Interview with Cannonball Rocks CEO Ludek Zdrubecky


The music industry finds itself in a major shift as the 21st Century and its technology is taking us all in a different spin and modality of how we create, produce and connect. Change takes time, and it comes only by those willing to be innovative and implement those creative ways into action.

Recently we spoke with one of those who are looking at music labels in a different light and have put them into place- to work for the artists- and help them maintain their independence while being a support system. The music label, CANNONBALL. Rocks offers digital downloads, each artist their own web-section, merch and e-merch, marketing and PR.

Soundwave Brigade: As a music label and there are so many of them around these days, What sets you apart from the rest?

Ludek Zdrubecky: That’s right. We can find a label at almost every corner. Some of them are good, some probably not. Jake Reining from the band No Advisory told me once the labels today are more like banks. I am fully with him. They offer money, asking for payback. If you are good it is fine, if not it is your problem, but you have to pay back anyway.

    I am trying to look at the music business from a different angle than probably the others do. Giving our artists on our label control and keeping more of their hard earned money in their pockets. This allows them the independence many bands are wanting, plus gives them money to work with so they can produce more music and more merch.

Another reason is I was looking to do something more creative and completely different from the current business I am running.

Even though we are based out of Prague, we have an office in Florida and a distribution center for our band’s merch in Arizona.

Soundwave Brigade: Are you a musician yourself? What got you interested in opening a music label company?

Ludek Zdrubecky: Oh, no. Not at all. I can’t play any instrument. Nothing like this. Surely music is part of my life as it is for many people. I am probably a good fan only.

To reiterate, it was initiated by the overall situation found in the music industry. I am referring to what we call, ‘The Great Divide.’ It is about how the revenue generated by record sales and current distribution. We all know it isn’t in favor of the artists. They are getting the smallest piece of the cake.

Another thing which concerns me a lot is all these kinds of streaming services. I wish I could name all here but obviously I cannot. They make great revenue, but almost nothing goes to the artists. It is frustrating and it is wrong. Obviously the worst thing ever is illegal sharing but these streaming companies are taking advantage of what is rightfully the artists work.

Soundwave Brigade: How has the label industry changed and is it still in the process of changing?

Ludek Zdrubecky: We are still at the beginning of our journey. At the moment we are trying to bring different ideas and viewpoints together, but it will never work if the musicians are not ready to see the things differently. It will all take certain time.

First, the people must get the information that somebody is creating and implementing a different/better way of doing this. Secondly, the musicians have to be ready to change their minds on how they perceive what they do and its value.

I am sure some of them will but obviously most of them will not. I am talking now about “big names.” The young, talented artists starting up their career will definitely take another approach, but somebody has to be ready to show them a better idea and say, “Hey, we are doing things differently than the others!”

Soundwave Brigade: What added benefits do you possibly offer that others don’t?

Ludek Zdrubecky: I believe the major benefit is that the artist is the owner of copyrights and all the other rights related to the recordings.

The label does not deal with copyrights. It is always the artist.

Obviously we have different revenue share than the others which is very much in favor of the artists. We at CANNONBALL. Rocks even support studio work, I don’t see other labels doing this.

Soundwave Brigade: Do you cover all genres or do you stick with a specific type?

Ludek Zdrubecky: The label is definitely open to everyone. Obviously there are certain limit. We would never work with an artist that promotes racism, hate crimes or bigotry. That must be clear to everybody.

Soundwave Brigade: Hearing horror stories of labels screwing artists in the past, How are you preventing this from happening to the artists you work with?

Ludek Zdrubecky: All these horror stories are based on the fact the labels want their money as quickly as possible. That’s why they push their artists and force them to do what they don’t like.

I am sure most artists are clear about their view of what music he/she wants to create. CANNONBALL. Rock isn’t here to tell artists what they should do. Yes, we are here to help them and answer questions as our PR, marketing and creative staff are very good at brainstorming with the bands and musicians to help them, but in the end the decisions stay with the artists. It they are good they get fame and money. If not, nobody gets anything. We are giving them the freedom to do what they like and we do not put any pressure on them.

Soundwave Brigade: Do you look for the beginning artists or do you prefer to work with more experienced ones?

Ludek Zdrubecky: It is not the question of preferences.

The “big names” will never leave their comfort zone they are comfortable and it works for them where they are. I do believe it will be easier to work with young artists who are more open minded and looking for the 21st Century way of creating and delivering their music to their fans.

Moreover, the music world needs new names, new styles, new genres  and new visions. I’d like to mention here Devin James who matches all. He has created a new style and genre called “swing-hop” plus he understands the value of dropping singles and videos with them. His vision is cutting-edge, he understands it is time to move forward. That is what CANNONBALL. Rocks is looking for. Bands and artists who are independent, innovative, and ready to take on a new way of getting their passion delivered.

We are here to serve those on our label the best way we can by giving them an outlet to sell from, and the control they deserve. Of course we also accept musicians and band’s demos. We have an A&R dept out there at shows all over the country, but we are always open for submissions.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply