On the Record

An independent entrepreneur is giving big-label music companies a run for their money.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Vital Stats: Michael Koch, 40, founder and CEO of Koch in Port Washington, New York

Company: independent music distribution and record company

Projected 2003 Sales:: more than $100 million

Der Rebel: Inspired by his father's music business in Austria, Koch came to the United States in 1987 to begin Koch Entertainment. By 1991, Koch became the first national independent music distributor of domestic labels in the United States, challenging the system that had relied on regional independent or national major-label distribution.

"I started everything from nothing and figured it out along the way."

Solid Gold: By re-releasing recordings that catalogs have forgotten and signing artists like Charlie Daniels, Carole King and Ringo Starr (who no longer sell in huge numbers but still have a solid fan base), Koch has struck gold: "We have the infrastructure to bring [artists] to the market the same way multinational conglomerates do and give them the home-type feeling that used to be prevalent in all record companies."

Laissez-Faire Label: While the health of the recording industry is declining, Koch Entertainment continues to grow. One reason is, Koch nurtures the artists rather than making demands on them. "We don't dictate their creative process as much as larger labels would. We focus more on the artist and the relationship. Let the music speak for itself."

Coming Attractions: With the company branching out to VHS and DVD licensing and distribution through video division Koch Vision, as well as film production with Koch Lorber Films, Koch Entertainment is growing to be a multimedia force to be reckoned with. Says Koch, "It's all about entertainment."


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