Dime and Dog Records
So what made you want to make your own record label?
DD: The five of us are second years at Drexel University in the Music Industry program. Since freshman year we’ve always been hanging out on going house shows and immersing ourselves in the Philly music scene. We were hanging out and talking about how we each have our own very specific sector in music that we're pretty well versed in. We do a lot of things outside of Drexel such as different jobs and internships. We all had this really good idea to bring together all of our forces and just create this really new innovative indie label. In this male dominated industry, a female run record label would be a good place to bring creatives together and have a really good space to make sure that everyone was able to do what they wanted to do.
Can you explain what is a record label and how do you connect with the artists? Do you do the actual recording? Is it more like management and booking shows?
DD: A record label in a sense is kind of just like the house for everything. Sometimes they do the recording, sometimes they don't. We don't have a studio so we're not doing it for them. We want to go with them to the studio that they're recording and a lot of them have a home studio which would be even easier. It also covers every other thing else: marketing, publicity, management, media management. We also help with the legal contracts and anything with distribution.
What other sections of the music industry do you think also need to be changed or modernized besides having that female voice in it?
DD: The foundation of how major labels as a whole are typically run needs a shift. There's very much a lack of originality for those artists and they have to conform to what the label wants them to be. For us, that's something we completely don't align with. We want our artists to be organic and be themselves; we want what they want.
There's a reason why you would want to sign someone, so you should let them flourish in their own artistic path because that's why you signed them. So how is your approach different or what is your approach in terms of artist relations and cultivating their artistic identity?
DD: Just like you said, we really do want our artists to kind of flourish and do what they want to do. We're really just there as a guide to help them accomplish what they're trying to accomplish.
So how do you find artists that you want to sign? Is it people you know,social media or just going to shows?
DD: It definitely started off as people we know. That was a good basis for us to just start. Look for people who are in our immediate kind of community. It's also been who we’ve seen online and on Quadio, which is a platform for college creatives. We've been looking through our own resources right now.
Are you guys focused more on the Philly area itself or just wanting to pick certain artists based on who they are as artists and not location?
DD: I think currently we're not necessarily sticking to Philly, but the northeast area. It would be really great for everyone to be in kind of a close knit circle just to form those bonds. We will have that ability to be close to each other and really work together as much as possible. It still gives us the chance to say, “oh, you've got a song you want to work on and mix, come over. You want to find a photographer like I got you a photographer. We definitely would love to expand in the future.
I think being in college helps with having a community because that's built into your university. So how do you manage being in college and also running this label at the same time? Do you think being in college helps with that?
DD: Being in college gave us a lot more exposure to other artists and just new ideas and different ways of going about things. We have easy access to those people in our area, especially at Drexel. In terms of working and going to school and doing the label, we all have really good time management. We're able to balance internships and jobs in this industry as well as running this label. That just helps us get even more exposure and more contacts.
Do you think that the curriculum and what you're being taught is up to date with how things are on now in the music industry?
DD: In the beginning the curriculum was very textbook based, which is hard for this industry because it's changing so often, but a lot of it's up to date. It's also just hard to learn things in a classroom setting and then go and use those things. You learn a lot more from actually doing something which I think everyone can agree with. In terms of what the curriculum is, it definitely has helped us at least a little bit at the bare minimum. We all know a lot about copyright law and stuff like that. We also have people willing to give us their insight as mentors and professors. There is so much access to people who are willing to help because we are students.
I really like the name and the logo with the dog on it. Is there a story behind why you chose that name?
DD: We spent like a good month/ month and a half trying to come up with a name. There's a Jesse Rutherford song called Dime & Dog and thought it would be sick for a record label. So that was the one that we finally all agreed on. With our logo, we have a friend who's a graphic design major. We gave him some sketches and then he worked from those to design our logo.
It looks like the logo is almost the currency itself, which I like. Is there like a specific genre of artists you want to work with, or are you just trying to cover as many different artists and genres as you can?
DD: We say we're an indie alternative label, but there is so much debate about what is actually indie or alternative. All of us have a general idea of what falls into those genres, but it is a big umbrella term. We're definitely open to other genres as well. We would love to expand our roster and have a rock band or even heavy metal.
As a new label what are your plans for the future and expansion?
DD: We're absolutely going to have shows and that’s also how a lot of our musicians would make money. Streaming doesn't provide unless you're Drake. The shows will be pretty small because a lot of the artists we have are pretty small right now. At these types of shows they bring their friends and their friends. We get our college friends to come and neighbors. That's how you build fan bases if you do small shows. We also want to meet with these artists more in person and do more things with them, take more photos and videos and go to studios with them. We want to really be part of the process instead of just being right now like a guide over soon and like over the phone.
Do you think streaming platforms make it increasingly harder for musicians to make money and live off their work?
DD: It's a lot harder for smaller artists to make a living off that, you're not going to make a ton of money off of streams. Most artists, especially in the indie alternative scene, rely on those touring and those shows and all that. So that's the only difficult part about being a small artist, especially on a platform like Spotify, Spotify or Apple Music.
Do you have a platform that you like more that gives back to the artists?
DD: They're all kind of similar to each other. Each one has pros and cons and it's important for especially the small artists to utilize all of them. But in terms of payment, they're all pretty lacking.
What are your thoughts on NFTs in the music industry?
DD: It’s a cool thing. That's not something that we can do with our artists at this point. You're getting a signed vinyl or your tickets for life to see whatever band. It's definitely going to affect bigger artists and they're going to get a lot of income from that. But for smaller indie artists, it's really just not something that's plausible right now. Another problem with NFTs is the environmental effects. I have a very, very huge problem with that. Basically in the past week, NFTs have used the amount of energy that Australia has used in a year. It is also important to think about the long term effects that it has as well as the benefits.
Check out Dime and Dog Records!