Throughout the 20th century, record labels were the dominant force behind the most successful artists. Record labels had the power to make or break artists, depending on the amount of money they invested in promoting their music. The internet has freed artists from dependence on record labels, and many artists market and distribute their music independently through social media and streaming platforms at a much lower cost. To stay in business, given the reality of the digital age, record labels now offer so-called 360 deals to artists that give them a cut of all the artist’s work, including album sales, media appearances, and product endorsements. One such established record label is owned by Stan Wittenberg, who with his imprint “TRIBAL TRAP “have become one of the foremost trap genre based entities around the globe.
Today we had the pleasure of interviewing Stan, where he talks about his legacy of building a successful music business company.
Interviewer – The first and the most obvious question – Why did you see a need or the certainty to start tribal trap?
Stan –Back when I started Tribal Trap in 2014, trap was such an underground genre that really did not have any central place to keep updated with what was happening in the scene. I started Tribal Trap as a channel to showcase the best trap in 1 place, making it easier for people to stay updated on what’s new without having to browse dozens of Soundcloud pages all the time. At that time, it was mostly about curating the best third party content I could find from artists that I worked with. Once Tribal Trap evolved into a record label later on the mission stayed the same, just with a different approach where all the content is original and produced for Tribal Trap specifically, which I think gave us an extra edge over other promotional channels at the time.
Interviewer – What were the difficulties you faced while building Tribal Trap into one of the most prominent trap labels?
Stan – I have no formal background in music (except a short music business and music production study at SAE), so I had to figure out a lot of things on the go/myself. The music industry is a very challenging industry to navigate with trends that are shifting more and more quickly each year. The switch in focus from YouTube – to Soundcloud, to Spotify within just a few years was especially challenging – without prior experience I had to rely on a lot of trial and error. I made many mistakes but luckily learned a lot from most of them. Trial and error is what made me more mature in terms of handling my brand.
Interviewer – Tribal Trap releases about 20+ releases a month (that’s what I have been told). Is it because you want to provide fresher music daily or is there any other specific reason?
Stan – We often release more than 20 releases a month. When we were a promotional channel there were daily uploads, so once we started transitioning to a record label it quickly became a goal of ours to provide people with the same amount of content, but more ‘exclusive’. The main reason however is just that we work with a lot of talented artists that are releasing music very frequently, so at that point you don’t need a huge roster to have a busy schedule. (Interviewer – Tribal Trap may release in quantity but also has a strong focus on quality as well)
Interviewer – Talk to me about the side that the artists or public does not see. What does the team look like? (Structure within the company) everything that happens day to day in the office.
Stan – Up until a year or two ago the team consisted of just me. Luckily I have a lot of much needed reinforcements now – in The Netherlands we have 4, soon to be 5 people working on Tribal Trap and the other Tribal Music Group brands. We have a content team of 3 people in South Asia, and a team of several dedicated designers from all over the world. I’m still doing most of the A&R (Artist and Repertoire) myself as I think it’s important to maintain a consistent direction in musical style and choice of music. Most of this expansion has been very recent so while the public may not notice, I’d like to think they soon will – we’re working on a lot of new ideas and feel like 2022 is our time to shine.
Interviewer – Final question – What’s coming up in 2022
Stan – So many things. We’re working on very exciting new YouTube visuals and many new releases with a lot of names that are familiar to people that have listened to the label before. We’re also looking at potentially setting up a first Tribal Trap tour as well as expanding more into the world of NFTs (after our first 10 NFT releases in 2021), and much more. Exciting year ahead!
Learn more about them at https://tribalmusicgroup.com