- Oct. 23, 2008 -
With so-called major record labels offering less for their services and wanting more from artists, one would ask, “Why pursue signing with a major record label?” More and more these days inspiring independent labels are needing to have their own funding with no help from the label or distributor and if artists do get an offer from the majors, one might have to deal with the new and dreaded 360 deal offer where label are now wanting half of an artist concert earnings as well as their merchandizing, endorsement, sponsorships, and even if an artist gets a commercial, a movie deal, or they venture into fashion modeling; if an artist is sign to a 360 deal, all entertainment ventures must be shared with the label. Wow, that’s how the majority of most artists earn any kind of living in the music business! But wait! What if you were to take that same 360 mentality and apply it to the world of the hard working independent record label? What if you, the independent label, were to do your own marketing and promotion for your project, self distribute digitally, which by the way is how music is purchased these days, produce your own videos, organize your own live performances, get your own ring tone short code, put a team together to help out in on-line marketing, work with DJ’s and participate in DJ conferences and tastemakers, and just get out there and make your project, your label, and yourself known among potential fans, other artists, professional and independent. That has been the blueprint in how business is practiced for an independent label birthed out of Southern California for over six years now.
Independent record executive Michael Oronde Wright a.k.a. “Mista Bigshot” or “Bigshot” founded his company Bigshot Music Group, Inc.® in April of 2002. First hailing from Southern California’s Orange County in the city of Tustin, Bigshot constructed, organized, and financed the label to support a project that was being produced by a producer friend who calls himself Big Dre “The Decepticon.”
The project was centered on the company’s first signed artist, Playa Azian or P.A., and their first release entitled “Playa Azian The One”, a mimic of Jet Li’s movie entitled “The One.” “We studied what was hot at that time and we set out to beat it” explains Bigshot. “Our sound, our image, our shows; all had to compare to what the majors were doing and I took the necessary steps to make that happen. P.A., Decepticon, and I use to go to the local Tower Records and gaze through the Hip Hop section and check out the CD art work of the major players in the music business at that time and I would tell them that when we take photos for our album and have someone design our CD artwork, I want to be able to take our CD and sit it on the shelves next to the majors CD and burn them. That's just how we all use to think even back then. We really didn’t care for the majors because we felt we had just as much insight, talent, and hustle they had. The only thing a major could of offered us, and it is the same today, is money.”
Later that year of 2002, the trio’s hard work had paid off producing and creating the 17 tracked, no skits, CD entitled “Playa Azian The One.” The CD sounded and looked like hundreds of thousands of dollars had gone into the project. They immediately started campaigning to their considered target markets gaining fans and recognition performing live promoting their project all over Southern California and abroad such as the House Of Blues, The Grand, Hard Rock Café, The Knitting Factory, Club Las Palmas, Club Lingerie, the House of Blues in Las Vegas as well as performing at the Golden Nugget, Santa Ana’s Black History Parade, The Encanto Street Fair in San Diego, and countless other shows. They even met the owner of the late Los Angeles super hot spot, the Century Club, where P.A. had performed live 3 times. Not just anybody can perform at the Century Club.
After the buzz of Bigshot Music Group® initial release, the trio once again produced a second album entitled “Playa Azian Version 2.0” in 2004 to maintain the label’s ongoing success. 2004 was the start of the best years for Bigshot Music Group® and the company was consider the fastest growing and most successful independent label in Orange County. And if that was not enough, Bigshot started getting into the game of self-radio marketing and promotions. “I just thought our music was just as good, if not better, than what was being played on the radio. At the time, we had a chosen single entitled “Shake That” off of P.A.’s new album that we manufactured and I started shopping it to club DJ’s, Record Pools, and radio mixers. I use to spend about six hours a day on-line, after an 8 to 10 hour workday, going to the Urban radio station sites and find the email contact information for the Program Director, Music Director, and the Mixshow Coordinator and I would email them our single and ask for their station’s mixshow roster mailing list. I guess they had liked our single because most would reply back with the list. I did that for about a month and had the support of 32 markets nation wide and some internationally.”
Once a respected major record executive told Bigshot that his efforts as his own independent radio promoter that could had easily earned him about $50,000 if he was to be hired to do the same type of work for a client, Bigshot established a radio marketing and promotion division of Bigshot Music Group® called Next Wright Marketing & Promotions (N.W.M.P.). Since Bigshot was an all around self-promoter and had form professional alliances in the music business, not only N.W.M.P. was know for radio promotion, but also concert promotions, artist development, music production, on-line marketing, graphic art design, digital, physical, and ring tone distribution set-up. All of which Bigshot was doing independently anyways.
Today, Bigshot Music Group® continues to thrive off success. The company now does business in two locations, Southern California and Florida. Since its reign, Bigshot Music Group® has been responsible for music placed on Lingerie Bowl 2 and 3 (Pay-Per-View)
, Yo Momma (M.T.V.), Missy Elliot "Road To Stardom" (U.P.N.) Katt Williams "Pimp Chronicles 1" (H.B.O.) and is currently working radio promotions for successful upcoming artist such as Tone Blacq and his singles entitled “Mistakes”
and “That’s Wutz Up” featuring Snoop Dogg and Da-Ni and his single entitled “Workin’ Out “ featuring R. Kelly. Bigshot is also responsible for submitting artist like Chingy and Ray J for the Negro League Baseball Museum Compilation Benefit CD that also features T-Pain, Rick Ross, Mario, Kanye West, Macy Gray, Paul Wall, Rich Boy, Big Boi, and others for Stadium/Universal 2009 release. Also for 2009, Bigshot Music Group® will be teaming up with another successful independent music company out of Houston Texas, Street Heat Entertainment, and together will be releasing a digital distributed album entitled “Killa Broccoli” produced by DJ Kutz. Bigshot is currently promoting their first single entitled “Beat Steady Knockin” featuring Kool Rod and Mike Jones. The two companies will also be collaborating on video, documentary, and independent film production. N.W.M.P. will be focusing more on major concert promotions for major artist.
The moral of this story is not to really be viewed as a biography of a record company but as a guideline for the inspiring independent music companies. Bigshot Music Group® is its own 360 operation. The company is a full-serving entertainment organization that did not happen overnight, but over the years had gained the contacts and the respect of the downsizing major music business.
Michael Oronde Wright
Bigshot Music Group, Inc.®
Next Wright Marketing & Promotions (N.W.M.P)
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Next Wright Marketing & Promotions (N.W.M.P.) is an independent entertainment marketing and promotions division of Bigshot Music Group, Inc. that specializes in Radio Airplay, DJ Relations, Distribution, and Special Events.