Co-founder/president, Republic Records
Monte and Avery Lipman had already released what would become the year's two most-streamed albums -- Drake's Scorpion (4.6 billion streams) and Post Malone's beerbongs & bentleys (3.7 billion) -- and seen their artists top the Hot 100 for 31 (of what would ultimately be 36) weeks when in November they signed one of the most successful artists of the last 10 years, Taylor Swift. "There's a rhythm, a buzz, in the hallways," says Avery about the 24-year-old label, which is now betting big on '70s rock revivalists Greta Van Fleet, Florida rapper Ski Mask the Slump God and YouTube crossover Conan Gray.
With the industry's renewed growth, we're seeing a return to multimillion-dollar deals and old-school bidding wars. Is this good or bad for major labels?
Avery: In the '90s, Alan Greenspan said he feared that "irrational exuberance" was inflating stock prices. I think we're experiencing that.
Monte: There have been competitive situations, but I don't think it's just economics -- it's trying to align with tomorrow's next big superstar.
Avery: Business is better, but it's not as if we're breaking more artists as an industry. Sometimes you've got to get in there, battle it out and win a derby.
How do two brothers run a successful business without driving each other crazy?
Monte: [Our working relationship] goes back to our first lemonade stand, when I was 6 and he was 4. We had a slow day once, not too many cars going by, so we picked up our stuff and went door to door. We've always been entrepreneurial.
Let's talk about the Taylor Swift deal.
Avery: How do I politely say, "There's not a chance in hell [we] can talk about that"?
REPUBLIC'S CLASS OF 2019
The Lipman brothers show off the up-and-coming talent they will be working to break in the coming months. See the full photo gallery here for a sneak peak of who's who.