Starting in 1988 as a pathway for founder, Robert Kampf to self-release his band’s debut album, the German rocker never envisioned his label, Century Media Records, would take the rock world by storm and grow into the premier indie label for rock and metal music worldwide. This year, Century Media celebrates its 25th anniversary representing 116 bands through 10 offices globally.
Though the road was never an easy one for the label as they weathered through the evolutions of rock in the music world through the years, they stuck to their guns catering to the underground world of hardcore rock and defining death metal particularly in the European markets early on. Diversifying to the United States and its more mainstream metal has paid off dividends broadening its audiences with electrifying talent.
They have a knack for recruiting virtually unknown bands and turning them into household names for any rock fan. 2013 saw the emergence of bands such as Otherwise, Butcher Babies, Eyes Set to Kill and Girl on Fire break out from nowhere and become all the talk at huge festivals such as Monster Energy’s Welcome to Rockville, Rocklahoma and the summer-long Mayhem Fest. Los Angeles-based In This Moment has had its best year ever gaining popularity with a seemingly never-ending tour schedule promoting their latest album, Blood. They are showing no signs of slowing down in 2014 as they continue headlining their Hellpop Tour with label mates, Butcher Babies.
The secret to their success is their recruitment of quality talent. Butcher Babies’ Heidi Shepherd explains, “They are very hands-on when it comes to meeting bands at shows. There’s not a lot of labels that do that these days. They go out and research. They came out and watched us for two years before we signed with them.”
In This Moment’s Chris Howorth explains further, “They’re smart. They were underground but they’re starting to kind of break through that now. They’re one of the biggest independent labels there is. The thing is, they let the bands be the band. That’s what they’ve always done for us. Let us be who we are every step of the way. That’s what they do for all their bands. And they have an eye for what’s going on without letting anything slip by. They’re grabbing any band they see that might be pretty good and try to help them further their career. The secret to their success is not interfering too much, only when needed. Interfere if a band needs help, but don’t try to change the band into something that it’s not. What they’ve done with us is just let us be who we are.”
With such positive internal customer service in taking care of their bands, the sky’s the limit for the future of Century Media Records. If the bands are happy, they will put out quality products in records and shows. In turn, fans love the products that the bands produce and don’t mind spending their hard-earned dollar for quality entertainment. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.