal Label Will Meld Traditional Record Label Services With Powerful Fan A&R and Promotion Through Online Music Site

Riffage.com, the Net’s leading destination for people who want a personalized music experience, today announced that it has acquired music label 1500 Records, formerly part of A&M Records under the Interscope/Universal banner.

By acquiring 1500 Records, Riffage.com’s strategy is to merge the promotion and distribution strength of a traditional label with the sourcing, marketing and data mining capabilities of the Internet. Under the deal, 1500 Records becomes a new division of Riffage.com, providing traditional A&R support, retail music sales and CD publishing to select Riffage.com artists, as well as talent scouted through traditional channels. Through quantitative data obtained from Riffage.com, 1500 Records will be able to develop customized marketing programs for each of its artists, including identification of key target markets for touring, street team activity and radio airplay.

Gary Richards, president of 1500 Records, will head the division, which will be based in Los Angeles, along with members of Riffage.com’s musician services team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Currently, 1500 Records has exclusive recording contracts with God Lives Underwater and Ugly Duckling. The company expects that it will sign approximately six bands yearly from the Riffage.com site, in addition to other artists. Domestic distribution of CDs will be handled by RED Distribution, Inc., the leading independent music distributor in the United States.

1500 Records is currently producing the soundtrack for New Line Cinema’s upcoming film “15 Minutes,” starring Robert DeNiro. Gary Richards is also serving as music supervisor for the film.

“1500 Records is a logical extension of our online music business,” said Ken Wirt, founder and CEO of Riffage.com. “We are creating a very cost-effective music ecosystem in which new music is strategically marketed to the people who are already interested in it. The addition of 1500 Records means that we can offer Riffage.com artists opportunities not available to them anywhere else.”

“1500 Records and Riffage.com share a common vision of creating a new record industry paradigm that maintains the key marketing services used by the traditional labels, but leverages the powerful artist/fan interaction made possible by the Internet to deliver a more progressive and effective marketing campaign for the artist and a more cost-effective business for the label,” said Gary Richards, president of 1500 Records.

New Music Label Business Model

Artists signed to the Riffage.com/1500 Record label will be partners who split the net profits on album sales, as opposed to the 12-18 percent royalty offered by traditional record labels. 1500 Record artists will be provided with the services typically provided by traditional record labels, including advances and funding for recording, tour support, retail distribution, street marketing and promotions.

Through Riffage.com, 1500 Records will be able to provide more effective marketing and promotion, including direct marketing of new music releases and concert ticket sales to Riffage.com’s 300,000+ registered music fans, editorial placements, Web street teams, promotional downloads on the site and placement on Riffage.com’s sampler CDs. The company will also provide live and on-demand Webcast performances via the company’s Riffage Live streaming media division. Riffage.com’s recent acquisition of San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall can also provide a live concert venue for 1500 Records-signed artists.

Riffage.com/1500 Records Key Management

1500 Records’ current management are now employees of Riffage.com. Key management includes Gary Richards, president; Van Riker, general manager; and Lee Kurisu, marketing director.

1500 Records also has a 20-city street team in place, which will handle deejay/club promotion, event marketing and retail merchandising. It also plans to hire additional radio representatives, in addition to utilizing independent promotions companies, and expects to put an online street team in place.

Initial Artist Line-up Under the Riffage.com/1500 Records Label

God Lives Underwater

God Lives Underwater is getting set to release their third LP on 1500 Records this fall. Working with producer, Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson), the band has made a record that crafts an array of electronic loops, heavy guitar riffs and personal lyrics to make a strong collection of songs. God Lives Underwater’s last release recording was their version of Depeche Mode’s “Fly on the Windscreen,” on 1500 Record’s Depeche Mode tribute LP “For the Masses.” This tribute LP was the idea of God Lives Underwater band members Jeff Turzo and Jeff Reilly. “For the Masses” includes new versions of Depeche Mode songs by Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, the Deftones, Rammstein, Monster Magnet, Gus Gus and others.

Prior to their tribute LP, God Lives Underwater had a Top 15 modern rock hit with “From Your Mouth,” from their LP “Life in the So-Called Space Age.” This followed the radio success of two singles “No More Love” and “All Wrong” from their first LP “Empty.”

Ugly Duckling

Long Beach-based Ugly Duckling is at the forefront of the new wave of hip hop groups, such as Jurassic 5 and Black Eyed Peas, who are inspired by the old school style of hip hop, espoused by the likes of De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, The Pharcyde and Run DMC. Over the past year, the Long Beach trio has traveled the globe in support of their debut EP, “Fresh Mode,” touring with the likes of the Jungle Brothers, Del The Funkee Homosapien and the Long Beach Dub All Stars. “Journey to Anywhere,” the band’s forthcoming LP, is the next step in the evolution of the band, documenting Ugly Duckling’s own style which blends old-school underground hip hop and creative parody.

In March 2000, Ugly Duckling was also a featured band for Riffage.com’s “Riffage Live from the Great American Music Hall” TV show and Webcast. The TV show will air over the Burly Bear college cable TV network this fall. Ugly Duckling’s concert Webcast is currently available as on-demand programming at http://live.riffage.com.

About Riffage.com

Riffage.com is a leading online music destination, recognized industry-wide for its unique way of connecting artists and fans on the basis of personal musical taste. With state-of-the-art communications, live programming, community features and e-commerce, Riffage.com delivers a powerful forum for discovering both indie and popular music in a format that’s compelling, personalized and easy-to-use. The company’s Riffage Live division provides live and on-demand Webcast programming from major music events across the globe and co-produces an indie-artist TV showcase, broadcasted over the Burly Bear college TV network and online at http://live.riffage.com.

The division also manages Riffage.com’s venue, San Francisco’s legendary Great American Music Hall, which serves as its premier facility for hosting live concerts and Webcasts by indie and popular artists. Through its 1500 Records division, Riffage.com provides select artists with professional music label representation, utilizing an industry-breakthrough business model that combines traditional A&R services with powerful Internet-based research and marketing. Company investors include AOL, Bertelsmann Ventures, BMG Entertainment, Mayfield Fund and TransCosmos USA.

Riffage.com, based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a privately-owned company. More information is available at http://www.riffage.com/Company

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Original Date: 2000-07-10
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