Chart Noise is a music business consulting firm founded by CEO Robert Morrison.
Our MISSION is to provide a FAIR, RELIABLE and HONEST environment for Chart Noise clients to learn, utilize and exploit the business of music.
Robert Morrison has been involved in the business of music for over 30 years, beginning his career as a performing musician in Southern California while still in high school. In 1984, He became a manager trainee for Torrance, CA. based Wherehouse Entertainment. He took on management positions at 3 So. Cal record stores and attended the Wherehouse corporate training program where he graduated at the top of his class. Within a year, he had accepted a position in the corporate office as data entry clerk for the Music Buying department for the chain, and shortly thereafter, accepted a position as the Head of Order Service where he was responsible for over 300 new store openings and the initial product mix for all product lines the stores would carry. From there, in 1987 he accepted a position as Singles Buyer for the chain which had grown to over 600 store locations on the West Coast.
In 1994, Robert took a position with Connecticut-based CD One Stop, as Head Buyer in charge of 9 staff buyers and a $45 million inventory and left as the Director of Purchasing in 1996. That year he joined a small emerging “internet only” record label in Wilton, Connecticut named J-Bird Records as Vice President of Sales & Operations. On the cusp of the digital revolution when we still called the internet the “World Wide Web,” the label attracted some very well known artists in Billy Squier, Rockapella, Lee Rocker (The Stray Cats), John Entwistle (The Who), The Rembrandts, and Boy George. Morrison secured distribution and developed all the retail initiatives for the label and managed a roster of over 600 artists.
With a passion for independent artists, in the winter of 2001, Morrison opened a consulting firm named Chart Noise. Its mission was to develop new talent, smaller labels and assist smaller distribution companies with their operational initiatives. He then took on the role of Sr. VP of Sales & Operations at Midas Records (Jessie Daniels, Rush of Fools, Whiskey Falls, The Weather Channel Presents, and Emerson Drive). While with Midas he grew the label’s Christian Division to national prominence with both Jessie Daniels and Rush of Fools. Rush of Fools was the 2nd Best Selling New Artist of 2007 and their single UNDO was ASCAP’s Song of the Year for 2007.
Robert has been happily married for 25 years. He has two children, both attending college. In July of 2008 the family moved to the Nashville area and now resides in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Association and professional affiliations that Robert Morrison has been involved with include the following:
Boy Scouts of America
Country Music Association
Gospel Music Association
Association for Independent Musicians
1415 Kensington Drive
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
(615) 624-6775 office
(615) 396-8398 fax
Chart Noise is a group of consultants whose collective mission is to develop, promote and market artists and their music. Additionally, we can help independent labels develop a higher level of organization to further their development by targeting and executing their needs in sales, marketing & promotion and some business management functions. The company was formed in the winter of 2001 when President and CEO Robert Morrison, a 25 year industry vet, began to see a need for an alternative to the traditional industry models, a need to remove the guess work from the independent sector, and to find opportunities for new and creative artists to develop their careers. Every band and label is unique in its own way and Chart Noise will help develop plans which highlight those areas where each band or label sets themselves apart from their competition. Chart Noise offers a strategic group of consultants, advisors, and friends with years of experience focused on answering those needs created by a shrinking and at times chaotic industry. Give us a call for a more detailed look into the years of experience and skills Chart Noise offers.
Chart Noise is founded on the belief that Every Artist Deserves the Chance to be Heard! We will assist you in developing that chance for your vision to be seen, your music to be heard and your business to grow.
All business in this industry starts with the individual artist and the creative process they use to bring an emotion to life. After all, it’s emotion that we’re selling, and the connection with a consumer on an emotional level is what makes good music GREAT!
Yet, while emotion and passion are critical elements; they are simply not enough to succeed in this business. The more prepared an artist is, and the more organized their business platforms are (whether an operating label or as an individual artist), then the better the chance is for that artist to be heard and their business to grow, creating impactful and lasting connections in the industry and extending their reach into the consumer marketplace.
To that end, Chart Noise has been built around the basic tenets of Trust & Honesty, Reliability & Experience, and Integrity & Fairness, to help you build a team that you can count on, a support system that shares in your creative vision and is prepared to consistently meet your needs.
With years of unique experience, our dedicated consultants and staff can regularly provide strong business support coupled with a passion for music, discovery and innovation. Whether it’s a short term set-up plan or longer term strategies, we offer you the opportunity to better understand the concepts and processes in this ever-changing sometime chaotic world of Music Business.
We look forward to exploring your vision and helping you make some Noise on the Charts!
President & CEO
Chart Noise Inc.
Distribution with Bob Morrison
May 23, 2012
Have you created enough demand that physical distribution matters?
Bob Morrison is a music industry veteran. With a career that spans over thirty years, he currently runs a music business consulting firm called Chart Noise and serves as the VP Catalog and Special Markets for eOne Music. Recently I was able to talk with him about distribution and the role it plays in the music industry. After a ton of deliberation, we came upon some interesting points you may have been overlooking all along and can apply to your own career.
Because CDs are not completely irrelevant JUST yet, we are all familiar with buying a CD or a record in a store – whether it be at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Lifeway or Grimey’s. How do those CDs and records actually get there though? If you’re an artist, you’ve either figured this out already or you’re wondering how to distribute your music. Rewind even further – maybe you’re wondering if it’s even necessary, that maybe offering your music should solely be within the digital world now.
So what is the definition of distribution, anyway? Believe it or not, there is no easy answer to this question. Especially in today’s world, anyone can sign up with TuneCore and have their music distributed digitally across all the go-to services: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Rhapsody, Zune, Simfy, Deezer. Many artists love the convenience factor (seriously, I just created an account in 30 seconds). In fact it’s so easy that the company boasts, “Sell your music online in three easy steps: upload your music, upload your art, pick your stores…and you’re done.”
But what about physical distribution? Like a lot of things in the online world, the Internet seems to make more sense in today’s culture. But maybe you’re “old fashioned.” You’re an artist who, for whatever reason, has pressed physical CDs and records, and you want to distribute your music in Wal-Mart, Target, or maybe just a few local record stores. Seems a little more difficult when you’re just starting out, doesn’t it? Look at it this way: “You have to get people into the store to buy your record before distribution matters at all,” Bob says. As an artist, are you relevant enough that people are willing to get up off their couch, drive to the nearest store, deliberately pull your album off the shelf and purchase it? If the answer is no or you’re not sure, then you have a lot more to focus on before you even start thinking about distribution. You have to create awareness and a compelling story before you can make any sales at all. And how to do you generate sales? No, you don’t promote it. Of course promotion is essential, but that doesn’t always make the listener swipe their credit card in the end. You make the listener need your music.
You create demand.
“Distribution is almost the last piece of the puzzle,” Bob says. The only way distribution in any shape or form is ever going to matter to you is if you create enough demand for your music. And no, contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be spinning on the radio for physical distribution to matter. A charting single or album does indeed make distribution more logical and creates a consumer-directed awareness, but there are exceptions to every rule, and many artists out there do just fine without radio.
“It goes back to focus and vision,” Bob says. Radio is segmented, and when you realize all the number of formats – Rock, Top 40, Hot AC, AC, CHR, Alternative, INSPO, AAA, Monitored, Indicator, Non-Reporters, Reporters – in addition to how many fragmented genres of music there are, an artist really needs to play to the specific vision for who they are and who their audience is. After all, this is the music business of the twenty-first century. “There are many examples of artists creating careers without significant airplay,” Bob says. “They’ve worked very hard over the years to build strong touring bases and have been very purposeful about communicating with and growing their fanbase as well. These artists are making a living through other awareness mediums, such as social networking, YouTube, Facebook, etc. Radio didn’t start them, nor did it sustain them early on in their careers; yet by staying focused, the artists created a need for their music.”
Many other artists continue to fight the industry standard, and some reap serious benefits because of it. Canadian artist Jon Bauer, for example, does extremely well. A recent Independent Music Award winner and Contemporary Christian Album of the Year recipient, Jon tours about 150-200 dates a year, many of which are based in the United States. He recently just wrapped up fourteen days on the road in support of the Canadian leg of Michael W. Smith’s world tour. As a successful career artist, Jon has been building and creating demand here in the United States. “He’s making an impact from the road,” Bob comments.
More than ever these days, there are constant bends to the rules. What may work for one artist doesn’t always work for another, depending on a variety of different reasons: the artist themselves, the musical genre, the format of the songs, even the region of the country. Considering distribution in particular, “the industry defines it one way, and the artist may define it in a completely different way,” Bob reflects. “In fact, artists today MUST define things differently. What is their vision? What are the definitions of their success, and what benchmarks have they established to measure that success? How well do they communicate, and ultimately, how great is the music? That’s really where it needs to start. If the music is exceptional, and the music is creating fans, then everything gets easier.”