You probably know them best as the guys that made the cheap keyboards you used to bang on as a kid, but Yamaha wants to be more than just the overseas manufacturer of mid-range synthesizers, bass guitars, and the occasional motorcycle. The Japanese company has already begun to branch out into producing records, using its world-famous name to launch a brand new and instantly recognizable record label.
“People just see us as a piano manufacturer, a products manufacturer,” said label president Chris Gero. “But we have all these artists signed as endorsees. The opportunity just naturally started to show itself. We’ve become much more directly engaged with an artist’s life and livelihood.”
Yahama Entertainment Group, as the label calls itself, has already put out a five-song EP from Britrock trio Leogun. Two other new artists have signed and are working on their own recording projects. The label will release about five recordings a year and will not focus on any one particular genre.
Gero hopes that as an independent label, Yamaha will be able to further its relationship with the working musician and serve as an advocate for up-and-coming artists in an increasingly uncertain music economy. In turn, operating as a record label may help the company continue to build its brand among music-makers and consumers alike.
So far, the goals of the label remain relatively modest. “I’m not looking for a big hit,” Gero said. “I would rather have very small success than very large failures. But I hope we chart records. I hope people are talking about it.” [The Tennessean]