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Label Watch: New Artists Records

Connie Crothers

For pianist Connie Crothers, being president of a record company is simply one element of her life in music. Since its founding, Manhattan-based New Artists Records ( has grown from a sole proprietorship with one recording in its catalog into a collective that is helping to fulfill the dreams of a unique community of musicians.

Since the 1982 release of Swish!, Crothers’ album of duets with drummer Max Roach, she has guided the label using a system that puts the artists firmly in charge of their recording projects. The company does not exert any control over music or production, and after costs are recovered every cent goes to the musicians. Operating expenses are kept to a minimum and are paid by an annual contribution from the musicians. Compare this artist-centered scheme with the recouping-against-royalties system used by corporate labels and a vast, largely uncharted middle ground reveals itself.

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