Published Feb 01, 2005Dave Ullrich is best known for being one half of accomplished Halifax-via-Kingston duo the Inbreds. This veteran of the music biz has recently launched the online label Zunior.com, which is a labour of love designed to treat both artists and fans with respect. Zunior's ever-expanding roster includes albums by Inbreds mate Mike O'Neill, the Scribbled Out Man and former Local Rabbit Ben Gunning.
How does Zunior.com work?
My business model combines my love of music with my understanding of technology and my love of fairness. I have always wanted to find a way for regular musicians to make money off the music they make. Zunior would be best described currently as not-for-profit but the key is that bands will always make 85 percent of the sale of a record. For now, I'm primarily doing to this to prove it can be done and demonstrate a new type of music business model that can (and will) exist outside of the structure of the old music business. It's tough to describe it because it's never been done before, but the key element is in the new paradigm bands will and I repeat will make money from album sales.
Can online distro really affect the music biz?
A level playing field means that some new artist out there right now is working on a new type of music that will be the Nirvana of the digital age. They will choose to record their music on their own, and release it on their own. They will not use record labels, press people, lawyers, or managers. They will have a distribution system that can handle the worldwide volume of millions of sales. Word will spread around the world using the internet, radio, and perhaps video. The artist will sell millions of digital copies and make almost millions of dollars right from the first album sold. The catch here is that artists don't usually make money from record sales and the digital age will have an artist making 80 to 90 percent of the sale price of every album, not recoupable less 10 percent (which equals zero dollars) in the old days. Only then will the record biz really get the power of digital distro that is that little guys can steal their lunch and play fair.
Why do bands tend to get screwed by traditional labels?
The record deals that new bands are signing are just as one-sided as they ever were, if not much worse. Whether your band goes huge, or goes less-than-huge, losing the rights to your master is something that will bug you for years to come. Now if there was a way to keep your master, build your profile gradually, and have international distribution that would be great. This is what you can do with Zunior.
What kind of artists do you want to work with?
We'd like to work with smart, motivated independent artists that have great music. New artists that are building their career will like Zunior because it is a great way to get their music out to the world without having to tie up thousands of dollars pressing CDs. Established artists that have been around the block with the industry will like Zunior because it is a way to efficiently record and distribute music with very little hassle and overhead. For
these artists, recording and releasing music will become a seamless and painless part of their life and they'll actually make money doing it.
Vish Khanna is a member of the Neutron Stars, whose album is available at zunior.com.