EMPIRE is a distribution company founded by Ghazi Shami in 2010 and has become one of the music industry’s go-to record labels for musicians who want to take a new approach to content management, social networking and digital development.
Being an early adopter of digital distribution and online retail, EMPIRE has grown into one of Hip Hop’s biggest powerhouses by focusing on relationships, artist development and building brands. The company’s success within digital distribution continues to grow and reach new genres that include country, latin and R&B.
Most notably — one of EMPIRE’s early success stories includes the signing of Kendrick Lamar to the distribution company and partnering with Top Dawg Entertainment for the future release of all projects back in 2012.
The deal included Kendrick Lamar’s breakout debut studio album ‘Section.80’, which was released on July 2, 2011 and climbed the Billboard 200 chart to #113 spot. EMPIRE has also handled projects from Cardi B, Migos, Brockhampton, Anderson .Paak, Snoop Dogg and the late XXXTentacion.
EMPIRE is a part of a rapidly growing list of digital distributors that operate in an innovative space filled with independent and major label artists who are looking to capitalize off of music streaming’s ever-growing opportunities that include ownership, free distribution and flexibility.
“We’re very fluid. I can build infrastructure very quickly and if something doesn’t work, I can tear it down and rebuild it and shift directions.
It’s like King Kong vs Bruce Lee: do you want size and strength or speed and ingenuity?”
— Ghazi Shami
Companies like EMPIRE thrive because they play an alternative role to record labels and still offer the opportunity for growth. This is major because we live in a World where digital distribution is available for EVERYONE.
Although, EMPIRE provides artists with the same services as other digital distributors. The company is focused on building relationships, brands and mutual partnerships that stand the test of time.
“We fall somewhere into that middle space. A lot of resources and infrastructure that typically only come with a major [label], but transparency and flexibility and lack of politics that usually comes with an indie.”
These hybrid entities like EMPIRE, The Orchard and Create Music Group are becoming more and more attractive for artists because they operate in the same capacity as a record label without taking the lion’s share of royalties or having to give up your masters.
The music industry is evolving and presents independent artists with more opportunity for growth. These favorable circumstances place a higher value on the development of release strategies, artist development and scalability.
If you’re an independent artist or record label that is looking for a digital distributor or partnership. EMPIRE is definitely a very attractive destination with the potential to become very lucrative, without jeopardizing your future opportunities and long-term growth.
EMPIRE plays a different role from a traditional distribution platform like TuneCore, UnitedMasters, DistroKid, etc. Offering worldwide distribution and label services such as funding, marketing, advertising, sync licensing and an innovative content management system.
The company’s current growth model has beefed up since it was founded in San Francisco back in 2010. They now possess the reach and capabilities within their infrastructure to develop new talent through their publishing company, press campaigns and radio promotion.
Choosing a distribution company depends all on your needs as an artists and what goals you are trying to accomplish. Be sure to do your research and figure out what works best for your situation. This includes overhead costs, scalability and creative space.