About AER and Founder
In the 1950's, 60's and 70's many record labels were founded and headed by people who were fanatics about music. If they did a good job of picking their artists, developing them, captured their "art" and released it, the label survived. The music was creative, it inspired passion and fans who were loyal.
Later, with consolidation of the labels into huge conglomerates the music (record) business became more about business and less about the music, the people who make it (the artists) or the people who buy it. Music became about formulas, profitability increases, and dividends for the stockholders. In a way you can't blame the guys at the top too much....after all if the stockholders didn't get their dividend then a new guy would be sitting in their seat next quarter.
Artist development became a thing of the past, and music was packaged so that to get the songs they liked fans had to buy lots of filler. Selling singles because a thing of the past. You want the single....you have to buy the album. As an artist once you were no longer "hot" and selling platinum, you were thrown off the label. That was wrong, for everyone but the label.
Radio was exciting and had variety in its beginnings.Stations often played music across genres. You might here a "pop" record by an artist like Doris Day, then a rocker, an R&B artistis, and maybe even some country....all on the same station.
Radio also went through consolidation with big chains owning hundreds of stations. Along with that came a new focus on market share, advertising dollars and profitability with less emphasis on breaking new music and catering to the listeners. And the playlists got to be more ridgid to a particular genre. The playlists got smaller and smaller, and fewer songs got played over and over, for longer and longer. Radio in the large city markets had more to do with selling advertising and less about the music. As time went on, less and less new music was available from this traditional source.
It took a while for music fans to realize that the focus had shifted in the big labels and big radio, and it was no longer about providing great music. Making money was the primary emphasis and it often came at the expense of the fans who really value music. In response to this realization, more and more people have gone to other sources to find creative, passion filled music and are making themselves heard by ignoring the slick, mass directed, formulaic music.
The growth of the internet and digital music has turned the business inside out. Although there will be problems that need to be resolved, in the long run we believe the changes will be good for both artists and fans.
A label has to make money to survive. But making music and making money should go hand in hand. We believe there should be a working partnership between the label and the artist(s.) And that working partnership extends to the fans...the recipients of the products that the artists and labels make for public consumption.
Our goals at AER are long term.
When our artists are ready to compose, record, release and tour....whether it is now or twenty years from now....we want AER to be the place where they know they have a partnership....the place and the people to get their music out to the world and support their long term career of music.
When fans of good music go looking for it, we want them to think of American Eagle Recordings as the place they can find it.
We strive to be “home” to our artists.
A base where they can learn and grow and people they can depend on. A place where the label and the artists look out for each other, grow and work together.
We value a person with the skills to make great music. Music is a gift. Great music comes from great artists. Great artists shouldn't have to starve to make great music.
But we're not all warm fuzzies
We’re not afraid to take chances and look for artists that share that philosophy. But we are realistic. This is a tough business. You have to be savvy, and knowledgeable about the business.
Our approach to each artists career and recording is strategic, with full involvement of the artist. We look at all aspects of an artist and his/her/their branding. We look at opportunities, identify the obstacles and work to overcome them.
We take a long time to decide to take on an artist. The artists we select will be our source of much joy or frustration, not to mention income for the future. That income provides for us, as well as the artists that come after. We can't work with too many artists or we don't do justice to any of them. We have to choose wisely.
Music has always been a part of my life.
My attitude toward managment and being a label head has been influenced by the fact that music has always been a part of my life.
Some of my earliest memories were of my whole family singing around a piano in my aunt and uncle’s living room and my family singing in church.
My father played saxophone in dance bands, as did my uncle Harry. Their brother Marion played but I don't remember what....I do remember he conducted one of the Army bands.
My aunt Erma played piano. Most of my relatives on my father's side were musicians (for fun or income) at some point of their lives.
My sister Beverly sang with the Les Brown, Clyde Traske, Buddy Morrow, and the Maynard Fergueson bands. Her daughters both played music and one is a songwriter , listed with SESAC, as well as a music promoter and booking agent..
My own background in the music and entertainment business is broad....musician, singer, songwriter, producer, agent, and manager with numerous bands including The City Limits, Silverstreaks, The Fabulous Titans, and The Sandz ov Tyme (hey it was the 60's OK) whose hits included A Litle Bird and You've Got What It Takes..
Last but not least I sang and played, and was co leader of the band - Bo Donaldson & the Heywoods....best remembered for the hits Billy Don’t Be a Hero, Outside Looking In, Who Do You Think You Are, Something Flame, and Teenage Revolution.
I had a recording contract with Disco-Tech Records for the Sandz ov Tyme. The Heywoods recorded withQueen Bee, Republic Records (owned by Gene Autry) and ABC Paramount (owned by Dick Clark.) I had the opportunity to learn from some pretty good folks.
I quit performing in my mid twenties but maintained many friendships in the business. Although though the years I worked outside the music industry in management, advertising, marketing and counseling, I remained a part of (as noted songwriter Jeffery Steele puts it) "the community of music."
Much of my business focus over the past eight years has been in artist management, talent management and development, and artist representation. I own the Management firm, Million Dollar Artists.
As an integral part of artist management and development, I founded American Eagle Recordings.
American Eagle Recordings is a successful full service label with national retail distribution. AER distribution in the US is done through V-Tone/ Aspirion Records.
For artists whose goal is a major label deal, recording and releasing through American Eagle Recordings allows the artist to :
- develop a national fan base, awareness in radio and media. Create buzz with the release, promotion and success of your CD and singles. This makes the artist more attractive to the A&R staff at major labels when it comes time to showcase and shop for that major label deal
- build a back catalog and the income it provides, not subject to the "recoupable" provisions of a major label contract.
- after we have done any necessary talent / artist development, and we agree you are ready (after all its our reputation too)...our management / artist representation affiliate, Million Dollar Artists will work with you to target, contact and arrange presentation and showcases for the selected labels that are your best targets for "getting a deal.".Over the years we have made contacts and relationships at the major labels and can can pick up the phone and call them directly. Those we don't know (and in A&R there is constant turnover,) we know how to get their attention and consideration.
.For artists not interested in a major label deal, but who are interested in building a long term career without losing control to a major label, AER can be a good choice for label affiliation.
AER offers the artist control of their own career, coupled with the important expertise of label personnel in making great music, marketing and promotion.
At AER, because music has always been part of our lives, we understand that we are in the music business, not just the "record business." And while we never lose the mindset that while we are in "business," (we all have to eat,) we understand that "it's all about the music. "