December 2, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

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2M1 Records has a number of soundtrack releases in its catalogue, but this month the label will release two high-profile scores on limited CDs: Andy Garfield’s music from Frozen (2010), and Hatchet (2006) / Hatchet II (2010).

In our conversation, Toronto-based co-owner George Fox describes the company’s founding with Oklahoma-based Jeff Johns, the company’s machinations, and the resilience of the compact disc among collectors and audiophile connoisseurs.




Mark R. Hasan: How did you become involved in soundtrack distribution?

George Fox: I knew my business part Jeff Johns for a while online. We both knew industry people, and we shared a love of film scores, and eventually it came up: Maybe we could start a record label.

We also knew some people who owned other record labels, and they were very supportive of us. We’ve never had any bad relationships with other labels.

Everyone’s been helpful, so it seemed like it was something we could definitely work with, and from that, I guess, over a couple of nights of discussion we came up with a name, we came up with our whole model, what we could do differently, and what we would try and improve upon as a label.

Then obviously came the work – we actually had to get the scores. It was originally kind of tough because we had no name, and it’s really tough to find a composer and say ‘Give us the rights to your score.’ Because we didn’t have money, we offered them 50% of our sales.

We first got End of the Line (2006). That turned out to be a moderate success. We sold probably 20 copies, but for a small label’s first release for an unknown movie, it’s a pretty good sale, so that’s kind of where we started.

MRH: I guess that’s the hardest thing after setting up the business plan – attracting composers – but you explained you already had a familiarity with the marketplace in addition to contacts.

GF: Yeah, we definitely knew people in the industry, more on a personal basis than a business relationship, but we had those connections. Jeff knew these people long before me. He used to do fan sites for composers, and he still builds sites for certain composers now, so that’s how he had a lot of these contacts.

MRH: For the composers themselves, did they approach you, or did you approach them beforehand?

GF: We have had composers approach us, but normally we have to seek them out because right now our label is still in a stage where we are generally unknown;
in the future, hopefully that will change.

MRH: I noticed that you offer both digital albums as well as physical CDs?

GF: Yeah, this is a huge point for us. Digital allows smaller labels like us to exist. Even now, our first 2 CD releases – Hatchet (2006) and Frozen (2010) – are massive for us to do.

It’s a whole process, whereas with digital it allows us to use very little start-up money and be able to get a product out there and have it accessible to the world, without worrying about fulfillment, credit card processing. Even getting the CDs pressed is a huge ordeal. We’ve had to delay Frozen and Hatchet, due to pressing issues already, whereas with a digital-only distribution model, there is much less to worry about.

MRH: In the past, there used to be much larger CD runs, even with a standard soundtrack (comedy, horror, etc.), but now, unless it’s a major studio release, 500 to maybe around 2000 copies is the norm, and 500 is no long unusual. From my standpoint as a fan, as a collector and so on, is 500 a fair amount that would sell, in light of the changes in buyer demographics where most people are used to the digital format?

GF: 500 for a physical release is a fair amount, especially with the advent of digital, as CDs are normally purchased by score aficionados and not just someone looking for the film score.

There is a downside to digital however, and that is quality: on iTunes and Amazon, the music is compressed, leading to a degradation in quality (though nothing very noticeable).

To combat this we’ve set up what I believe is the only score label to offer lossless downloads (in the Flac format) through our own service, which allows people to get the full CD quality, but as a digital release.

That being said, you still can’t beat what a CD has. You’re not just buying the music; you’re buying the case; you’re buying the collector’s item. It’s not something that digital can replace, so 500 copies is a pretty small number when you’re talking about pop music, but when you’re talking about a score for an independent film, 500 copies starts to sound like a fair amount.

Plus, let’s face it, these other score labels don’t have a lot of money, so they can’t press 5000 in their first run and just hope they can sell them; they have to be sure that they can sell these copies, and we have to be, too, so it’s why you’re seeing the numbers getting smaller and smaller.

MRH: I guess in that respect CDs have become like vinyl; they’re regarded as an audiophile format.

GF: It is. It’s the collector’s piece. Frozen and Hatchet are prime items for a digital release, but the reason why I want to do physical is because there’s lots of fans, and those fans want collector’s items, and that’s something we can offer above and beyond just the score material in a CD-quality format.

MRH: Are there significant rights issues unique to digital albums, or are the rights easier to negotiate in order to distribute an album online, so that anyone around the world can buy the album with no extra fees?

GF: We haven’t reached that size where we have to worry about those rights. Most of the time if a studio requests, we do a blanket license for both physical and digital, in case we ever went back to a back catalogue item and decide to do a fully pressed physical release for it. It gives us the most coverage over things.

MRH: One thing I’ve enjoyed from digital releases – and the comparative label would be Sweden’s MovieScore Media – is that digital opens the door for a lot of composers. Whether they’ve been working for a couple of years or 20 years, their stuff can finally get distribution so people can listen to music from countries who’ve perhaps been ignored by the major labels because of disinterest, or the distribution channels were virtually non-existent, or too complex.

GF: I completely agree. After we’ve approached composers, we’ve seen them come to us asking, ‘How can you press a release like this?’ and we tell them about our digital release, and they’re almost always incredibly enthusiastic and on board because it allows their work to get out there; it allows them to get noticed; it allows directors looking around to see the samples on Amazon and get them more work; and it gets a composer’s name out there.

MRH: In terms of your catalogue, the albums are available from your website, iTunes, and Amazon?

GF: We have relationships with iTunes and Amazon, and both of those work great. It’s very low cost and not much work to put albums on both online stores. It’s something we like to do to get our name out there. We also sell through our site, both MP3 320, and the aforementioned FLAC copies.

MRH: And are there any composers that you admire, and whose work you’d like to represent, if not composers that have influenced your own interest in film music?

GF: I would love to work with Ennio Morricone somehow; I doubt it’s going to happen, but that would be a dream gig. I’ve actually been admiring Bear McCreary for a while, and his work onBattlestar Galactica has really influenced me. It’s a very New Age style of composing. That being said, I’d love to work with him on a live album with the Battlestar Galactica orchestra – another one of those dream projects.

I just have to mention Hans Zimmer because he’s what brought film scores into modern popularity; they’re blockbuster scores, and they sell very well, and he’s a household name, really. That being said, I really don’t think I can single out a few composers.

I mean, there are the big ones that everyone knows, but more and more I’m listening to composers you might have never heard of and have a huge amount of talent; those are the guys I also want to work with. Their work hasn’t been represented so far, so hopefully 2M1 can do that.

MRH: And Frozen and the Hatchet scores will only be available on CD?

GF: For now. Once we sell out of 500 CDs for each title, we will probably open the door for digital releases, but for now, for our first physical release, we’re trying to do something special.

I’m hoping once Hatchet and Frozen start selling, we’ll have enough money to do another physical release and see where we can expand to, and what rights we can buy.

In mid-December Frozen will hopefully hit our online store, and you will probably be able to buy it through select online retailers, and all copies will be signed by composer Andy Garfield and possibly writer/director Adam Green.


. would like to thank 2M1 Records’ George Fox and Jeff Johns for their generous time.

Visit 2M1 Records’ official website.

All images remain the property of their copyright holders.

This interview © 2010 by Mark R. Hasan


Related links:

Film / DVD:  End of the Line (2007) — Frozen (2010) — Hatchet (2006)

Interviews:  Composer Bear McCreary (2009) — Soundtrack Producer / MovieScore Media’s Mikael Carlsson


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