How does one disrupt the premise of the ‘record label’ system, when the system has been entrenched since the 1930’s? Well. In 2007, partners Josh Deutsch, Peter Rojas, and creative director Elliot Aronow developed a new vision to overtake a usurious system. RCRD LBL was developed to deliver free daily curated music on its website, through its content partners, and directly to you, on the RCRD of the Day daily email newsletter. Third Mind was brought into the mix as an early collaborative partner to get the digital ball rolling.
The Wall Street Journal asked the question and RCRD LBL sought an answer by focusing on the artist first. Find the emerging talent, curate and share the talent, let the talent shine. Carefully handpicked and art directed content, routed through in-house curator / bloggers, led the charge by releasing 1000’s of free tracks and rarities from their artist partners. Millions of free downloads and plays became the building blocks for their passionate following and their shades of big data assessment and parsing to come.
“Music” is a word encompassing entire universes and ecosystems of subcultures. In partnering, we advocated a methodical approach: let’s build on an initially segmented foundation while keeping our focus narrow. We can expand and further segment after we build our dedicated audience. An audacious plan was born: Can we segment ALL of RCRD LBL’s artists into 3 genres? We were ready to try. Let’s start with Rock, Hip-Hip, and Dance as the segment markers.
If we were going to pull off this segmentation business, we were going to need cool branding…
Though Third Mind does not define themselves as a branding agency, we have been around the design-with-a-capital-D block a time or two. We were also helping a client running in startup mode. Could we help? We were willing to give it a try and a range of studies emerged:
Digital storyboarding, team discussions, A-B testing and collaborative exercises led us to the final selections:
With segmentation, design, and strategy in place, it was time to build outreach tools to evangelize the message. The teams focused on three technical segments: Daily Newsletter development, App development, Rich-media advertising campaign development to get the word out.
It’s tough to start a business in 2007 when the D.C. suits were scheming to collapse the economy behind the scenes. Unfortunately, the brilliance of RCRD LBL succumbed to the Great Recession. Was it a good idea and a valiant effort? You better believe it – just boot up your wireless headphones and think about billion dollar babies like Spotify which began its 13 successful funding rounds in 2009 with a surprisingly similar business model…
Hat’s off to the visionaries; sometimes it doesn’t pay to be first in the market. It’s always hip to be the coolest in the market. Thanks RCRD LBL!