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Chris Blackwell on Getting Your Music Heard by Record Labels

Chris Blackwell is the founder of Island Records and one of the most successful entrepreneurs in music-industry history. From relatively humble beginnings in an office in Jamaica, Blackwell grew Island into an international force, finally selling the label to A&M records in 1989. Along the way, Blackwell and Island were responsible for changing the face of pop music repeatedly. Bob Marley was an Island discovery, and the label was the driver of reggae’s rise to a global cultural phenomenon. The label was also home to U2 from 1980-1997, and shepherded them from their Dublin pub beginnings to the apex of their stardom. Under Blackwell’s long tenure, Island became known as a haven for creative and quirky artists, releasing landmark albums from artists as diverse as Traffic, Tom Waits, Fairport Convention, Robert Palmer, The Pogues, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Anthrax. Blackwell now heads a new venture, Palm Pictures, which is a film, music and new-media company that focuses on world and electronic music, independent film, and internet-delivered content. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2001.

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Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, reveals what you must do – and what you must not do – to make sure your demo or album gets heard by the decision-makers at the labels you would like to work with.

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