PRESS RELEASE: NewAm is 10 Years Old, Join us on June 10 and 11 to Celebrate
NewAm is 10 Years Old, Join us on June 10 and 11 to Celebrate
“The image I hold on to is that of the salmon returning to the foundations of its own life, fighting against the trends that seem to move in the opposite direction, in order to create something new and beneficial for itself, its species, and the ecosystem as a whole. What I like about this metaphor is that it involves the idea of getting back to the roots of something, looking at the basic assumptions of where you are and how you live, and challenging them in order to survive and thrive.” - Judd Greenstein, 2008
We started New Amsterdam Records 10 years ago in the humble office setting of Judd’s childhood bedroom, in response to the specific challenges that we faced as a music community and our desire to transcend them. It’s remarkable to consider how many of those challenges have been overcome, particularly the feeling of isolation from the broader musical community that we felt at that time, as young composers and performers who were striving to have our voices heard. And yet the salmon metaphor remains as relevant as ever, even as the challenges it represents have changed. New Amsterdam Records continues to swim upstream, but in a changed river and against a changed current.
In 2008, one of our founding missions was to engage with the real lives of working musicians, and to support artists’ careers without the near-mythological veneer that had been created around the classical music art form. This meant that artists themselves would have to get their hands dirty and learn about the music business since they could no longer afford to be insulated from it, but that we at New Amsterdam would be here to support them. Today, this state of affairs is so ubiquitous as to be invisible - artists have learned to be adaptive and responsive rather than purely reliant on a monolithic industry.
Many of the principles that led us to found New Amsterdam have now become central tenets of the broader new music community: that there is a strong audience for new music outside of the insular circles of contemporary music itself; that records can use a variety of studio techniques, not beholden to the limited standards of the classical industry; that the Album can be an art form on the level of the Symphony and the Sonata; that our music is a reflection of many Histories of music, not centered around a single, monolithic history of the West.
New Amsterdam Records continues to find the places where artists need our support, and remains a vital resource in helping artists find new opportunities to reach new audiences in an increasingly challenging landscape. The old questions of genre insularity and recording quality have been replaced by the new challenges of limited streaming revenue and a vanishing music press, among others. The record industry is constantly shifting beneath our feet, and being adaptive is the only way to stay moving forward, especially for a small organization with nothing to fall back on.
In 2008 we helped to draw a line around a New York community that made music, as we put it then, “without walls, but also without an agenda, and without an organizing principle.” Now, in 2018, our focus is on building both a national and international network of institutions that are attuned to the music we release and present. By embracing this broader sense of community, and by working in collaboration with so many incredible organizations who have the same goals in mind, we can help create a counterweight against the forces that limit opportunities for independent musicians to make their voices heard.
Our team has grown from three co-Artistic Directors to a nine-person team of incredibly thoughtful and deeply invested individuals (most of whom are artists themselves) who passionately believe in our mission: to help artists build sustainable careers and to create opportunities for unfiltered connections to the people who will love their work.
We see our 10th anniversary as an opportunity for us to shine an even brighter light on our community, not just on our label artists, but on the broad network of musicians with whom we are connected in a myriad of ways. Come raise a glass and join us for some very special shows on June 10 and 11 at (le) Poisson Rouge, to help kickoff this celebration year. We’ll see you there, and we’ll see you again in ten years, when we’ll be continuing to help artists to swim upstream, against whatever those future currents may be.
Learn more about the events at newamrecords.com/ten.
William Brittelle, Judd Greenstein, and Sarah Kirkland Snider
Co-Founders and Artistic Directors