Jul 15, 2013
Label Spotlight – Social Family Records
What’s in a name. Why is your label called what you’re called?
Before deciding on the name ‘Social Family Records’ we spent a lot of time discussing what a label should look like in the current climate and where we see the music industry going.
SFR is very focused on a long haul approach by building and nurturing deep connections between our artists and their fans. Both digital and social are very much at the core of our approach to marketing, and I believe we're really starting to figure out how to translate all the online success into real-world.
Incorporating the word social into our name was a no brainer, and of course we’re in the business of marketing great records. And family represents the 15 strong team in this chaotic North Sydney office. There is no hierarchy here, we’re all one big modern (and often dysfunctional) family. A family mostly made up of nerds. Some hipsters. And our Label Manager, Jen, is a massive Delta Goodrem fan girl, but we don’t judge her...
A day in the life. What happens in a typical day in the life of your label?
Chocolate. Google analytics. Coffee. Boozing with retailers. Shmoozing with media. Facebook insights. Soy crisps. Red frogs. Green frogs. Embarrassing Jen.
What release/releases are you most proud of being involved in and why?
Most recently we enjoyed success with the Baby Animals third studio album, This Is Not the End. It debuted at #19 on the ARIA Album Chart, #3 on the ARIA Australian Album Chart and #2 on the AIR Album Chart. This was the first LP released by SFR and was a true test of our newly assembled team’s capabilities, and they nailed it. I’d never seen a team so focused and united on a project. It was a magnificent rollout with a limited budget, and one we’re all very proud of. High fives all round.
A key piece of the puzzle was a direct-to-fan pre order campaign via our custom-built platform. We had exclusive merchandise and real-world experiences bundled with albums. The band and their legions of die-hard supporters made it a huge success. They sold like hotcakes.
Ian Wallace at ARIA was particularly supportive in getting the platform accredited for chart inclusion. And now we are able to offer this to our growing roster, which substantially increases both the artist royalty and label income. As an indie record label, this is a big point of difference for us.
What album do you wish you had released and why? Or which artists do you wish were part of your roster?
We suffer from artist envy all the time.
There are so many albums and artists I wish we had been part of. I love watching a great album roll out with great marketing. The latest Daft Punk record is a perfect example. JT's new record was done really well. But there are smaller indie bands who get marketing and social, Set Sail being a great example locally.
I’m also a huge fan of Amanda Palmer and Alex Day. These artists are really breaking new ground in their own unique and individual ways – it's great to watch. The relationship they have established with their fans is a testament to what's possible. Community is queen.
What’s the best performance you’ve ever seen live?
This is incredibly biased, but what the hell…
I still get a shiver down my spine every time I see Electric Empire play live. You have four seasoned musicians here, who each have something really special in a live setting. Australia has been a little slow on the take-up, but music lovers in Japan, Europe and in the UK have adopted the band with open arms. We have sold over 50,000 albums in these territories, most of which have been exports. They’ve played some great international festivals, such as Glastonbury, and major supports for artists like Aloe Black, and Mayer Hawthorne and Brand New Heavies. This is a bucket list band you have to see live! EE’s new album will be released by SFR early next year.
What do you see as the toughest problem facing record labels in the future? (And what would be your solution?)
Dare I say it… the recorded music sector of the industry is historically reactive and generally short sighted. Sad but true. There are many problems staring record labels in the face, but we seem to get too caught up on the piracy debate, streaming revenues and commercial airplay. These are of course real issues that deserve attention, but there are even more important issues in play. One of the biggest being artist development, and the lack of investment by labels in the early stages. It's now more about talent acquisition over artistic development. But this can also be a big advantage for the indies!
What’s next for your label?
We have just signed some incredible Australian artists, and are continuing to invest in our platform and our people, as we continue to grow. It’s a pretty exciting time really!
Steve Balbi (Noiseworks/Electric Hippies/Rose Tattoo) has joined the SFR family, and will release his debut album later this year. It’s a remarkable body of work and we're really looking forward to this release.
Recently we signed Adil Memon from last year’s The X Factor. He is about to drop his second single Official, co-penned by British artist, Newton Faulkner. Adil is a truly talented artist, musician and songwriter in his own right. He's really raised the bar with this single so we look forward to seeing where it takes him.
And somewhere between the soy crisps and red frogs, we will be announcing a couple of exciting new signings shortly. But for now my Mac is running out of battery. Thanks for having us AIR :)