KATHY DOUGLAS: AN INDEPENDENT SPIRIT IN AN INDEPENDENT SCENE
Working in the ever changing music industry requires an independent spirit, as well as patience and fortitude. Possessing an ability to think outside the box, and always one to offer forward thinking advice, Kathy Douglas of indieExtreme has made a mark by showcasing artists with passion and drive.
Beginning her career as a Mary Kay Cosmetics Sales Consultant (she drove 10 of the famed pink Cadillacs) she advanced to Sales Director in two years eventually becoming Executive Senior Sales Director. Excelling at training, managing, directing and leading a team Douglas was led, by chance, into a venture that put her naturally creative nature (she is also a visual artist with a degree from University of Texas) front and center in the independent music movement.
Utilizing relationships and experience she garnered from MKC, Douglas’ foray into Music Management began easily enough with a one-off fundraising concert for a local country music artist. Putting her many years of sales and marketing skills to work, artists and industry took notice and continued to approach her about projects. Before long, though after much resistance on her part, she landed her first management client with aspiring singer/songwriter Kyle Hutton.
As this new career path unfolded, Douglas continued her career as a MK Sales Director while noticing that she and Hutton were in on the ground floor launch of the now burgeoning Texas Music scene. By working with Hutton to release radio singles and introduce a new record to the market, Douglas began to see the strategies she had learned from MKC were a natural fit for her new “trial by fire” workload.
“Some things worked and some didn’t; it was a lot of trial and error. Booking skin care classes with ladies is actually way more difficult than booking a venue,” she joked.
Expanding her roster in 2002 to include Stephanie Urbina Jones, Douglas resigned from her position at MKC to dedicate herself to launching the management/event company, Extreme Dreams, LLC. Success with Hutton and Urbina Jones followed (including an Urbina Jones’ #1 single “Shaking Things Up” on the Texas Music Chart) and Douglas observed a need for the many independent artists on this scene.
“I understood how major labels operated and realized the model was fading,” she stated. “Much like how Mary Kay had tapped in to the personalized services that store brands could never serve, independent music was reaching an audience that wanted greater access to artists and shows. Realizing how this was very much like the atmosphere from which I came, it became about figuring out how to apply those same principles to the independent music movement.”
Seeing that the market needed direction, services that labels provided, and access to distribution, Douglas launched IndieExtreme, LLC in 2006 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Extreme Dreams. Following the trend of outsourcing, this innovative company provides a tiered set of packages to artists and small labels for distribution, marketing and other administrative services to those wishing to own their music outright and release music on more profitable terms.
Through a partnership with Universal/ Fontana Distribution (Now Ingrooves Music Group) indieExtreme’s first project was the launch of Contemporary Christian artist Matt Brouwer’s new album, WHERE’S OUR REVOLUTION, and the single “Sometimes,” which went to #15 on the CCMAC charts. To date, and through varied degrees, Douglas has had a hand in the careers of such additional artists as Tres Womack (Chubby Knuckle Choir), Nick Verzosa, Grady Skelton, Breelan Angel, Parker McCollum, Moonlight Social, Josh Fuller and more.
As the music industry evolved into a digital marketplace, Douglas noted that Artist Development was missing from the services offered by “technology-based” competitors CDBaby and TuneCore. To set a higher standard as artists requested assistance with building a fan-base, exposure to different outlets and opportunities, and securing a stronger hold on the market, Douglas seized the opportunity to offer the personalized attention that she had become known for. As a result, Douglas partnered with Peggy Dold of Navigation Partners LLC, who held senior marketing, artist development and international positions for major and independent labels for 30+ years, to create April Sound Entertainment Group (ASEG) and expand the opportunities for clients who chose to utilize the marketing/business plan services offered.
As her independent spirit shines through, Douglas is poised to direct her companies into the next phase of changes in the industry by staying on top of trends and cultivating relationships to help independent artists advance to the next level.
“Our partnerships with INgrooves Music Group and ASEG are continuing to open up new doors for indieExtreme and our clients. My goal is to set up the company to the point that we can be the premier artist development and label services company in the Texas/Country/Americana/Triple A market,” she states. “We have a long way to go, however, I believe that as we expand our clientele and serve them with the highest integrity and quality, we can selectively develop top artists in their genres who are making not only a living as an artist, but creating a career and legacy for their art.”