GROUNDBREAKING INDIE LABEL INDEPENDENT EAR RECORDS CELEBRATES ITS 4TH ANNIVERSARY
Currently celebrating its 4th Anniversary as a truly independent entertainment company and its 1st as an incorporated entity, Rockford, IL based Independent Ear Records, driven by the passion and fresh vision of Founder, President and CEO Ryan Block, is dedicated to promoting the music of artists and bands in a multitude of genres from around the world. Joining forces with Symphonic Distribution for digital distribution worldwide, the company’s success and growth to this point is due to Block’s unique, multi-faceted approach to establishing and developing artists – and his desire to work with the labels bands and solo artists on many facets of their career to turn their dreams into viable, thriving careers.
Independent Ear launched with the idea to work with artists from the beginning to the end of a project – from producing, recording and distributing to booking gigs, radio exposure and hooking them up with PR services for maximum media exposure. The focus now is less on the front end and more on helping them take their careers to the next level. While they’re not a management organization per se, Independent Ear has a strong management component in their work with signed artists. The label is fully committed to getting their artists engaged in their own futures.
“Every artist and label has access to the same digital distribution networks,” Block says. “What sets us apart is not simply the many services we provide but the deeper processes we go through with those we sign. We take a hands on approach to our artists, helping them plan their future and working on every last detail along with the larger vision. It’s not just about the music they’re making today but also where they see themselves in the coming years. When we sign artists, we ask them what they expect from us as a label and ask them how they would like to see things unfold over the next 24 months, with that two year timeline broken into 3 month interval quarters. They shouldn’t expect us to do all the work for them. In fact, once they’re with us, we expect them to work harder than ever before.”
Independent Ear’s core values were inspired by the experiences Block had during his teen years playing in punk bands on the dynamic music scene happening then in his hometown of Rockford. The first is Cooperation. In addition to helping chart the course for solo artists and bands to get to the next level in their careers, the label encourages their signed acts to help facilitate new opportunities for their label mates. Other key factors in charting Independent Ear Records’ course for growth in the future is Motivation and Innovation – two qualities Block demands in both his staff members and the artists and bands signed to the label. “We look to create environments both corporately and with our live performances that pushes individuals to create art without excuses. We want our fans to always feel appreciated, and rewarded for their loyalty.” Also important to the Independent Ear aesthetic is fostering a true sense of Community. The company’s foundational philosophy and branding concept is: “We are independent but not alone.”
Like many people who delay finding their true professional niche, Block had set aside his early musical ambitions to go the “straight road” for a number of years. At one point during his five year stint as a successful financial advisor, a partner in his firm who was also a talented musician shared his music with Block. Inspired, Block expressed a desire to become part of what his friend was doing – an involvement which rekindled his goal to become part of the music industry. When he left his comfortable position to launch Independent Ear Records a short time later, he says, “I had no idea what it would be like, but I knew that I was passionate about helping artists achieve their goals. There are so many amazing artists and bands who don’t get the recognition they deserve or guidance they need, and I saw an opportunity to serve this need. I drew on the strengths I had developed in the financial industry, cultivating relationships and growing grass roots organizations, to start helping artists. The growth of Independent Ear Records has been a wonderful surprise for me, but it’s also the result of hard work by many people on many different levels.”
Written by Jonathan Widran (http://few522.wix.com/jonathan-widran-writing)