On a fall outing at the Rat in 1993, a small group of graduate music business students decided to start something that had the potential to develop up-and-coming musicians. They wanted to call it something that tied into the school theme, but Hurricane Records was already being used. So they shortened the name to ‘Cane Records and the student-run record label was born.
‘Cane Records started as a platform for UM students to gain hands-on experience in the record industry by developing one musical act at a time. The developmental process included creating the artists’ image and sound, financial support, recording the music, promoting the artist and trying to get them signed to a record label.
With changes in the record industry, most of the developmental process is now the artist’s responsibility before they are signed to a record label. Over the last 11 years ‘Cane Record’s focus transitioned to promotion but in a third party manner, as to not compromise the artist’s rights. Because of this, ‘Cane Records started the Breaking the Surface Project in 2011.
The project features 12 unsigned artists across the U.S. whom have no legal obligations to a record company or publisher. In turn, ‘Cane Records promotes a song they select for the compilation and offer the artists career advice.
“It’s great because it gives these artists another outlet to promote their music,” said ‘Cane Records President Katie Bessemer. “Being in Miami is beneficial for a lot of artists because they usually don’t get to the South Florida community since the music community is pretty small and niche.”
Artists from across the country submit their music and if selected, an artist and repertoire (A&R) process takes place. A&R is when the staff analyzes the music and selects what kind of flow and sound they want the compilation to have.
The staff considers things such as the overall image of the artist, how developed they are and most importantly, the quality of the master recording.
“Each artist encompasses a different genre and we want to incorporate each mismatched feeling to give the listeners and industry professionals a broader spectrum of the music industry itself,” Bessemer said.
With a new year comes a new version of Breaking the Surface and its subsequent events including a release party at The Rat on Thursday, Feb. 27, and a performance at Tobacco Road in Brickell on March 27.
‘Inside ‘Cane Records’ is a Distraction Magazine series profiling the student-run imprint and its current roster of up-and-coming artists. This is the first installment of that series.
words_nicole saunders. photos_courtesy of ‘cane records.