As major labels continue to report record losses, independent labels such as Bran-Nu Entertainment (BNE) have shown exponential growth. Revenues are just not there to support the way majors use to do business. As they continue to adjust their multi-national business models to coincide with new technological and social developments, indies such as BNE are quick to adapt and capitalize.
Based in Washington DC, BNE has not only taken advantage of the Caribbean music scene, but also the network of Diasporas. BNE’s producer Rhoan Bromfield recently received an award nomination for Producer of the Year for the EP, RUTH, at the 15th annual Washington DC Reggae Music Awards, scheduled to take place in May 2012. BNE artiste, Ruth-Ann Brown, was also nominated for six awards.
“We’re humbled by the nominations because of the simple fact that our work is being recognized by our own Jamaican community in the Nation’s Capital, Washington DC”, stated producer Rhoan Bromfield.
BNE is a multi-faceted organization specializing in management, distribution, publishing and licensing. They have been a strategic driving force in exposing Reggae music to unconventional markets, whether utilizing high-end marketing techniques such as securing licensing deals for their artistes with airlines travelling to territories such as Europe, Africa and Asia or grass-roots campaigns targeting sound systems and mixtapes. BNE’s promotional exploits have generated features on national television and airplay on radio stations across the Caribbean such as CVM TV, RJR, IRIE FM and ZIP 103. Paving the way for their artistes to perform to thousands in packed auditoriums and share stages with iconic figures such as Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond and Ky-Mani Marley.
BNE has achieved all this without spending like major labels do. Almost every campaign initiated by a major label requires millions of US dollars to get their promotional wheels turning, due to the costs of administration and buying out various media. Yet there is no guarantee that a major artiste backed by a multi-million dollar campaign will actually succeed. Today the risks are even greater because artistes are not earning like they use to, so major label stock prices keep falling. That’s why indie label’s micro-business approach is proving to be far more favourable in turbulent economic times such as these. The fewer labels spend on promotional campaigns, means the more profits they are likely to yield.
With a secure foundation hatched out in the music industry, BNE is content with their current roster. But they still keep a keen eye open for rare talent. When asked what qualities they look for in an artiste, a label spokes person stated:
“When scouting for a Nu Artist, there are several factors we take into consideration. The obvious talent and work ethic is a must, along with being able to embrace the responsibilities of having a public platform.”
Who knows what the future holds for the music industry. If things continue to progress the way they have over the past fifteen years, competition is likely to increase, production costs will fall, marketing will become increasingly accessible and the future of the major label even more uncertain.