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|A Few Article's About Robert Case :
The Colorado Springs Gazette Newspaper Friday, May 24, 2002:
"Independent Springs producer has notable track record"
by Bill Reed
Robert A. Case is used to doing what people say he can©t do. Go ahead and tell him that an independent record label in little ol© Colorado Springs
can©t make it.
He©ll show you New Pants Publishing, a full-service label that has produced 21 albums in the past 13 years and has cracked the 50,000 sales plateau on
a few occasions. He©ll show you a lineup that includes Washington D.C. chanteuse Kathy Watson, Denver rock band Silence, rapper Tech-T, folk
singer James Becker, and the new-age sounds of Colorado Springs© own Joel, (who is having a CD-release party at 8:30 tonight t Paul©s, 310 S. Eight
He©ll show you press on his artists, showcase gigs at hipster joints such as New York©s CBGB©s, and four of his acts booked into Germany©s massive
Popkomm festival. "There is still hope for an independent artist and label," says Case, 33. "But you have to do your
He©ll show you a track record of developing artists rather than just using them and throwing them away. He©ll show you contracts that allow
songwriters to keep half the proceeds of their songs rather than robbing them blind ("If it hits big, we©ll share in that together"). He©ll show you a
commercial real estate business that provides the capital for his musical passions. And he©ll show you plans to build a live entertainment venue in east
Colorado Springs in the next year, a place to showcase his artists and pull in national acts.
"I once asked Rob, ©What©s in this for you-all the hard work, the cost of running the
operation? What do you get out of this?" says Robert Sanders of Silence, a band Case has worked with for a decade. "He said, © I want to go to an awards show and see one of my artists win. When one of you
reaches the top, I©ll know that I helped someone©s dream happen.©"
Go ahead and tell Case that a guy with cerebral palsy can©t run with the big dogs. He©ll show you pictures of him hobnobbing with celebrities ranging
from Moby to Quincy Jones. He©ll show you a globe-trotting schedule of flights and rental cars even though he can not walk unassisted. He©ll show
you a love for music that is equal parts heart and head. "My dad, when I first went to college, didn©t think I could finish," says Case. "He didn©t think I
could compete." His diploma hangs as a reminder of another obstacle conquered. In light of what Rob Case overcomes every day, "cant©s" begin to
sound more like "I dare you."
"I©ve gotten rally close on some big deals," he says, "but I haven©t gotten the brass ring©yet."
Vol. XXII, No. 5 3/2/98 to 03/15/98
Starting a record label as an offshoot of his familys commercial
real estate business, Robert Case is in the unique position of applying the principles of
one arena to another. While his brother Randy Case II, handles real estate and
entertainment law, Roberts experience in music, marketing and advertising led him to
launch Case Records, whose small but strong roster boasts pop, country, rock and hard rock
artists, led by folk singer Lisa Bigwood and the rock band Silence.
Marketing them is a more difficult matter, as any indie label chief knows. But rather
than go the typical Nineties route of Internet web sites, he has gotten loads of attention
by among other things placing his artists on various samplers put out by
music magazines and by organizers of music conferences.
"Ive hired indie promoters in the past to work records to radio, but they
are extremely expensive and its not wise to spend blindly unless you clearly
identify your target market," says Case from his offices in Colorado Springs,
Colorado. "Ive spent a lot of time in New York, setting up accounts with
companies like Borders and Musicland. With 50 songs in our catalog now, I realize that the
name of the game is exposing those songs so that even if our artists dont become
stars, their material can be covered by similar styled artists.
"All the major music conferences throughout the country have compilations, as do
the CMJ directory and the Album Network magazine," he adds. "So Id
rather spend my money on that sort of exposure than an indie promoter in certain cases. I
approach it as a developer, a number game where I need to only sell one in 50 houses to be
While Case is still looking for the proper major label distribution for the artists on
his roster, his placement on such samplers and resulting positive reviews
have gotten his artists meetings with major labels, and an eagerness to hear more. Capitol
showed interest in Bigwood (whose largest following is around her base of Rochester, New
York), while MCA met with Silence. "If I dont expose them, no one will know
about them," is how Case sums up his philosophy.
He believes that for an indie to have any chance of survival, to have any shot at a
major labels interest in its artists, you have to get in their face.
Other avenues Case employs are frequent showcases at music conferences, as well as
direct catalog mail through such large chains as Best Buy. Consumers can literally order
through the computer catalog at such a store. "Its crucial to develop
relationships with national buyers like these," he says. "And I always keep in
mind, as I promote my artists in the regions that seem receptive to their music, that my
ultimate goal is major label interest or getting an established artist interested in a
song whose publishing we own."
While Case who likes his own physical struggles with Cerebral Palsy to the
challenges of surviving in the record business simply looks for good singers with
strong writing ability in his artist search, he recognizes that the future of the business
really lies in the success of indies like his.
"Major labels seen to be struggling in their ability to develop new artists from
scratch these days, as we see so many big artists starting more grass-roots campaigns
before getting big deals," he says. "Im in the business of developing
artists I believe in, taking them to the next level and hopefully reaping the benefits
that selling their masters to a big label would afford them. The trick is in how to best
spend money to get them in front of the right people. Thats where my knowledge of
the real estate business really kicks in."
Crossroads 98 Seminar
Saturday, April 25th
St. Louis Room-
Starting and Running
your own label-
Beware: this is not as easy as it sounds. Hear the success stories of many of
today's independent record label owners. Learn how they started and achieved
success, the mistakes to avoid, how to assemble your artist roster, distribution issues,
and many other facets of the label business.
Robert Case, Case Entertainment
Robert Gilmore, Studio Z Records
Eddie Dattel, Inside Sounds
Eric Babcock, Checkered Past Records
Mark Yoshide, Rocking Chair Records
Eddie Gore, Dynamo Records
Rob Case is attending the
||The Colorado Springs
Jan 7-13, 1998 - Vol.6 No. 1
Local Record Label
Beats the Big Boys
The little record label that can. An upstart music company keeps pace with the majors.
There's very little that's typical about the small independent record label that Rob
Case runs from his second-floor office above the corner
of Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street.
The first tip-off is the office itself. When I met Case, the suit-and-tie-clad producer is
sitting at a long, ovalesque conference table that a small rock and folk label
shared with Case Holdings and several other of his family's real estate
There's nothing rock'n'roll about this place: The Cadillac-length conference table is
flanked by lots of dark wood and several maps depicting proposed suburban subdivisions.
But that's not the only thing that sets them apart. That's because
it's company president, Case attributes his budding success in the music field to his
experience in the work-a day world: his previous gigs processing job applications for the
government and dealing in real estate.
"There are a lot of similarities between music and real estate in the sense that
making a long-term investment in an artist or a group hoping that, some day,
that investment will pay off," said Case, whose own office dons at
least a few rock trappings: posters, a small stereo, lots of cassette tapes.
Whatever the case, the small indy's slow and steady business strategy has helped Case -
and the artists he represents - to quietly make names for themselves in an industry will
known for its tell-me-your-name-again memory span.
Consider this: Two of the three artists signed to Case's label have made the preliminary
nomination lists for the 1997 Grammy Awards. The Denver pop-metal band Silence, which Case
has been working with for about eight years, made the long list in three categories:
"Best Rock Album," "Album of the Year" and "Best New
Folk artist Lisa Bigwood, a more recent addition to the Case roster, made the long
list under "Best Contemporary Folk Album" and " Album of the Year"
for her CD "Woodland." At press time, Case was still expecting to hear whether
or not his artists are finalists.
The lists we're talking about here are not the ones read live on television on Grammy
night. These preliminary line-ups contain anywhere from 150 to 250 names per category; the
lists get whittled down once again before the awards show. Still, Case's long-time
engineer and producer Steve Avedis said it doesn't exactly hurt a musician's ego to get on
a list with the likes of The Kinks, David Bowie, Michelle Shocked and Bob Dylan.
"Think of the thousands upon thousands of artists, songs and bands that are out there
and that were submitted [to the Grammies]," said Avedis. "So it's a pretty high
honor for someone from a small indy label."
None of that high honor, however, makes Case or his artists any extra cash. Nor does it
necessarily mean their music is any better than that of other nominees. After all, the
Grammies and the committees that pick and choose are just as much about promotions, sales
figures, and big money as they are about art.
Still, for a label with only three artists to get two of those artists on the list, in
five separate categories - is a pretty amazing feat, Avedis noted. "And think of the
amount of money the major labels have to promote their bands," he added. "They
have mega bucks behind these groups...Rob cannot put a half million into one band.."
Luckily for Case, he does at least have enough money - made largely through his work
in real estate - to develop and promote music. But unlike the music biz's big boys,
who can buy success with radio promos, music videos and prominent retail
displays, Case has had to resort to shrewd spending and business habits.
Instead of buying tons of radio adds promoting his bands, Case markets his bands to the
music industry itself. He does that by getting the artists reviewed in music
industry trades, putting them on compilation CDs and setting up gigs at industry
conventions. In other words, he gets the bands' names and music in front of the people who
might ultimately sign the musicians to major deals.
Case has also asked his artists to be more businesslike as well, having them do in-store
appearances, for example. But local country-blues-rock balladeer C. Lee Clarke, who just
produced a five-song CD promo with Case, said his musical backer doesn't come down with a
lead foot on artists either. While he does make recommendations about the music, Clarke
said he has a light touch.
"It's not like the big fat guy with the cigar saying, 'Do it this way, kid,'"
Clarke said. "He'll listen to something and say, 'Why not try it this way? See what
you think.' And sometimes I'll come back and say, 'No, I tried it that way and I didn't
like it, or it didn't work, and he'll say 'OK." But most of the time his suggestions
really improve the song."
In exchange for some of the publishing rights to Clarke's songs, meanwhile, Case funded
the CD and bought Clarke a four-track tape recorder to help the guitarist compose. When
the material is ready, Case will put up the dough needed to promote Clarke's songs. The
hope is that the singer-songwriter will get signed to a major label, and both the artist
and Case will make money, maybe even win a Grammy. "That would be cool," said
Clarke. "I wouldn't mind not having to paint houses anymore."
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