Average Joes Entertainment Marks 10th Anniversary, Looks to the Future

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“As an impartial file label goes in Nashville, and definitely so far as one which’s been somewhat completely different than regular, it is a fairly unbelievable success story,” says Colt Ford.

Celebrating a diamond anniversary as an impartial file label is a uncommon incidence. But for Nashville’s Average Joes Entertainment, the multi-media firm has not solely survived, however thrived by discovering a distinct segment that units it aside from the traditional radio-dependent enterprise mannequin.

To commemorate the event, final month the corporate launched an 18-track assortment, Average Joes: 10 Years, obtainable by means of Walmart and streaming companies, that includes such artists as Colt Ford, Montgomery Gentry, Bubba Sparxxx, Brantley Gilbert, the LACs and Sunny Ledfurd. Syndicated outlet Nashville Insider will run a 10-minute documentary on Average Joes’ background, then on Nov. 28 the corporate will maintain a 10th anniversary bash at Nashville’s The Listening Room. 

Country rapper Ford, who’s the label’s greatest artist and considered one of its founders and house owners, says it has been fairly the rewarding decade.

“It's been an unbelievable journey. It ain't been roses on a regular basis. It's been powerful with me being completely different … It ain't like we had Tim McGraw to be the flagship artist or Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan,” Ford says. “As an impartial file label goes in Nashville, and definitely so far as one which's been somewhat completely different than regular, it's a reasonably unbelievable success story.”

Since 2008’s Ride Through The Country, Ford has charted seven albums for the label, with 2012’s Declaration of Independence debuting atop Billboard’s Country Albums chart — and hitting No. 5 on the Billboard 200. Ford says that was a second that stands as a private — and a label — spotlight.

“To have a file that finally ends up being No. 1 on the nation chart was only a testimony to the folks and the music that this wasn't made up, some sort of gimmick or something,” he says.

Whether it’s been Montgomery Gentry — whose “Where I Come From” offered Average Joes with its first prime 10 on the Billboard Country Songs chart and its first gold album or rap-flavored acts comparable to The Lacs, who file for the label’s subsidiary, Backroad Records, the mission has all the time been to let the artists create and get out of the way in which.

“The preliminary thought and enterprise mannequin for us was that we wished it to be honest for the artists,” Ford says. That meant from the beginning, along with artistic freedom, the label provided 50/50 splits after bills (a transfer different Nashville file firms have since adopted). 

Average Joes additionally relied on social media greater than radio play. “The unique plan was to construct direct-to-fan portals  each artist and label knowledge foundation and socials,” says co-founder and CEO/president Shannon Houchins. “And then nurture these relationships with on the bottom activations excursions — some self-promoted just like the Declaration of Independence Tour in 2012 — and with occasions like Mega-Truck Series of races which we acquired in 2014. We additionally leaned in early on in constructing our Youtube multi-channel community and made certain that it was each a label income stream and a stand-alone entity by being a distribution and promotion platform for out of doors content material creators.”  

While Average Joes doesn’t shun radio play, Houchins says, “When we do method radio, it's by no means our focus. In a means, we go round them on to the fan, however on the identical time ensure that they know we’re right here and are grateful for any assist we get.” 

With the assist of true believers from the beginning, together with indie publicist Ebie McFarland and lawyer Scott Safford, Average Joes discovered its means increasing into non-traditional areas, together with a comic book e-book sequence selling the artists on the label. Average Joes’ movie firm, Hideout Pictures, has produced Billy Ray Cyrus’ CMT sequence Still The King, in addition to the upcoming Kate Walsh and Omar Epps movie, 3022. The firm has pumped $30 million into the Nashville movie economic system over the previous two years and simply established a $10 million movie fund to spend money on future productions. Houchins says that such diversification has saved issues attention-grabbing.

“People would ask me what we do, and I say, ‘At the tip of the day, we're a content material firm and a advertising firm,’" he says. "We’ve constructed this large database of people that we direct market to. If you concentrate on it, we make an album and there are perhaps 12 songs on it, however there's most likely near 100 items of out of doors content material that goes together with that that may be monetized as effectively. Then you consider all of the fan-created content material that we’re capable of monetize as effectively and at that time, the music is the smallest piece of content material in the entire. We [zoned] in on that and stated, ‘Okay, let's make comedian books, we will get folks to purchase them. Let's make TV exhibits.’ As lengthy as we will make stuff and it feeds my creativity. I'm all the time desirous to attempt one thing new.”

As for the following 10 years, the long run shines vibrant, says Houchins. “Everything's going nice, we develop each single yr and that's the important thing. We've positioned ourselves in an amazing place. I'm excited as we dive into extra ventures [and] proceed creating stuff. That's what I love to do.”