episode 17: John Franck – SVP of marketing at Razor and Tie Records

Founded in 1990, New York-based Razor & Tie Records is one of the fastest growing independent entertainment companies in the United States. John Franck, senior vice president of marketing, believes that rock is truly here to stay and has the statistics to prove it. While the majors have been shying away from signing hard rock acts, the innovative Razor & Tie has taken the opposite tact and doubled down on them.

Listen to this one-on-one interview as Franck discusses signing acts like the Grammy-nominated metalcore band Hatebreed, his marketing strategies in the digital era, how Razor & Tie got it’s unique name, and where the label is heading in 2013. Hear this and more, exclusively on Between the Liner Notes.

episode 16: George Gilbert part 2 – How the Deals Go Down

Stepping away from radio promotion to attend law school, George Gilbert began a record label with the intent of licensing out-of-print R&B titles from Atlantic Records. When financing fell through, George began working on the musical reunion of Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman that would eventually result in the release of the multi-platinum ‘Bat Out of Hell 2′.

Listen to part two of Gilbert’s interview as he explains how he convinced label executives that despite having four consecutive flops, Meat Loaf was still as popular as ever. He also tells of how the key man clause in Whitney Houston’s contract lead to the creation of J Records; why musicians are often afraid to audit their record labels; and how the upcoming battle over copyright termination rights is going to be one fierce fight. Hear this and more, exclusively on Between the Liner Notes.

Correction: The copyright act referred to in this interview went into effect in 1978 not 1979. Also, Meat Loaf was signed to Cleveland International not Philadelphia International.

episode 15: George Gilbert – From Record Store Clerk to Regional Radio Promoter

Syracuse University’s WAER-FM, with a history of on-air personalities including the young Lou Reed and sportscaster Bob Costas, was one of the few college radio stations in the country reporting their playlists to Billboard Magazine in the early seventies. As such, music director George Gilbert became a key target of promotions departments at every record label, big and small. After graduation, George used his network of industry contacts to procure the newly-created position of Radio Promoter of Southern New England at Elektra/Asylum Records.

Listen to part one of George Gilbert’s two part interview as he discusses the advent of the AOR format, learning to use leverage to convince disc jockeys to play albums, and rising to become one of the top radio promoters in the Northeast. Exclusively on Between the Liner Notes.

episode 14: Jerry Rubino - Record Promoter & Radio Programmer

Jerry Rubino is a radio man who has seen the broadcast industry from every angle. Landing his first job on commercial radio at New York’s WPLJ, then moving to producing/hosting shows for Z-100 & WLIR (two of the largest rock stations in the nation’s largest radio market), he then went to Bar/None Records where he learned the promotion side. Moving to indie giants Rough Trade, Chrysalis, and Radioactive Records, Rubino experienced the alt-rock explosion from the inside, seeing how the industry reacted.

Listen to this exclusive interview as Jerry tells about hanging out with the Ramones, promoting Live’s first album, getting in on the ground floor of satellite radio, and the state of radio today. Only on Between the Liner Notes.

episode 13: The Founders of Rap Genius

Tom Lehman (left) Mahbod Moghadam (center) Ilan Zechory (right)

Tom Lehman (left) Mahbod Moghadam (center)
Ilan Zechory (right)

One October night in 2009 Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman, & Ilan Zechory found themselves deep in an analytical discussion about some verses by rapper Cam’ron. That night they brainstormed an idea to widen the conversation beyond the living room to the internet and created RapGenius.com, a unique website that allows users to annotate specific lines of lyrics with explanations, graphics and videos. 

Filling the void left by the swarm of inferior, pop-up ad-riddled lyric sites and creating a new model, Rap Genius surged in popularity and soon caught the eye of superangel venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, investors of Twitter. Discover how Rap Genius plans to use their fifteen million dollar underwriting to grow the company beyond rap lyrics to include other genres and disciplines such as art, poetry, law, religious studies, and politics —  turning Rap Genius into the world’s primary repository for information and the net’s most heavily trafficked website. They’ve got 99 problems but lack of ambition ain’t one. Listen to the exclusive interview, only on Between the Liner Notes.