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Thursday, February 16, 2012


We live in a day and age where releasing your own record is currently both more difficult and much easier at the same time. With the decline of major record labels as well as the rapidly changing music business as we (used to) know it, artists no longer have access to major backing and support. CD and record stores have all but disappeared. And purchasing local music is pretty much a thing of the past.

But this can change. Because of the Internet, social media, and the rapidly dropping cost of recording equipment, we artists have the ability to do a lot for ourselves. At no time in history has this been truer than right now.

In these times, a high quality Grammy worthy CD can be recorded in your bedroom. I know, because I did exactly that. My “Yin Yang” double CD was recorded mostly in a spare bedroom long before I had a “real” studio.. “Yin Yang” was also nominated for a Grammy. Think about that, a Grammy nominated double CD recorded in a bedroom. (And, it’s only getting easier)

I’ve had better and worse experiences with record labels. I’ve been on three different labels as a solo artist and even more as a member of a band. Although I’ve had different experiences with each label, I’m pretty much disillusioned with all of them. My conclusion? In general, record labels do more to support themselves than they do to support artists. I would love to be wrong about that statement.

When a CD sells for ten dollars or more, I used to think that most of the income from those sales went to the artists. In case you didn’t know, it doesn’t - but shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t an artist receive, at least, most of the income from the sales of the product he/she created? That makes sense to me. On most labels, an artist is lucky to receive more than one dollar from a fifteen-dollar record sale. That is ridiculous!

To rectify the issues I see happening around the world, I decided to start my own record label. Good or bad, that’s what I did. Now, what does that mean? It doesn’t really mean anything – AND – it also means everything!!!

Anyone can take something as cheap as a cassette recorder, record some music, make copies, sell them, and - voila! - Instant record label. It’s that easy. That’s really all I’m doing. The great thing about it is that doing it this way allows you to know exactly where all the money (in-come and out-come) is going. You also get to make the choices as to how that money is used. The down sides are that we don’t have access to the same channels, connections, distribution, finances, and marketing that major labels do. But, we may have something better.

With the emergence, popularity, convenience, and understanding of social media platforms such as, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even regular email, we are able to connect with the world – instantly! The best part of this is that the people we usually connect with are already our friends. This equates to instant fans. In other words, these are the people that will buy your product, and if they like your product, they will tell their friends about it. But remember, if they don’t like your product, they will tell their friends about it. The interesting thing is this; If your friends really like you, they will support you whether they like your product or not. Labels don’t have this benefit.

Now, here’s the horrible reality of those statements. When it comes to supporting musicians, musicians are the WORST supporters. Musicians, especially “professional” musicians, rarely buy music – we expect to get it for free. And if we are personal friends with an artist, “there’s no way I’m gonna buy their record.” We expect the artist to give it to us.

We also don’t go out to see music unless we’re put on a “guest list”. I get calls ALL THE TIME from friends (or so called friends) saying, “Hey man, I hear you’re playing in town. I’d love to come see you tonight.” If they really wanted to come see me, they would buy a ticket. What they’re really asking is for me to get them into the show for free. And when I don’t get them tickets, they don’t come to the show. This is totally ridiculous and needs to stop. Think about it, if we don’t support each other, we have no right to expect anyone else to.

Last year, I started my own label – VIX RECORDS ( The label is putting out great music, and I’m asking for your support. I’ll tell you straight. I need your support. Not only because I need the income to reinvest back into the label, but because it’s the right thing to do. We’ve complained about record labels, record prices, and other things long enough. Now, the power is in our hands. The ball is in our courts. I’m taking that ball and running with it (and you should too.) We’re all on the same team and there’s room for all of us to get in the game. Understand this: I play hard – fair, but hard. I plan on scoring a touchdown, making a reverse slam-dunk, hitting a homerun – a grand slam as a matter of fact. But, I’m not naive. I know that I can’t do it by myself. I need my teammates. We need each other.

I have more than 200,000 friends on social media platforms. What would happen if each one of you bought a product from my label or store? Even if a quarter of you bought a CD it would be more than I ever sold on another label. Not only would this help me, it would help all musicians and independent labels by sending a clear and direct message that we are in control, and no longer will we be taken advantage of. Best of all, it would (will) inspire the rest of us to hit our own homeruns.

VIX RECORDS has just release “2012?”, the newest music from J. D. Blair (The Groove Regulator). Go buy it! Go buy it now.

In May, I’ll be releasing a new CD featuring a collection of female vocalists. At the same time, I’ll release an instrumental version of the same record (two new CDs at the same time). Buy them! And, encourage your friends to buy them.

It’s that simple. Yes! This is a promotional plea from me – Victor L. Wooten – but, it is much more than that. You may not understand how important it is.

You may not be an “Idol” or have the “Voice” to become a household name, but there are people out there, lot’s of people, who want to support you and hear your music. By supporting each other in a real way, we have the ability of reshaping and revitalizing our music business. We can actually make it about "Music" once again, and for the first time, make it possible for ALL artists to own and get paid for our creations. Remember, keep it honest, be yourself, and always thank your supporters.

Thank you for your time, your attention, and your support. I will do my best to continue making it worth your while.

Much Peace, Love, and Music!


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