Glassnote Entertainment Group by Logan Purdom

“I have never seen a time in history where the atmosphere and climate was so perfect for independent labels and intimate, small operations.” [1]

Background

In 2007, Daniel Glass saw an opportunity to create something different. Having worked for small, successful labels in the past that were bought out by corporately owned major labels, he founded Glassnote Entertainment Group.

When Daniel Glass started working as a disc jockey for Brooklyn College’s WBCR, he gained attention for genre-fusing playlists and an eclectic musical taste. This first foray into the music industry would be indicative of Glass’s diverse career.

Glass started as Vice President of SAM, then moved onto Chrysalis Records in 1989.  While there, he worked as Director of New Music Marketing  and was made Vice President. His next move would lead him to SBK Records as Senior Vice President of Promotion, and eventually Executive Vice President/ General Manager.

In 1996, Glass moved to Rising Tide Records as president. The label was then bought by Universal Music Group. After three years, Daniel Glass once again moved to a smaller label called Artemis Records as Vice President then eventually became President. (If you have ever wondered what label was responsible for the cultural phenomenon and triple-platinum song “Who Let the Dogs Out” by the Baha Men, it was Artemis Records.) [2]

Creation of Glassnote

At this point in his career, Daniel Glass was tired of hopping around different labels. He became frustrated by the pattern of every independent being bought out by a major label. This is when the creation of Glassnote Entertainment Group came about. Glass made a conscious decision to develop a company that incorporated a music label, publisher, and merchandiser all under one roof.

His wisdom and insight has helped guide the careers of artists such as Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Sinead O’Connor, Huey Lewis and the News, Selena, and  Erykah Badu. Now, Glass is using his thirty plus years of experience in the music industry by helping young, developing musicians grow into career artists.

Secondhand Serenade

How do you create something “new” and “exciting” after thirty years of the same formula? That was the question Daniel Glass faced when he started Glassnote in 2007. He chose to start by signing an artist by the name Secondhand Serenade. At the time, Secondhand Serenade was the number one unsigned artist on Myspace. He was grossing a staggering $20,000 a month in download sales. The signing displayed Glassnote’s ability to adapt to the changing tides in the music industry, and use social networking sites to find viable artists. [3]

One of the main lessons Daniel Glass learned in his long career was the importance of signing quality artists. Since its formation, Glassnote has worked towards the goal of making every album and artist successful. Unlike many major record labels that hope for a ten percent success rate, Glassnote strives for a “perfect batting average”. [1]

With that motto in mind, the label has chosen to work with a small group of artists that are determined and focused on establishing a lasting career in the industry. While most other labels choose to sign many bands hoping for success, Glassnote only released two new albums in 2008. The first was by Texas-based band Blowing Trees. The second album, Holly, was singer-songwriter Justin Nozuka’s debut release. Named after his mother, Nozuka’s debut album was written when he was only nineteen years old. [4]

Glassnote continued its strategy of choosing quality, over quantity in 2009. The label only released five albums, and four of those were from newly signed artists.

Phoenix

One of the acts signed was French band Phoenix. After ten years of moderate success in Europe, Phoenix represented the opposite of an unestablished act like Secondhand Serenade. The band had slowly formed a following while touring Europe and the United States, but their massive success would come when they released their fourth album and first release on Glassnote, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.

With blogs such as the Hype Machine and Pitchfork becoming many people’s source for new music, Phoenix gained tremendous attention when they released their single “1901” as a free download. In a matter of weeks, the band was on the radar of millions of listeners. When Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was finally released on May 25th, 2009, it was met with glowing reviews. However, most of America was still unaware of this French band.

The ignorance soon vanished when Phoenix performed on the nationally televised program Saturday Night Live. Bringing their energetic live show and infectious melodies into the homes of millions of Americans, Phoenix finally gained the attention the band had been working towards. Later in 2010 , Phoenix won a Grammy for “Best Alternative Album” and headlined a show at the legendary Madison Square Garden. [5]

Mumford & Sons

Another band that gained massive attention in 2010 was Mumford & Sons. This folk-rock band from England released their debut album, Sigh No More, in the fall of 2009. Mumford & Sons’ reputation for their passionate performances and earnest charisma proceeded this much anticipated release. The hype from music blogs such as NME was much deserved. Word spread throughout England and eventually the United States about this creative foursome.Mumford & Sons received two Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Rock Song. Much like Phoenix, the band’s televised performance at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards helped introduce Mumford & Sons to an even larger audience then before. The next week, their debut album increased 205% in sales from the previous week. [6]  The album just recently went platinum in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. [7]

Development

With the massive success of its artists, Glassnote continues to expand and grow. The label’s current roster has a total of nine solid acts. Many of these acts are new, developing artists that are quickly gaining a loyal fan base. After years of working with accomplished artists, Daniel Glass understands the importance of development. He believes that an artist’s career is established after several albums and years of work, as opposed to the popular theory of quick hits and fast success. [8]

Collaboration

Glassnote’s strategy for this success is “inclusion, rather than exclusion.”  Daniel Glass believes that it is essential for everyone in an artist’s career to be included in the process. He wants to make sure that the manager, publisher, and anyone else involved is on the same page, and that they are working towards the same goal.

This motto is even carried out all the way to the layout of Glassnote’s office. The label’s central workstation in New York City is opened up as one large room. This layout provides the feeling of inclusion. Everyone has a feeling of equality and importance. Glass says that he finds as much excitement out of a “hit teammate” as he does from a hit single. As employees and artists are encouraged to collaborate, the quality of work increases. [1]

Licensing

Ten years ago, artists made videos to be played on MTV and other music channels. Now the Internet has won the championship title as the most important place to find videos. With that understanding, Glassnote has found other outlets to promote their artists. Bands like Phoenix and Australian band The Temper Trap have been featured prominently in television advertisements for brands like Cadillac, Chrysler, Diet Coke, and Blackberry. In the past, artists have viewed licensing of their music as “selling-out”, but feelings have changed. Now, many independent artists are making a living and growing their fan base through licensing.   [9]

Glassnote artists are not just using the small screen to reach out to new fans. Phoenix saw success early in their career with their music featured in the Oscar-winning movie Lost In Translation. They would again work with director Sofia Coppola in 2010 for the film Somewhere. Adapting the Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix track “Love Like A Sunset” for the entire score, Phoenix created a new minimal piece of music that sets the tone for the entire film. [10]

The Future

Glassnote is a young company. Operated by a seasoned veteran of the music industry, the label possess’ more knowledge and insight than most other young independent labels combined. With only four years of operation and fourteen albums released, the future of Glassnote is extremely promising. Daniel Glass’s extensive experience does not stop him from being afraid of change. In 2010, Phoenix was bold enough to release the multi-track files from Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix for free! Some artists have released songs or maybe whole albums free of charge, but releasing every individual instrument track is rare. Thomas Mars, lead singer of Phoenix, proclaimed in an interview, “We like this romantic idea of giving everything away without anything in return.” [11]

It is obvious to state that the music industry is changing. Success is still achievable in a business where the main product is virtually free to anyone; however, the road to success is uncharted. Glassnote understands this. Everyday, the label is working harder to develop their artists and create quality business ideas. Working with RED distribution, Glassnote’s small catalog of releases is being distributed to a large audience. The roster of artists is as diverse and eclectic as that first playlist that Daniel Glass aired on WBCR. He started his career introducing people to new music, and he continues to do that everyday. With such a determined person at the helm of the ship, it is not hard to understand why Glassnote is one of the most successful independent labels around today.

by Logan Purdom


Glassnote Artists’ Sites

Secondhand Seranade
Justin Nozuka
Phoenix
The Temper Trap
Mumford & Sons
Kele
Two Door Cinema
Royal Bangs
Givers

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