For those who are creative, motivated, and crazy enough to make music.
80/20 Records is an independent record label and management company. The concept of 80/20 is based on the Pareto principle, which is found everywhere! For an example, usually 20% of fans makes 80% of what an artist makes, 20% of your efforts create 80% of your results, and so on.
This blew our minds so we decided to run with it, not just as a philosophy of how we run things, but also how we can create a company in which we give back as much as possible to our artists and our community.
How we got started
Co-Founder Michael Zimmerlich wanted to be an entrepreneur since senior year of high school when he sold ‘video yearbooks’ on DVD to his fellow classmates. During college, he would have two notepads: one for taking class notes and another dedicated to any ideas that popped into his head. Using his passion for music and technology, he decided to create an internet radio music website with one of his best friends, Zach Nation, where artists could stream their tracks as well as connect to each other for feedback.
If this sounds similar to Pandora and last.fm, that’s because it was. By the time it launched it was so behind from the giants that Mike and Zach knew they had to go in a different direction. When they launched the website they realized a community was forming with the artists, providing feedback and encouragement with each other. They also discovered that so many artists weren’t sure what to do with their music. That’s when Zach suggested they start a record label. So Mike bought two books, one on record label marketing and the other on music law. Their first artist was a friend who created electronic music and they figured out how to get him on iTunes. Months later, they signed a pop punk band in Tempe, AZ and 80/20 Records was officially off the ground. Zach ended up receiving a position at Microsoft so Mike took the mantle for running the company. From then on it was all trial and error, learning from mistakes and following the examples of organizations and individuals that they’ve admired.
Where we are now
After 13 years 80/20 Records has represented over 26 artists and released dozens of albums, singles, and music videos. Artists we’ve represented have opened for acts such as Beck, Animal Collective, and MR MS.
We’ve helped artists go on tour and perform at CMJ, Vans Warped Tour, Summerfest, The NAMM Show, and others, raised over $80,000 for music albums through crowdfunding, hosted several shows, volunteered for our community and organizations, and many more. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we feel this is just the beginning of our story.