In an age where independent musicians are constantly vying for the attention of industry insiders, Elkridge-based startup aBreak Music offers a unique solution. Co-founded by seasoned music executives Bruce Tyler and Jay Steven, the company aims to provide musicians with a direct channel to key decision-makers, giving them the chance to land a record deal and kickstart their careers.
Tyler, a former Sony Music Label Group executive, and Steven, previously the senior vice president of programming content at Urban One, have decades of experience in the music and radio industries. With a vision to discover and nurture new talent, they have turned their expertise toward aBreak Music, an online radio station featuring a carefully curated list of songs aimed at record executives scouting for fresh voices. The ultimate goal is to expand aBreak Music into a full-fledged independent record label.
Launched in May 2022, aBreak Music secured $400,000 in funding from the Maryland Technology Development Corp., along with support from angel investors. The online radio station is available for free and specifically targets professionals in the music industry, rather than general listeners.
Each week, aBreak Music’s team compiles a 58-song playlist, sifting through numerous submissions to feature musicians with the potential to secure a record deal. The platform embraces a diverse range of genres, reflecting the eclectic tastes of modern listeners.
Tyler and Steven’s venture stands out from other services in the independent artist space, such as pay-for-play internet radio and pay-for-song critique websites, by being free for artists to use. The long-term plan is to transform aBreak Music into an independent record label, dedicated to helping its artists move on to major label contracts within two years.
The most challenging aspect of the business, according to Tyler, is identifying artists who are committed to making the sacrifices necessary to become professionals and possess a unique sound or personality that sets them apart. The startup’s mission is to find those with the intensity to make life easier for the record labels that sign them, enabling artists to have a lasting impact in an industry that is constantly seeking the next big thing.