Who is Mint 400 Records?
Well if you got the time and really want to know: http://www.jerseybeat.com/mint400.html , The shorter story is below:
Hi, my name is Neil Sabatino (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Sabatino) and I started this record label out of my apartment back in 2007. I had been in bands for many years and dealt with all sizes and kinds of record labels. I started the label at first because my own band needed a label to release all of our material under. At the time Fairmont (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairmont_(band)) had about 7 releases that were all released under various labels and none of which existed anymore. So we were able to get ourselves a digital distro deal and were considered a label because we had so many releases under our belts.
I had always wanted to start a label but in the times before everything went digital there was too much money that had to be invested to get physical products out to a store. As well the model for physical record distribution was not made for small bands and labels to succeed. I had learned in previous years that you could sell a thousand CD's or more and have your distributor turn around and say we have no money for you. The model I wanted to set up was for bands to be able to be as prolific as possible but not have to pay close to anything to get their records out. That was how my first signings happened. I was new to producing at the time but was able to help a local band called Theodore Grimm record some of their first EP's for under a few hundred dollars and get them out to the world.
I had been around the block and knew that most bands spend more and more on record after record. I myself had gone from humble recordings that cost me 100-700$ for a full length album to then spending well over 5,000$ a record and knew that if I wished to make records for years to come that this was not sustainable. What I did next was slowly over the course of the next few years was build my own studio specifically for the purpose of recording records for the bands on my record label which you can read about here: http://www.jerseybeat.com/homerec.html
My philosphy on records is that good songwriters make good records and little else matters. I didn't want to make my label revolve around anything but music and I wanted to provide a way for the artists I signed to record as much as possible and basically say screw all of the other bullshit that has become the music industry. Sure if you love hearing about yourself you can hire a high priced publicist that might get you written about by a 100 blogs that a total of 6 people read. This label is not about begging Pitchfork, Stereogum or Brooklyn Vegan to write about us. This label is not about selling our souls to play SXSW or on some other festival. This label is not about Pandora or bullshit stations that make you jump through hoops just to play your music. This label is about music. Through keeping overhead costs down we are able to make a ton of records with a ton of bands and get them out to radio and out for licensing and that is what we are about. We don't have glossy pictures of every artist or fancy 50,000$ videos. What we do have are amazing bands that write amazing records.
I personally reject the way that the music industry is structured. The major labels love to scoop up these young bands who are broke and put them on the road for 5 years to promote their shitty album that cost them a million dollars to make. In the end the only one getting rich 95% of the time is the corporate label and nobody else. Mint 400 is about songwriters and great musicians making records in their bedrooms or a basement, records with meaning. Records that are made most of the time for free or at very little cost, records that have taken months to make. The only thing we pursue for our labels music are things that get our records heard such as radio, licensing and digital distro. Mint 400 is about the cool creative endeavors like when we covered the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" and we gave it away for free, because it was about just being creative and having fun. We exist outside the norm of the music industry and we hope that our business model becomes the norm of the future. Where labels concern themselves only with putting out good music that is accessible, cheap and for the fans.
Mint 400 has grown since 2007 from a label that was my band Fairmont and my cousins band Theodore Grimm, to become a label that houses a roster of close to 40 artists and over 90 releases. With each artist we try to become for them whatever they need us to be. Whether they need a record produced, engineered, mixed and mastered, album artwork, digital distro, PR, a website, or tour help. We try to do it all without any cost to the artist. Mint 400 is record label that is buit for creative bands concerned with putting out many records for years to come and really honing their craft.
The name Mint 400?
The name Mint 400 kind of came up as a joke. I had started sending my bands material out to various people, like venues whenever we were booking a tour or something and I just came up with a fake label name that I thought sounded somewhat professional and was kind of vague. I got the name from the Hunter S. Thompson book Fear and Loathing in Les Vegas. The Mint 400 is a motorcycle race that he is supposed to be covering. At the time I just liked the ring of the name and also had the logo in mind. However I liked the idea of Thompson being a total outcast that was considered not a real journalist at the time, who chose to not even write about the race he was hired to cover. I am guessing that some of the "real" journalists probably considered him a joke and now he's a legend who will go down in history as one of the greatest authors of an era. Now I'm not saying we're legends or anything but we know a lot of labels with a lot less talent that get a lot more attention than us. Now that we're going on to almost a decade of existing, it feels like it just fits and has grown with us.
Submitting music to Mint 400?
Please don't get offended, we can't sign every band, even if you do like our views or what we have to say. We ask that you send us streaming music only on a site like Soundcloud. You can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org . We literally listen to every submission so please don't waste our time. We are looking for unique songs and songwriters. If you send us just pictures or kareoke versions of top 40 hits we probably won't respond back to you (Yes, both of these things have happened). However we do try to respond back to everyone who submits something to us. We are open to many kinds of music and are very focused on songwriting. That being said, we may enjoy your music and may think it's amazing but still not be able to sign you. Also it really helps if you know how to structure a letter, use correct grammar and if you are looking for a response back and you just literally send us a link we probably are going to assume it's spam.
DOWNLOAD OUR LOGOS:
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
1. Can you sign my band? First read this: http://www.jerseybeat.com/mint400.html Now, are you still interested? Then send me a link to some streaming music. We cannot respond to everyone, but we will be in contact if we are interested in working with you.
2. What kinds of bands are you looking for? I am looking for bands that fit with the aesthetic of the label. I like a lot of different kinds of music and on the label we have everything from old timey country to surf to indie rock to 60's motown. What I am most interested in is great songwriting and an original singing voice. I also would like to know you have been out there for a little while, played shows, made demos and records. Don't send us your material if you just picked up an instrument in the last year.
3. What do you do for bands? We do digital distro, recording, producing, engineering, mastering, video editing, web design, art & graphic design, music licensing, radio promotion and a little PR. Some bands need all of our services and some do not, but we are more then willing to help with every aspect of your music career.
4. What don't you do? We do not give cash advances and we don't press records for unproven bands.
5. So are you a real label? You see my friend, there are plenty of rich kids who start record labels and then offer to press lots of records for you. Those records I promise will sit indefinitely in someones basement. We instead concern ourselves with actually saving you time and money. Our goal is for you to actually make money and further your musical career.
6. Where can I license music from bands on your label? We use Parma Music Licensing, Dearth Music Licensing and Rumblefish Music Licensing, please contact them and they will give you all the info on that sort of thing.
7. Can I intern for you? YES, please, especially if you have any graphic design skills or writing skills.
8. Are you hiring? Nope, sorry, it's a one man show right now...
9. Do you help charities? We would love to help any charity organizations in any way possible. We would love to give you free music to giveaway or have our bands play at your event, just let us know.
10. Can I interview or review one of your bands? Yes, please just let us know for what publication or website and we will send you all necessary music and info.