© 2016 GARY GREEN PRODUCTIONS
Gary Green>Productions*

/record label

To create a new concept in a record label - especially in the era when record labels are dying- Gary Green begin with the deep traditional Memphis Tennessee roots of rock & roll by buying and  merging with the 37-year-old Cotton Row Recording  studio and partnering with its founder, the legendary Niko Lyras. Among the historical roster of Cotton Row are B.B. King, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins, and Tony Joe White, along with gospel greats like Edwin Hawkins, The Clark Sisters, and Dottie Peoples, as well as contemporary stars including P. Diddy, Lil Jon, Krayzy Bone, Raekwon, Saliva, Victor Wooten, and Kirk Whalum. Many newer artist got their first professional studio experience at Cotton Row – like Oscar winners Three Six Mafia, and soul diva/A- list background singer Wendy Moten. LEGENDARY PRODUCER NIKO LYRAS Gary Green Productions has been extremely fortunate in retaining Cotton Row Founder, the legendary musician and producer Niko Lyras to head our record label division. Niko Lyras left his home in Athens, Greece at 19, telling his parents it was to go to college, but he was really seeking the Memphis groove. He did earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (in Economics!), and he also got a PhD in Memphis Gigging– rock, jazz, R&B, what do you need? As his musicianship grew he knew that he wanted to become an engineer and producer as well. He learned the basics freelancing at several local studios, then opened Cotton Row in 1980. Over the decades Niko has become a central figure in the Memphis music industry as a producer, engineer, guitarist, songwriter, publisher, as well as studio owner. He’s played sessions at virtually every studio in town, and has been involved, as a musician, producer, or songwriter, with a number of gold and platinum records, including Wendy Moten’s #5 Billboard hit “Come In Out Of The Rain,” which he co-wrote and coproduced. Niko’s work has been highly recognized, with the Broadcast Film Critics Best Song of 2005, a Canadian Juno, two Canadian Felix awards for engineer of the year, three NARAS Premier Player honors, a Stellar Award, four Addy’s, and several Grammy nominations. In addition to his Cotton Row work, Niko has led a number of high profile bands in the Mid-South including the acclaimed jazz-funk unit Voodoo Village (with 2 high charting CD’s) and the current Party Planet. He runs three music publishing companies, and remains active as a session musician. In his newest role, Niko heads Tenare records and the entire recording division of Gary Green Productions.

> our vision:he 21st century version of Sun®, Stax®, Chess®, and even Atlantic®

Artist Development. With the corporate mentality running the “major” labels and accountants (rather than industry veterans) driving mergers and conglomerate-building, many of the old concepts of a “record label” have disappeared. Most notable among those lost qualities is the “artist development” department. That long lost department is a key to our model. Even at the beginning of industry corporate takeovers, and up until the late 1980’s, most record labels had an Artist Development department to support their acts' creative side and develop a following for those artists. In those days, the business model included the expectation that first releases would not sell great but sales would increase with each subsequent release; in short, the label stood by their acts in a developmental process. Part of that philosophy was that the more the music was heard, the more popular the act would become, and the more records would be sold. Consequently, it was the “job” of the label to develop the following for the artists; to make their acts famous. In those days the artist was everything; if the talent was there, then the label would sign them. By the early 1990’s most labels had changed the name of their Artist Development departments to Product Development. This was more than a name change; it was a philosophical change for the industry. The labels’ emphasis changed from nurturing the growth of an artist and their music to purely bulk sales strategies. The focus was all in the name: “Product” rather than “Artist”. By the 21st century, even that “product development” focus had disappeared and had become simply a function of the sales & marketing department. Immediate sales became the single most-driving force in signing an artist. In that business-model, this became even more important as mechanicals (records, CD’s etc.) be-gan to be replaced by digital (downloads, streaming, etc.). In order for an artist to be signed to and continue with a label, the sales of even the first release needed to be a financial success in the 21st century paradigm. The term “artist development” took on an entirely new meaning in a new lexicon coming to mean creating a PRODUCT tailored in advance to a specific market niche for near-guaranteed sales. It had nothing to do with talent, the artist, the song; it is only about the product. With such technical innovations as Antares Audio Technologies’ “Auto-Tune” and even Avid’s “Pro Tools”, a label could take a performer with minimal (or no) talent and literally develop product for a specific pop consciousness. Lyrics, mu-sic, vocals, all became a function of packaged “tracks” and “beats”. In that sense of “artist development”, it is highly significant that major labels have found a way (as John Seabrook explains in “The Song Machine”) to “orchestrate demand for artists such as Katy Perry and Rihanna” using a technique that Sea-brook has named “track and hook”.  This literally machine- produced pop music has replaced the melody-and-lyrics pop songwriting technique. In the pop world, according to Seabrook, instead of lyricists and a guitar or piano player struggling with a new song, producers create a batch of tracks all at one time and then email the MP3s to different parts of the assembly line for melody, hooks, and bridges. Since beats and tracks are not protected under copyright laws, the creation of songs for specific markets is legally easy. For example, in 2009 Beyoncé’s number five Billboard-charted hit, “Halo”, and Kelly Clarkson’s number 13, “Already Gone” ―in vastly different genres― were literally created on the same computer by the same programmers at the same time (and sound so much alike). It is why, for example, in the world of hip-hop hits, the producers are often as famous as the artists; Dr. Dre is bigger than his rappers because he creates the sound ―not the performers. It is why Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”, and Kesha’’s “Tik Tok” are basically the same songs except for the eccentricities of the melody lines. It is why the most number one songs ever writ-ten come from a Swedish studio called Cheiron and a computer-based producer named Martin Karl Sandberg; as of February 2015, he had a total of 54 songs reach the top ten charts, placing him above Madonna's 38, Elvis Presley's 36 and the Beatles' 34. The major labels’ takeover of the “creative” process to develop songs for specific markets (without regard for who the artist is and even whether or not the artist has talent) has radically altered the revenue distribution for artists and the entire business model of the recording industry. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reports that for every $1,000 in revenue, the average artist gets only $23.40 ― a little more than 2% of sales, despite a typical 14% royalty deal. Again, from a pure business standpoint, on a typical record deal: the label will spend approximately $625,000 in manu-facturing costs; approximately $2-million on promotion (with half of that ($1- million) charged back to the artist against royalties. (Production costs are also charged back to the artist in most cases.) The bottom-line profit benchmark for a typical release is $5,995,000. If the re-lease does not make that net profit (after production, promotion, royalties, ex-penses, and advances to the artist), then the artist is dropped. If projections for the initial release don’t meet that near-$6-million figure, the artist is never signed. In other words, in order to be signed and maintained by a major record label, a release must sell $10-million with a 60% margin. Short of that “product perfor-mance”, an artist is not going to be on a major label. In fact, the decision to sign the artist in the first place is NOT a creative decision at all ― it is a decision based on a spreadsheet analysis of that benchmark required profit (again, a minimum of almost $6-million).
>Enter the “indie Label” era Beginning as early as the 1940’s and continuing until the 1990’s, Independent Record Labels were smaller versions of the “majors” with (much) smaller bank accounts. Based on the economy-of-scale model, these labels were clones of the big labels without the funding matching the major record la-bels. These labels spent much less money on production and promotion and spent much more focus on multiple revenue streams tied to artist development. Independent labels were, at that time, simply miniature versions of major labels. The one large difference, other than budget, was that a "major" record label usu-ally owned its own distribution channel; but even that has changed in the 21st century mixture of conglomerates, digital alternatives, and manufacture-to-order. By the 21st century’s change of the major-label business models combined with the overtaking of mechanical sales to digital distribution (that often resulted in no revenue), the term “independent label” had taken an entirely different definition. Rather than simply a more artist-focused less-funded label, the “new” independ-ent (“indie”) labels were a new version of what the industry used to call “vanity records.” A vanity record was a record that was paid for by the artist; often an artist unable to get a deal from either a major or even an independent label. On rare occasion ―less than 1% of the instances― an artist could convince a distributor to carry the recording; but those deals were very rare because they lacked the promotional budgets even of an independent label. Many of the independent artist labels could spend less than $15,000. The cheap access to burn- your-own-CD technology, over-the-counter versions of Auto-Tune and Pro Tools, and web delivery of MP3s, has taken vanity produc-tion to new levels. Almost anyone with a smartphone or an iPad’s GarageBand app can now be an “indie record label”. The downside of that democratization of indie label production is that of the 13-million songs released last year, only 52,000 made up 80% of the industry’s rev-enue; that is four-tenths-of-one-percent ─.004%). Moreover, 77% of revenue in the music business is generated by 1% of the artists offering “product”. Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse projects that the future of the industry is only generating “mega-hits”; a thesis supported by the above- cited budgeting decisions of the modern industry. Her studies indicate that “indie” la-bels are essentially valueless in the big picture of label revenue and that Warner Brothers, Marvel Entertainment, the NFL―along with such stars as Jay-Z, Lady Gaga, and LeBron James are all part of the same product- production machine; and recognizing that is essential to understanding how the entertainment industry really works. The new indie labels of the 21st century became either single-artist vanity labels or multiple artist distribution schemes, attempting to find alternatives to distributor channels; primarily relaying on concert-sales and digital distribution. The multi-ple-artist versions often work distribution deals with the majors and rely on inter-national licensing deals and distribution agreements while the lion’s share of revenue again goes to the distribution arm of the majors. The Association of Independent Music defines a “major” as “a multinational company which (together with the companies in its group) has more than 5% of the world market(s) for the sale of records and/or music videos”. They go on to say, “If a major owns 50% or more of the total shares in your company, you would (usually) be owned or controlled by that major." This definition makes the so-called “boutique” independents (created to appease established, powerful art-ists and to give them latitude in discovering and promoting new talent) part of the world of majors and not true independents. The one-artist indies (and many of the smaller multiple artist indies) lack the wherewithal, structure, and resources to be part of RIAA or The Recording Academy. That immediately blocks them from audited sales for gold or platinum status and prohibits them from a Grammy. That version of indie labels also gen-erally lacks the out-of-the-box marketing expertise that is often coveted by the majors but only rarely obtained without multi-million-dollar budgets. Both of those shortfalls are marketing plays. Therefore, it is not our assertion that indie labels CAN not do these things; but rather that most DO not. Moreover, in contrast to majors, it is not our assertion that computer-generated music and corrections (Auto Tune) are not skills that require talent; however, they ARE something DIFFERENT from the centuries old tradition of music mak-ing and record promotion. It is in a fusion of the old models and the new that we conceptualized our model for this vertical of our overall Company. Our new label is certainly not a “major” (especially by the AIM definition); but we also are not an “indie” in the vanity sense or in the near-obscure under-marketed sense. We are, rather, a different kind of label from either major or indie. We take a synthesis of the best of all worlds and add a new flavoring to it. We take the old artist development intensity of the 1950’s and 1960’s independents, combine that with the marketing intensity of the majors, and a new-business take on the digital age and create a marketing-centric business model. Focusing on “bottom up” distribution to create channel demand and taking con-trol of the entire “big picture” artist development scenario (including recording, publishing, licensing, presentation, touring, positioning, social media, and scores of other disciplines) ―we are neither indie or major in 21st century parlance. We are, in fact, a new old-style label. Our vision is that we are the 21st century version of Sun, Stax, Chess, and even Atlantic.
© 2016 Gary Green Productions
record label*

/record label

To create a new concept in a record label - especially in the era when record labels are dying- Gary Green begin with the deep traditional Memphis Tennessee roots of rock & roll by buying and  merging with the 37-year-old Cotton Row Recording  studio and partnering with its founder, the legendary Niko Lyras. Among the historical roster of Cotton Row are B.B. King, Mavis Staples, Albert Collins, and Tony Joe White, along with gospel greats like Edwin Hawkins, The Clark Sisters, and Dottie Peoples, as well as contemporary stars including P. Diddy, Lil Jon, Krayzy Bone, Raekwon, Saliva, Victor Wooten, and Kirk Whalum. Many newer artist got their first professional studio experience at Cotton Row – like Oscar winners Three Six Mafia, and soul diva/A-list background singer Wendy Moten. LEGENDARY PRODUCER NIKO LYRAS Gary Green Productions has been extremely fortunate in retaining Cotton Row Founder, the legendary musician and producer Niko Lyras to head our record label division. Niko Lyras left his home in Athens, Greece at 19, telling his parents it was to go to college, but he was really seeking the Memphis groove. He did earn Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees (in Economics!), and he also got a PhD in Memphis Gigging– rock, jazz, R&B, what do you need? As his musicianship grew he knew that he wanted to become an engineer and producer as well. He learned the basics freelancing at several local studios, then opened Cotton Row in 1980. Over the decades Niko has become a central figure in the Memphis music industry as a producer, engineer, guitarist, songwriter, publisher, as well as studio owner. He’s played sessions at virtually every studio in town, and has been involved, as a musician, producer, or songwriter, with a number of gold and platinum records, including Wendy Moten’s #5 Billboard hit “Come In Out Of The Rain,” which he co-wrote and coproduced. Niko’s work has been highly recognized, with the Broadcast Film Critics Best Song of 2005, a Canadian Juno, two Canadian Felix awards for engineer of the year, three NARAS Premier Player honors, a Stellar Award, four Addy’s, and several Grammy nominations. In addition to his Cotton Row work, Niko has led a number of high profile bands in the Mid- South including the acclaimed jazz-funk unit Voodoo Village (with 2 high charting CD’s) and the current Party Planet. He runs three music publishing companies, and remains active as a session musician. In his newest role, Niko heads Tenare records and the entire recording division of Gary Green Productions.

> our vision:he 21st century version of Sun®, Stax®,

Chess®, and even Atlantic®

Artist Development. With the corporate mentality running the “major” labels and accountants (rather than industry veterans) driving mergers and conglomerate-building, many of the old concepts of a “record label” have disappeared. Most notable among those lost qualities is the “artist development” department. That long lost department is a key to our model. Even at the beginning of industry corporate takeovers, and up until the late 1980’s, most record labels had an Artist Development department to support their acts' creative side and develop a following for those artists. In those days, the business model included the expectation that first releases would not sell great but sales would increase with each subsequent release; in short, the label stood by their acts in a developmental process. Part of that philosophy was that the more the music was heard, the more popular the act would become, and the more records would be sold. Consequently, it was the “job” of the label to develop the following for the artists; to make their acts famous. In those days the artist was everything; if the talent was there, then the label would sign them. By the early 1990’s most labels had changed the name of their Artist Development departments to Product Development. This was more than a name change; it was a philosophical change for the industry. The labels’ emphasis changed from nurturing the growth of an artist and their music to purely bulk sales strategies. The focus was all in the name: “Product” rather than “Artist”. By the 21st century, even that “product development” focus had disappeared and had become simply a function of the sales & marketing department. Immediate sales became the single most-driving force in signing an artist. In that business-model, this became even more important as mechanicals (records, CD’s etc.) be- gan to be replaced by digital (downloads, streaming, etc.). In order for an artist to be signed to and continue with a label, the sales of even the first release needed to be a financial success in the 21st century paradigm. The term “artist development” took on an entirely new meaning in a new lexicon coming to mean creating a PRODUCT tailored in advance to a specific market niche for near-guaranteed sales. It had nothing to do with talent, the artist, the song; it is only about the product. With such technical innovations as Antares Audio Technologies’ “Auto- Tune” and even Avid’s “Pro Tools”, a label could take a performer with minimal (or no) talent and literally develop product for a specific pop consciousness. Lyrics, mu-sic, vocals, all became a function of packaged “tracks” and “beats”. In that sense of “artist development”, it is highly significant that major labels have found a way (as John Seabrook explains in “The Song Machine”) to “orchestrate demand for artists such as Katy Perry and Rihanna” using a technique that Sea-brook has named “track and hook”.  This literally machine-produced pop music has replaced the melody-and-lyrics pop songwriting technique. In the pop world, according to Seabrook, instead of lyricists and a guitar or piano player struggling with a new song, producers create a batch of tracks all at one time and then email the MP3s to different parts of the assembly line for melody, hooks, and bridges. Since beats and tracks are not protected under copyright laws, the creation of songs for specific markets is legally easy. For example, in 2009 Beyoncé’s number five Billboard-charted hit, “Halo”, and Kelly Clarkson’s number 13, “Already Gone” ―in vastly different genres― were literally created on the same computer by the same programmers at the same time (and sound so much alike). It is why, for example, in the world of hip-hop hits, the producers are often as famous as the artists; Dr. Dre is bigger than his rappers because he creates the sound ―not the performers. It is why Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”, Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone”, and Kesha’’s “Tik Tok” are basically the same songs except for the eccentricities of the melody lines. It is why the most number one songs ever writ-ten come from a Swedish studio called Cheiron and a computer-based producer named Martin Karl Sandberg; as of February 2015, he had a total of 54 songs reach the top ten charts, placing him above Madonna's 38, Elvis Presley's 36 and the Beatles' 34. The major labels’ takeover of the “creative” process to develop songs for specific markets (without regard for who the artist is and even whether or not the artist has talent) has radically altered the revenue distribution for artists and the entire business model of the recording industry. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) reports that for every $1,000 in revenue, the average artist gets only $23.40 ― a little more than 2% of sales, despite a typical 14% royalty deal. Again, from a pure business standpoint, on a typical record deal: the label will spend approximately $625,000 in manu-facturing costs; approximately $2-million on promotion (with half of that ($1-million) charged back to the artist against royalties. (Production costs are also charged back to the artist in most cases.) The bottom-line profit benchmark for a typical release is $5,995,000. If the re-lease does not make that net profit (after production, promotion, royalties, ex-penses, and advances to the artist), then the artist is dropped. If projections for the initial release don’t meet that near-$6-million figure, the artist is never signed. In other words, in order to be signed and maintained by a major record label, a release must sell $10-million with a 60% margin. Short of that “product perfor- mance”, an artist is not going to be on a major label. In fact, the decision to sign the artist in the first place is NOT a creative decision at all ― it is a decision based on a spreadsheet analysis of that benchmark required profit (again, a minimum of almost $6-million).