?President/Founder, Rostrum Records ?
For indie hip-hop warrior Benjy Grinberg, 35, the past 12 months were about continued artist growth, powered as always by fan connections. “We can do all the marketing we want, but it really comes down to the direct relationship with the fans,” he says. Grinberg, the president/founder of Rostrum Records, put out the follow-ups to two hit Rostrum albums: Wiz Khalifa’s “O.N.I.F.C.” (2011’s “Rolling Papers” has sold 837,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan) and Mac Miller’s “Watching Movies With the Sound Off” (2011’s Blue Slide Park has sold 405,000 copies). Movies dropped on “Hip-Hop Super Tuesday”—when Kanye West and J. Cole also released their latest projects—and has sold more than 148,000 units. “As an indie, that was a feat,” he says. He also put both artists—plus other Rostrum labelmates—back out for the second year on the Under the Influence tour. Now, Grinberg has signed Leon Thomas, star of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” in a joint venture with Columbia Records. He’s “an incredible artist” and “now a Rostrum/Columbia artist,” he adds.