- Addison, TX
- Hand Drawn Records
Rodgers and Hammerstein. Fitzgerald and Armstrong. Lennon and McCartney. Music history is filled with creative, timeless collaborations, proving what’s possible when like minds join their passions, talents… and backstage business instincts. The same can be said of Hand Drawn Records and Stephen Gould, who have forged a partnership to become an innovative player in today’s music industry.
Connecting over music made fast friends of Dustin Blocker, co-founder of Hand Drawn Records, and Rick DeVincent, Regional Sales Manager for Stephen Gould. Dustin’s career had turned from touring musician to entrepreneur, promoting fellow musicians with his independent label’s brokering services. When he discovered Canadian engineers with a similar love for vinyl records and an invention to revolutionize its manufacturing, Dustin knew he had to get in on the ground floor. He purchased the state-of-the-art, automated record-pressing machine, impressed by its precision and production speed compared to vintage technology still in use today. “This will expand and excite the artist community,” he adds, “Healthy margins for independent artists means they can focus on writing music and connecting with fans.” He pitched the opportunity of a lifetime to his friend Rick.
An avid guitarist, Rick’s passion for music overflowed into Friday night jam sessions with Stephen Gould colleagues at the Addison branch music studio for the last decade. He eagerly investigated how the company could collaborate with Dustin’s record manufacturing business and help achieve its full potential. He assessed Hand Drawn Record’s projections and considered the return on investment. In ten years, vinyl records had gone from zero to as much as nine percent of total music industry sales. In 2015 it was a five million-dollar business; in 2017 it’s on track to be one billion; and in 2019 it’s estimated to increase to three billion. Rick recognized vinyl records is a niche market, but one with a strong outlook as a new generation appreciates the value of its tactile experience and higher-than-digital sound quality.
Confident in Stephen Gould’s track record of advancing other businesses, Rick seized the opportunity to help launch Hand Drawn Records’ effort to press their own vinyl records. He astounded Dustin by offering Hand Drawn Pressing its own dedicated space inside of Stephen Gould’s 80,000 square-foot facility. Rick’s experienced team produces all the record jackets, sleeves, and promotional collateral for each album, while providing established, streamlined services for production, hand assembly, and distribution—all under one roof.
“We get to utilize the professionalism and skill of the Stephen Gould employees so our team is working effectively and efficiently every day,” remarks Dustin Blocker, CCO of Hand Drawn Records. “We can focus on pressing records and how to make the operations better on our end,” he says, “Everyone at Stephen Gould has been great. It’s a partnership in every sense of the word.”
Rick’s ability to evaluate a business proposition and to see how his team could grow a friend’s company is a prime example of the Stephen Gould attitude and commitment to the people behind each project. Beyond providing Hand Drawn Records with the manufacturing facility and the capabilities it needed to expand, Rick’s team provided further value to the consumer by innovating a new jacket and sleeve with more technologically advanced materials to protect each record. Just as Hand Drawn Records made cutting-edge improvements to the vinyl production itself, Rick’s team ensured its durability, longevity, and ultimately the listener’s enjoyment by raising the level of its packaging.
Stephen Gould’s alliance with Hand Drawn Records is empowering musicians to sell their own work outright again, rather than the digital model of “renting” a song for a tiny fraction of a penny. The company is privileged to collaborate in this revival of a retro trend that uniquely blends music, expertise, and business savvy. “Stephen Gould has provided us with 360 degrees of capability,” says Dustin. “As a small business it’s been hugely important for us, to be able to take both small and large orders, work with great artists, and music labels that are bigger than we are, and provide them with a great record.”