Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mike Bailey, VP at Potomac Records

Recently I sat down with Mike Bailey, Vice President and Artist Relations of Potomac Records.
Mr. Bailey calls his record label Potomac Records because, “Potomac references the Washington DC area (Potomac River), it’s the city I was born (DC) and where Pete (Evick, President) and I were raised (northern Virginia). A business name should always clearly define either the products or services you sell/produce, Potomac Records fits perfect for where we’ve been and what our business represents.”

He started this record company because, “Together, and in separate bands, Pete (Evick, Bret Michaels Band) and I were part of the local VA/DC music scene since 16 years old and have seen so many great VA/MD/DC bands over the years. As both of us continue to perform in various bands (Pete – Bret Michaels Band – EVICK – DOWNTIME / Mike – INTO the Now – DOWNTIME), we have a true passion for the music business, attempting to apply our experience, and the relationships we’ve developed the past 20 years, to put Potomac Records and our artists on the map. To pioneer a new model Record Label into the new digital world we live in.”

Potomac Records is applying a different concept to finding new artists’ than the typical Major Label practice. We’re not a Death Metal only label, or an exclusive R&B/Hip Hop label. Regardless of genre, we want to work with artists that have the passion, the willingness to work hard to achieve their goals, and understand it’s not just what you do on the stage; it’s what you do off the stage that can make the difference in your career.”

How they present their artists has changed from the standard format as well. Mr. Bailey says, “The “Go Green! Go Digital!” business model originated from our true belief that the music industry is not the same as it was 10 years ago. The internet really did change everything, as it did for Journalists (bloggers), and Radio personalities (internet radio). Technology is so much more sophisticated the way people are informed and receive new music. It’s getting the message across that if you purchase digital media online it actually pays the artist for their work. Nowadays, in any city or town the band performs, if they market their music effectively, fans can download on the spot on their phone, iPad, or computer. Also available for Potomac artists’, Custom printed USB drives that include the release (mp3), artist info and artwork (pdf). The custom USBs have been a huge hit, replacing CD sales at live performances. Our artists’ music is available at 101 digital media outlets in 232 countries”

I asked Mr. Bailey what his take on various “variety shows” were for finding new music. His response was, “. American Idol, yes. America’s Got Talent, not as interested but can be humorous at times, The X-Factor, I’m a Simon Cowell fan. There’s something super cool about the guy, he’s very successful, and started at the bottom. I can appreciate that. I’ll always be an advocate of people fulfilling their dreams, even if it’s short lived on shows such as these.”

Mr. Bailey is not limiting himself to any particular genre, but states...“it’s seeing something very special out of an artist that makes you want to be a fan. Nothing is more exciting than to pop in to a local venue / bar and be completely blown away. The Washington DC / northern Virginia local music scene has some amazing artists, of all genres. We’re not cherry picking bands from all over the country. Our focus is local VA/DC/MD talent.

Mr. Bailey adds: “If a VA/DC/MD area unsigned band is out there doing it, there’s a good chance we’ll hear about it from someone.”

The people working with his company “ Potomac Records has a small solid foundation of experienced musicians, engineers, graphics artists, and business entreprenuers that work extremely well together, and have collaborated in one way or another over the past 20 years. With any small business, we all wear multiple hats but also look forward to solid growth over the next 2 years.”

They don't limit their performers, saying” We have an agreement for each artist, and do not limit any members to participate in other projects. For example, the drummer from Driven Livid, Jeff Mortimer, is now the drummer with the Jason Dean Band, which both are Potomac Records artists.”

When asked why people choose what they listen to and why, Mr. Bailey replied, “ There are so many variations to the influence of the type of music people listen to. A few years ago Walmart bought 3 million copies of the AC/DC “Black Ice” CD, which made it go GOLD (3X) before it was even released. Walmart also had all the AC/DC merchandise to go with the release. A great deal for AC/DC. A year or so later Iron Man 2 came out, with Shoot To Thrill (AC/DC - Back in Black) as the title track for the movie. A band from the late 70’s now became popular again, to a whole new generation of fans, all due to the financial push from major corporations like Walmart.”

The biggest challenge is doing something different, and hoping it catches on. Instead of buying the available options at Best Buy or Walmart on CD, you can purchase music instantly online, or buy the artist’ custom USB drive, or the artist gift card with a special code to download online.

Mr. Bailey says, “I’m influenced by successful business owners and those who follow what’s in their heart. Sammy Hagar is the perfect example of having a deep passion and dedication for music, having a very successful career at it, but an even more successful career as a businessman. His book RED is a great read for musicians.”

Mr. Bailey says to hook up with them go to their “Facebook Group page that allows the artists on the label to post updated information to all Group members. Social media outlets play such a big role in communicating with fans. The Potomac Records website has information listed for each artist, including a clip of the artist single, and link to download/purchase on iTunes. Go to, LIKE us on Facebook as well.”

Who to find on Potomac Records label:

EVICK – EP “Reflections”

Trey Schneider with Rebelicious – Single “Cold Bud Light”

Jason Dean – EP “Coffee”

Driven Livid – EP “Zero 2 Hero”

Side FX – Singles “Sexy Smile” & “We Will Never Fall Down”

Reign of Kings – Single “Spirit of America” (feat. Steve Augeri former singer with Journey)
Modern Thieves – Single “Tequila Mama”

KAGE - Remastered LP “State of Mind” (originally recorded in 1990)

All Potomac Records artists’ available on all digital media outlets (iTunes,, Napster, eMusic, Spotify, Zune, etc..)

Melissa Windsor
Staff Writer RockRadio993

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