Management Companies Hard 8, Working Group Merge

Dirk Hemsath, Rich Egan

Artist managers and music industry entrepreneurs Rich Egan and Dirk Hemsath have merged their companies, Hard 8 and Working Group, respectively, to create The Hard 8 Working Group.

The newly expanded management roster includes Cheat Codes, Brantley Gilbert, Dashboard Confessional, Billie Eilish, and R.LUM.R.

“Dirk and I go back 20 years and have always shared a mutual respect, trust and work ethic, even when we were on opposite sides of a negotiation,” says Egan, who founded Vagrant Records in 1994, sold it to Interscope, bought it back and then sold it again to BMG last year. “It’s ironic that two punk rock kids ended up in Nashville together working with such an eclectic roster, but Dirk and I speak a common language. We do things that make sense to us and for our artists – and that isn’t a genre specific approach. I couldn’t be more excited about the future of this new company.”

“Inspired by our love of music, Rich and I both started labels as teenagers and grew them into successful companies that provided an outlet for artists and music that changed culture,” says Hemsath. “We both went into management at different times for the same reasons: to be passionate advocates for artists’ rights, work and their business. Rich is a true artist advocate and I can’t wait for what we will do together.”

In addition to a new publishing division, The Hard 8 Working Group will include Egan’s Folsom Records, which originally started as a vinyl only label and has been home to releases from Rise Against and Face To Face and will re-release Dan Layus’ critically acclaimed debut album.

The company will also include a new label division headed up by David Conway. “The freedom they give me to chase my passion—which is finding great songs and pairing up the right artists—is unreal,” says Conway.

As Hemsath’s Doghouse Records celebrates its 30-year anniversary in 2018, it will continue to focus on its expansive catalog, which includes releases from All-American Rejects and Say Anything, among many more.

Industry vet Laura Bender will serve as GM of both the management side and the labels and will take an active role in the greatly expanded venture. “I moved from New York to work with Rich because his passion is contagious—he goes all in on his artists and their music and is constantly bringing new ideas to the table. I was ecstatic when he told me that Dirk and his team were joining the family.”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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