Today (Aug. 1), Big Loud Records, led by industry veteran Clay Hunnicutt, celebrates two years in operation. The label boasts a roster including Morgan Wallen, Jillian Jacqueline, and Chris Lane, who last year celebrated his first No. 1 with “Fix,” which was also the first single Big Loud Records ever promoted to radio.
To celebrate, Big Loud partners Craig Wiseman, Kevin “Chief” Zaruk, Joey Moi, Seth England, and Big Loud Records president Hunnicutt have revealed a rebranding for the overall Big Loud operations, which places the company’s various divisions, including Big Loud Shirt Publishing, label Big Loud Records, artist management company Big Loud Mountain and a newly-announced venture fund, Capital, all under the name Big Loud.
The rebranding also includes the newly-created, centralized website bigloud.com, new signage at the company’s 16th Ave. S. headquarters in Nashville, as well as a new logo, which simplifies the original Hawaiian shirt logo that represented Big Loud Publishing.
“Craig did a great job branding Big Loud Shirt. Especially in Nashville, it’s an iconic name and an iconic logo,” says Zaruk. “Instead of trying to explain to people that we are four companies and four logos, we are just Big Loud. So we simplified the original logo.”
Big Loud began in 2003, with the launch of Wiseman’s Big Loud Shirt Industries, which has earned 45 No. 1 singles to date. The publishing company’s current roster includes Wiseman, Sarah Buxton, Rodney Clawson, Matt Dragstrem, Joey Moi, Chris Tompkins, Jamie Moore and the Warren Brothers.
In 2012, the company expanded with the launch of its management arm, Big Loud Mountain. The division spearheaded the career of superstar country duo Florida Georgia Line, who have sold more than 29 million tracks worldwide, earned 13 No. 1 hits and have country music’s only diamond-certified single with “Cruise.” In 2015, Big Loud expanded again with the launch of label division Big Loud Records.
England says the need to integrate all the company’s offerings into one overall brand became increasingly evident. “I found when I was traveling around the country, and globally, the first thing people ask is ‘What is your company?’ We had gotten to the point where we had three or four different companies with Big Loud as part of the name, along with something more unique, like Big Loud Shirt. It was cool because it reflected each company, but as we‘ve grown and had success, I find myself needing to explain more instead of just saying, ‘We are Big Loud.’”
Newly added to the Big Loud offerings is Capital, a venture capital fund launched by Wiseman, Zaruk, Moi and England.
The idea for Capital came after Big Loud’s business manager introduced the executives to Los Angeles-based Plus Capital.
“They had experience working with entertainers and helping them build side investments and venture capital,” England says. “They also had a firm within their company that helped entertainers build businesses for themselves. At the time I met them, they were working with Paramore’s Haley Williams and helping her build a hair dye company [GoodDYEyoung]. So we started the fund and made the business plan for ourselves.”
England cites managers like SB Projects’ Scooter Braun as well as Atom Factory and Erving Wonder founder Troy Carter as being “business builders” for their artists.
“If you choose to look at it that way, you build businesses in the best interest of your artists,” England says. “I think we were using that side of our cap so often, we knew one day that if we got introduced to the right people and developed the right network that we would love to sit down with young up-and-coming companies and evaluate different opportunities for us to disperse capital, as well as ways to be strategic and help people.”
England says Capital has invested in approximately 10 companies so far, a mix of music, tech, and non-music companies.
Chief among those is Stem, a digital distribution service co-founded by Milana Rabkin, Tim Luckow and Jovin Cronin-Wilesmith. Stem analyzes the share of income a vendor should receive from music platforms like Spotify and Pandora, collects revenues, and automatically splits the payments among different collaborators, who set up vendor accounts.
“Before we can ever release the song, the producer or any royalty participants—if there is a side artist featured, or something like that—they all have to sign off on how much they are due,” England explains. “As the revenues come in from all streaming services or iTunes, it comes into the account and it just splits it as told and then each of those collaborators don’t have to wait another 90 days. They just download their account right to their bank account. It gets faster more accurate pay for all the participants.”
Other companies Capital has invested in include augmented reality hardware company Magic Leap, alternative dairy source Califia Farms, and online retailer Casper Mattresses.
“When looking at companies, we always ask, ‘Is this company, app or brand a disruptor?’” says Zaruk. “Is it going to disrupt the flow of what the norms are now and what people are doing to convert over because this idea or company is better or different and it’s going to make a big change?’”
With the launch of Capital being the latest in Big Loud’s ongoing evolution, Zaruk says the rebranding comes at the perfect time.
“Through all of our networking and all we are doing, we realized we had so many interests in different things but they all touch each other and they can all overlap,” Zaruk says. “The more we can control in-house and build our company and our brand the more we and our artists benefit and the opportunities just allow us to do so much more than just one thing. It’s a natural evolution. We want to be all things Big Loud.”
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