Nicki helps Trinidad label to secure global distribution deal
Nicki Minaj helps D Project Records secure global distribution deal
In the wake of Hip-Hop Queen, Nicki Minaj's recent visit to her homeland, Trinidad and Tobago last month (Minaj performed at the National Stadium in Port of Spain on October 30), the Trinidadian label that brought Minaj to launch their acts, D Project Records has signed a global distribution deal with iMG Records/Universal. CEO of the St James-based record label, Daryl Braxton recently signed a distribution deal with the international powerhouse and iMG Recordings CEO, Rick Robinson has agreed to oversee marketing and distribute the four acts on D Project Records to the world.
“By this time next year,” said Braxton, “at least four acts from Trinidad and Tobago will have a greater presence in the global music industry. I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t going to happen. I told Trinidad that we were bringing Nicki Minaj home and we did and as a result of that event and the work we have been doing to promote the acts we signed, we have now secured global distribution and are preparing to take our company to the next level.”
The four acts signed to D Project Records are: Nebula 868, Judah Bharath, Terri Lyons and 3Suns. Braxton admitted that he had been “in talks with several different labels over the course of the year”, but said that after the launch of his label on October 30, iMG Recordings made him “an incredible offer that he could not refuse”.
“People need to understand that the "Rep Your Colors/Localize Itt" concert was not about packing the stadium and making a million dollars for ourselves,” he informed overtimett.com. “It was a strategic investment in ourselves and our talent. Like her or not, Nicki Minaj is ours and not because we claimed her, but because she claimed us as her own! The fact that she’s currently at the top of her game makes it even sweeter.
“So, when we were able to market and showcase our talent alongside her in a professional manner, that- and the quality of the talent we showcased- attracted even more attention from the major labels outside and now, iMG has come on board to help us take this talent from T&T to the world that’s waiting out there.”
VP of Operations for D Project Records, Rich Nice was instrumental in negotiating the mutually-beneficially arrangement and described the deal that was eventually signed as “one that hasn’t been given to any independent label since the late nineties”.
“What we’re looking at right now,” he enthused, “is a situation very similar to what Bad Boy and Death Row Records had in the nineties. Due to the way the industry has evolved, the majors don’t partner with independent undeveloped talent like this anymore because, quite frankly, it’s too risky! But Mr Robinson at iMG/Universal has such confidence in the talent and the music that he’s heard and seen that he is going straight to the top of the food chain with this recipe, so already we’re making history and the energy and excitement is building toward something really great.”
Speaking from his office in Oakland, iMG CEO, Rick Robinson said he believes that the acts signed to D Project Records have the potential to penetrate and become highly successful in the major markets of the global music industry and vowed to work “hands-on” with the label to achieve those objectives over the next year.
“The way this project has begun reminds me of something that’s going to be very great when it’s just starting,” he said, “and I’m someone that worked with Bone Thugs N Harmony to take them to the top when I was just in a management position, so I know from experience that when you get the butterflies in your stomach like this you’re definitely working with artistes who have what it takes to be great.”
Robinson is a Milwaukee-based former artiste and manager, who assumed the role of CEO at the company seven years ago. Since then, Robinson has indirectly overseen the careers of many chart-topping and independent artistes alike and now manages over 38 divisions within iMG.
Robinson said he was “blown away” by the sound of the acts and is aiming to release a single from Nebula 868 as soon as January 2011, with an album from the group expected to hit stores across America by March.
“That single they presented to me called Hello Goodbye is huge,” he said, “and we’re not going to hold it and wait: we’re going to make strong moves and strong decisions and let the system that iMG Recordings has in place work these acts in sequence and establish this brand and this unique culture and style in the market.”
In the meantime, all the acts on D Project Records are preparing for a busy 2011. Sean Nebula is taking acting classes daily as he stars in a locally-produced movie funded by the T&T Film Company called The Cool Boys and Terri Lyons is scheduled to release a new single for Carnival entitled “Ah Feelin Tuh...” next week. Judah Bharath just completed his first live online performance at TT ENT’s Unplugged Series and 3Suns will soon release another Carnival single called “Scandalous Gyal”.
Asked if he thought the Trinidadian accent used by the aforementioned acts would be a plus or a minus in the global market, Robinson said the authenticity of these acts was “refreshing” and would rejuvenate “an industry saturated with repetition and disingenuity”.
“The fact that these acts are authentic was a major selling point for this deal,” said Robinson. “When you mix kool-aid and water together with sugar you get a nice juice, but if you squeeze the fruit, that’s the real juice! Right now, D Project Records has the fruit and even though I have the outlets they need, guess what? They have the outlets that I need. Rich has Canada and Daryl has the juice and by us merging together, we become a force to be reckoned with... and we don’t need water or sugar to sell it.”
For more on the label, please visit www.dprojectrecords.com or www.imgrecordings.com