Dine Alone Records celebrated its 10th anniversary last year. Founded by Joel Carriere, the label has a wide range of acts with over 50 national and international artists, including: And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, At the Drive-In, Billy Bragg, Attack in Black and Aero Flynn. It currently has offices in Los Angeles, Nashville and Toronto. Dine Alone Records was named the number one independent label in Nielsen Soundscan’s 2014 Year-End Report.
What makes your label different?
What makes us unique is that we’re not a top down label. The label is actually an extension of me and has a family atmosphere. We release many different genres and try to keep a positive vibe going at all times.
You also operate Bedlam Music Management—isn’t that a conflict?
We were a management company first, and have not encountered any conflicts. If an artist has a problem with it, they can choose whatever they want. But, I think it’s ideal. What’s better than having your manager run your label? We’re not the first to do it, and we won’t be the last.
How do you evaluate artists?
It’s kind of weird because it’s always different. You can’t always predict how successful an act will be. First, I have to like the music. Then, I have to make sure we get along, especially if the artist has a team behind them. If there is a team, everyone has to be able to work together or it will fall apart.
How important are live performances?
Extremely important. A great song may be timeless, but if you want longevity and a career you must play live. And not just play—you have to be a great performer and put on a show.
Do acts have to be accomplished to get your attention?
Not necessarily. In fact, our strong suit is artist development. We take artists from nothing and develop them. It takes time and a lot of patience, but I like jumping in early. It’s an exciting time whenever you enter a new relationship.
How important is social media activity?
I look at it, but it’s not a deciding factor. If it’s a young act that I love, we can help them with it and develop their social network. With older acts it’s not as critical.
Are you looking for anything in particular?
Not anything specific. We’re starting to get into hip-hop, R&B, EDM and soul driven material. We’re not just stuck on one genre. We started with a lot of singer/songwriters, but we’ve moved beyond that. I like working with different musical styles. It’s boring to work with just one style, so I like dealing with a variety. That’s why we have offices in Nashville, Los Angeles and Toronto.
What type of deals do you offer?
Every deal is different. But, we tend to do traditional deals, not 360’s. I get why labels like 360 deals, but I don’t believe many labels can service all those areas (sales, publishing, live concerts, merchandise, sponsorships and endorsements). I don’t think they’re able to do the job in a way that it entitles them to the extra money. If we can service those other areas, then we’ll talk about it. But, right now, we’re being honest and keeping it simple.
What do you think of streaming sites like Spotify and Apple Music?
We’re big supporters of streaming sites. In fact, we work closely with Apple and Spotify. We learned how to develop acts differently by utilizing streaming services. We found that if you use Spotify right, you can blow up an artist.
What would stop you from signing an act?
If I don’t like them as people, I will not sign them. If our plate is full or we have too many of the same type of acts, I won’t sign them. Most important, if they don’t have realistic expectations and a strong work ethic, I won’t work with them.
Has your approach to business changed over the years?
It has, because entertainment in general has changed. Now, we’re more of an entrepreneurial hub. Festivals have become very popular and provide a new avenue for indie acts to get exposure. Streaming sites are like a new form of radio, and we partner with brands and sponsors more than we did years ago. It’s an exciting time to be in the music business.