Five Questions With… CD Baby's Darryl Hurs
The Toronto music industry veteran and founder of Indie Week is the online music distribution service’s first Canadian representative. Here he pledges to use his experience to help indie artists distribute, monetize and promote their music globally.
By Jason Schneider
Canadian artists who use the popular online music-distribution service CD Baby will now have a new ally as part of the company’s recent global expansion. Darryl Hurs has been hired in Toronto as the company’s first Canadian representative that's part of the first stage of a plan that should see CD Baby opening Artist Support Centres at various international locations in the coming months, according to a press statement from the company.
Hurs has worked in Canada’s music industry for over 25 years and is perhaps best known for launching and running Indie Week, one of Canada’s largest independent music festivals and conferences. His resume also includes design and marketing work for Live Nation, retail buyer at HMV, booker at Toronto club The Rivoli, and performing in various musical acts.
We caught up with Hurs to find out more about what his job will entail.
Congratulations on your new position with CD Baby. What will your primary responsibilities be?
At CD Baby our primary focus is to help artists distribute, monetize and promote their music globally. We have built a team of international representatives like myself in Latin America, South East Asia, Mexico, UK/ Europe, and of course North America. Our goal is to have people on the ground that can help artists navigate their online distribution, marketing, and royalty collection and several other online services. We want to help artists be successful and take the stress out of the business side so they can focus on making music.
How will CD Baby's expansion into Canada benefit Canadian artists the most?
Artist education is a big part of what we are about—it's easy to be overwhelmed by all of the options available online, so we want to help artists make the best choices for their careers. We will be participating in industry discussions and panels at festivals, conferences, and schools. Basically, we are going where the artists are so they know we are here to help.
What's your personal view on how indie artists should approach distributing their music most effectively?
The first thing is to look at it as a business and to grow with the business. There are so many options and tools available that it’s easy to get ahead of yourself. Sometimes if you skip steps, it can have the opposite effect. Artists should have a clear plan on how they are not only distributing their music but also how are they marketing, advertising and monetizing their music. We are in a very exciting time where indie artists can be very successful.
How will your new position affect your work with Indie Week?
Nothing changes. The core values of both companies are to help indie artists, and I feel that I can do that at a higher level and make a difference.
What inspired you to get involved in the indie music community?
I've been playing guitar since I was 14 and I went to college for music. When I got my start at music retail at HMV [in Toronto] many years ago, I took over the indie section and arranged for bands to perform in store, which led me to put on shows, book venues and eventually start a music festival. The music business is a crazy one that is not like any other. I've always wanted to help artists get ahead, and I am very excited to be in the position to do so with CD Baby.