IN 2019, FADER Label co-founder and award-winning marketing maven Jon Cohen tapped famed music manager Carson Oberg to become general manager of the New York indie — and since then Oberg has grown the label’s roster from two to 11 active artists. Featuring acts like singer-songwriter Clairo and alternative-pop duo Lewis Del Mar, FADER offers its acts a full suite of support from live performance to print, digital, social media and video.
Since launching in the late 90s, The FADER Inc. has grown into a global award-winning cross-platform giant, while its label launched in 2002 under the wings of Cohen and Rob Stone. Now, on Monday (Dec. 6), Cohen and Stone are adding another offering to the list: distribution services in partnership with Virgin. All FADER artists own the rights to their music, so an in-house distribution arm is yet another incentive to retain the label’s current roster and bring new artists into the FADER fold.
“It’s what Jon and I always envisioned a couple years ago when [he] brought me on,” says Oberg . “An all-encompassing services company.”
Prior to launching The FADER magazine, Jon Cohen worked with acts like Jeffy Buckley and Alice In Chains at Columbia before becoming co-CEO of Cornerstone, one of the major pioneering forces in the integration of musicians and advertising campaigns, working with clients like Nike and Converse. Meanwhile, Carson Oberg had started booking acts for smaller venues in New Orleans before transitioning into talent buying for Moogfest and later working in music management and artist development. The two powerhouses joined forces in 2019, with Cohen saying, “We met Cason, an amazing young manager who just wanted to do more” in terms of helping “tell a story and spread the word on [artist’s] music. He had real expertise.” The pair now hopes FADER Label’s new distribution arm can continue to assist its artists that “ just needed an option out of the major label system.”
FADER Label currently boasts 14 artists on its roster along with a slew of catalog acts that includes the likes of BET Award-nominated R&B singer Yuna and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Fractures. The unifying attribute of each FADER Label signee is their ability to cleverly grow and retain their online followings, with Clairo as the premier example of a FADER artist who has translated her online following to big numbers. In July of this year, she released her second album Sling which launched at No. 17 on the Billboard 200, making it her most successful project to date. FADER Label also houses Slayyyter, a fast-rising pop star who released her debut album this past June, and electronic duo Matt and Kim, among others.
This year, Clairo’s Sling became FADER Label’s first appearance in the top 20 of the Billboard 200. Over on the Hot 100, the label’s highest ranking is at No. 95 thanks to Matt and Kim’s 2009 single “Daylight.” The hit has earned over 148 million streams on Spotify while its official music video has garnered over 21 million streams on YouTube. Clairo’s “Sofia,” off her 2019 debut album Immunity, peaked at No. 98 on the Hot 100 and scored a Platinum certification over a year after its initial release due to the song’s virality (the song has been tagged to nearly 100,000 videos on TikTok). To date “Sofia” has garnered over 350 million streams on Spotify.
With the launch of its new distribution wing, the label has made new hires, with Cohen saying, “As we grow, we’ll add more staff to take on the volume of work that we have.” Yet he assures, “This is not about quantity… it’s about having really good, worthy artists that we feel deserve that extra help and need that shot.” Looking ahead, as a brand built on “telling stories in music,” Cohen is excited about new partnerships with “bigger media players” in 2022 that he promises will “ help evolve the way we tell those stories.”