Six Shooter Records

Six Shooter Records
Headquarters: Toronto, ON
Date of Birth: 2000
Number of Releases: 17
Best Seller: Luke Doucet, Aloha, Manitoba (2001)
upcoming releases: Luke Doucet Broken (and Other Rogue States); Elliott Brood, Ambassador

Artist manager Shauna de Cartier founded Six Shooter Records in 2000. Since, she's helped musicians like Luke Doucet, Martin Tielli and NQ Arbuckle find a home for their music. There was no gun-toting outlaw in de Cartier's family closet — the label name came from a brainstorming session. De Cartier describes Six Shooter as an "art-based label" driven by a long-term strategy. The label's motto is "Life is too short to listen to shitty music."

Art for Art's Sake
de Cartier: I started out as an artist manager (and still am). Six Shooter was founded on respect for art and the artist. As is the case with most independent labels, Six Shooter artists have full artistic control of their records. I feel our role is to support the creation of that art, not to shape it. The label is art-based as opposed to commerce-based. It's unlikely that you'll hear any of our records on the radio because the kind of music we are creating is not nearly mainstream enough for that. This is not to say that we don't have solid financial goals — lots of artists are successful without the help of radio and video.

A Sense of Community
I am interested in fostering the idea of the label as a community. I absolutely adore all the people who have become associated with Six Shooter. Alongside our roster of phenomenal artists, we are also lucky to be surrounded by a collection of wonderful and charismatic volunteers and supporters. This is a tough business. We work hard not only to propel our artists' careers forward, but also to create an environment that is supportive and positive.

Here For A Good Time and A Long Time
Ours is a long-term strategy. Staying true to an artistic vision and integrity and not submitting to the temptation of going for the fast buck requires a certain amount of vigilance. It's a slow build, but over time this approach can earn one a reputation for quality and there is a lot of value in building that kind of reputation. I think our identity is very distinct, or at least it's becoming distinct. We take our art seriously, but try not to take ourselves too seriously. Our logo was created by Calgary's Ty Semaka (of the Plaid Tongued Devils) and I stole our slogan from my friend Bobbi Beeson. We try to inject a sense of fun and humour into everything we do.

Words or Music
I am very particular about lyrics. It's important for me that the albums that I release are strong lyrically. I really appreciate artists that can play their instruments. I tend to work with people that are accomplished in that regard. Also, I'm very interested in working with artists that are "artists" — there is really nothing else that they can be but artists. Not hobbyists.

Over There, Over There…
We just started releasing our records in Europe and are launching in the U.S. next January. Canada is such a tiny market, and for most artists it's not a sustainable one. You have to expand your audience base if you want to make even a modest living, so breaking into other countries is essential. In addition to international expansion, we are also vastly interested in exploiting the internet. We've had an e-commerce component on our site for ages, and are just about to launch digital downloads from our site as well. Plus, our catalogue is available on all the major download sites in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

Current Challenges
I think right now the record industry itself is challenged in the face of downloading. I don't think that people will ever pay for music the way they used to. Right now we are definitely in a transition between the hard copy of the CD and the digital download. That's certainly affecting the independents because the ones that are selling CDs now are the majors like Green Day or Norah Jones. I think the mid-level and low-level artists are selling less because people can now seek out that kind of music on the internet and often get it for free, share files, and that type of thing. It's just really tough right now for labels to stay afloat.