10 Questions with ... Steve Richardson
September 7, 2014
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Steve Richardson is an accomplished businessman who has founded, directed, managed and/or rejuvenated a wide variety of companies in industries ranging from technology to aviation, to automotive, security, a national law firm, and entertainment.
In 1996, he was named Director of Technology for Silas Creek Retail, Inc., where he developed an Internet-based retail system for 148 retail stores along the East Coast. Later, he became director of IT for Miami Executive Aviation, an international private aviation company. In 2000 he was named CEO of earlyAlert Inc., a disaster and emergency management consulting firm.
He joined Wilkes & McHugh, P.A., a national civil litigation law firm, about 15 years ago as a data security consultant. It wasn't long before firm founder, Jim Wilkes, recognized Richardson's skill and extreme versatility. He convinced him to join the firm full time. Since then, Richardson has taken on additional roles overseeing IT, HR, and Finance departments. He also has been responsible for creating, developing and/or overseeing myriad other businesses and investment ventures.
In 2013, Richardson was named president of Streamsound Music Group. He is responsible for managing all aspects of brand and business development, which includes but is not limited to, overseeing the labels finances, contractual issues, artist development, marketing and publicity, and sales. He also is the group's liaison to all external companies and is in charge of building relationships for future developments.
1. Steve, thanks for taking time to tackle 10 Questions! You have a diverse and successful background in business, but music is a relatively new venture for you. How did you get here?
I have worked in a variety of businesses in different industries. I've been blessed to have success along the way. In my journey I've met some great people. One of those being Jim Wilkes, the co-founder of our label. We have worked together for many years and when he asked me to join the label, I jumped at the opportunity
2. Not having cut your teeth, so to speak, in the music biz, your previous background perhaps gives you a fresh perspective on it. What's your first take on the Country music world and how can Streamsound be a difference-maker in it?
The music industry is a relationship business. Over the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of meeting radio, label, management and industry people across the nation. The country music world has a flow in how it works. My take has been to learn every aspect of the business and position ourselves to impact the industry in a measurable way. Streamsound is more than a label. We are a diverse company inclusive of a publishing group, a technology division and most importantly a team of people dedicated to its success.
3. I'm looking at a recent Mediabase Country singles chart and the top 30 is completely devoid of artists from a boutique label such as Streamsound. What will it take for your artists to get there?
This is a tough business. Independent labels have to work hard to break through. Playlists are tight and your product must stand out to have success. I tell my team we have to think outside the box and find creative ways to expose our artists and their stories. In the end, it's about the music and how it resonates with a vast audience. I'm confident in our roster and I believe that with the talent we have in Austin Webb, Dakota Bradley, Jaida Dreyer and Kristian Bush we will have chart success.
4. Speaking of your artists, Kristian Bush has recently joined Austin Webb, Jaida Dreyer and Dakota Bradley on the Streamsound roster. How has radio responded to Kristian so far when you've visited stations?
We have had an amazing response at radio for Kristian Bush. We were in the Top three Most added for our first week and had double digit adds five consecutive weeks with continued growth. Kristian's song has mass-appeal and speaks a message that we all should listen to. As he tours the country visiting radio and performing, his music has been well received and listeners are responding. He has a hard working mentality and a genuine personality to match. It has been great to see this all unfold
5. It can be challenging to launch a solo career with an artist who was previously part of a super group, such as Sugarland. What was it about Kristian and his music that made you take on this challenge?
Byron Gallimore, co-owner of our label, has worked with Kristian for many years. After hearing the collection of over 300 songs that Kristian wrote, he knew we had to get his music out to the public. Kristian is a gifted performer and writer. His first solo single, "Trailer Hitch,", is just the beginning of great music to come.
6. Also, radio has talked a lot about Austin Webb being an amazing talent. How does he breakthrough in an environment so rich with young, male artists?
Radio has recognized Austin's talent and we are very grateful for their support. Austin has a unique voice and style all his own. He's soulful and entertaining. He engages his fans at a personal level and has a dynamic and entertaining personality. Once people see him entertain live they want more. He stands out as an artist. Austin's first release, "Slip on By," broke the Top 40 earlier this year. This is just the beginning for Austin. We are very excited about his career.
7. The additional component of Streamsound is Red Vinyl Music, which has enjoyed a couple,#1 songs, plus CMA and Grammy nods. What's the potential of this arm of your company?
We have had great success with our publishing company, Red Vinyl. In 2013 we had two #1's along with other charted singles. This year we have singles that are moving up the chart quickly and others coming from some of the biggest names in the industry. We have a great publishing team along with amazing writers. Their relentless efforts have elevated Red Vinyl to its current success. Our potential continues to grow and we have more hits on the way.
8. Streamsound has recently re-tooled its team, by adding Teddi Bonadies as VP/Promotion & Marketing Strategy. She, in turn, revamped the promo staff, adding Jennifer Shaffer and Jon Conlon, both respected industry vets. How is the new structure feeling to you so far?
Talented people are always the basis of a great organization. The past few months I have gone to great lengths to ensure that our team consists of the best in the industry. The team that we have assembled represents an amazing group of people, who are dedicated to the success of this company and taking our artists to the next level. With our new team in place I'm confident that we have what it to takes to be a formidable player in this market.
9. One constant since Streamsound's formation has been Byron Gallimore. What have you learned about Country music and making records from being around him?
Byron is a true visionary and veteran in the music industry. As a co-founder of our label, he plays a major part in Streamsound's vision and direction. Byron does an amazing job of finding and cultivating our talent and has proven this throughout his career. On making a record, the most important thing that I have learned from Bryon is that finding a hit song is no easy task. The amount of work that goes into producing a record is no small feat. People truly underestimate how much it takes. With Byron producing our music and his vision for the label I'm confident that Streamsound will have great success.
10. What were the defining songs and artists for you growing up?
There has never been a specific artist or song that has defined me. I have always enjoyed a broad mix of music throughout my life. In my youth I listened to the likes of Guns-N-Roses, Tom Petty and Journey. In my 20's, jazz became an important fixture in my life. As I entered my 30's, Country music took over as the genre of choice. Country music is great in the fact that it is all about the story. It's very compelling to listen to; especially if you can easily relate it back to an experience you may have had in your life.