Mike Patton’s Label Ipecac Recordings Still Making Profits via CNBC
Mike Patton broke onto the music scene 30 years ago as the singer of pioneering alternative band Faith No More, which scored a hit single with rap-rock anthem “Epic.”
Patton parlayed that experience, and his desire for a label that gives artists 100% artistic freedom, into Ipecac Recordings, which he co-founded 20 years ago.
Ipecac encourages its artists to pursue big ambitions on small budgets, and it has always turned a profit, according to co-owner Greg Werckman.”
Mike Patton had never stepped foot in a recording studio before he joined Faith No More three decades ago. Yet there he was, barely in his 20s, fronting the California band as it released what would be its breakthrough album, The Real Thing.
The record, released June 20, 1989, went platinum and netted a Grammy nomination for best metal performance. The band toured for more than two years on it.
The success and exposure came “fast and furious,” as Patton, now 51, puts it in a recent phone interview with CNBC. The experience also made him “cautiously pessimistic” about the music industry. But he laughs when he says this.
“Not to make it all sound bad,” he clarifies. “You really had to learn on the fly — learn that maybe the record company’s on your side, maybe they’re not. Developing a sense of smell, learning when to let your guard down and learning when to be protective.”
Patton, who is notorious for his prolific output and workaholic nature, kept chugging along after Faith No More dissolved in 1998. Much of the music he continued to make would end up being too esoteric, odd or experimental for traditional record companies. So Patton and his manager, Greg Werckman, launched the indie label, which is named after a chemical that induces vomiting. Indeed, the company’s slogan is “Ipecac Recordings … making people sick since 1999.”
“To be honest, Mike and I did not set off on starting a label, per se,” says Werckman, 54. “We just wanted an outlet for Mike to put his releases out.” Ipecac’s first release was the self-titled debut from Fantomas, a supergroup featuring Patton and heavy-music veterans guitarist Buzz Osborne of the Melvins, drummer Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Mr. Bungle bassist and co-founder Trevor Dunn.
Ipecac stays profitable by bucking industry norms — and not just by deliberately seeking talent outside the mainstream. Werckman and Patton also maintain a lean and simple business model.
“We don’t feel the need to throw thousands of dollars into our overhead and say, well, we’ve got to have a music video that’s going to be on YouTube and get views on Vevo,” Werckman says. “That’s not really what is expected from us from our fan base. That’s also not what we’re comfortable with.”
Read the entire article @ CNBC.