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"We’re a major with an indie-label spirit."
—Monte Lipman, Republic Records
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC
The Lipman Brothers Take Their Indie Act
To the Major Leagues
by Marc Pollack

April 12, 2000

Who needs a business plan when you have Chumbawamba and Eiffel 65?

Republic Records, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Records founded by brothers Monte and Avery Lipman in 1995, is in the midst of an incredible hot streak. Presently, eight Republic albums, including Bloodhound Gang's "Hooray for Boobies," Eiffel 65's "Europop" and the self-titled debut from Godsmack, hold top sales spots at the nation's retailers.

Says UMG overlord Doug Morris of the Lipmans: "Avery is brilliant and hard-working... He knows how to identify the hits and how to bring them to the table. Monte graduated from Republic Records, and he's one of the top executives in the music group at the moment."

"Republic has come a long way over the last few years, and we are thrilled that they are now part of Universal," adds Universal/Motown Records Group Chairman Mel Lewinter. "While we are proud of what we have accomplished together, we realize that there is much more work to be done and look forward to even greater success. Avery stands out as the very best among the new generation of record executives. He possesses a very unique approach to the business, and consistently looks for originality. He is a very creative executive, and that's not an oxymoron in his case; it's something real."

Clearly, the fates are smiling on the Lipman boys. But can mere chart dominance, the praise of their bosses and a tide of ducats offset the nausea of enduring an interview with us?

How did you get started?

Avery Lipman: Republic started with no real plan, no formal business model or any clear goals. It was a true hobby. I had another job when we started and Monte was in promotion, so he was always in between jobs. The formation of the company grew out of our frustrations dealing within the record label system and watching as things kept falling through corporate cracks.

I was in business administration and I'd get all of these tapes. I'd send them to the A&R department and nothing would ever come of it. So I started dabbling in all aspects of the business—A&R, promotion, radio, sales, etc. Everything we did was purposely against the grain. [Laughs] We were also operating anonymously using fake names. We didn't want to get fired.

How did you end up working up the Bloodhound Gang?

Avery: We got the band a deal, which ended as soon as it got started. But that experience gave us the fuel to say we should be doing this on our own. After Bloodhound got signed, we stepped back. We watched what happened and thought, "[The label] doesn't know what we do!" So we made a new record, did it our way and the new record became #1 requested at KROQ. After that, when we were going to sell a band again, we'd say, "We have the plan—you guys can catch a ride with us. That's how we operate."

The second Bloodhound Gang release had some success, but Republic was still operating under the radar.

Avery: Until Chumbawamba. We went after them and signed them to Universal Records, and it was after that point that they decided to go legit with us. Now we'll go out, and in some cases, license existing records out there like Eiffel 65. That was out and doing well in Europe before we got it. We basically signed Chumbawamba from a demo. Three Doors Down and Godsmack were buzzing locally, and we identified them as bands that could go on to the next level.

Monte Lipman: As an A&R unit for a larger record company, we've got the best of both worlds. You have an A&R team that was an independent once, and can take a project from A to Z. We are involved in imaging, marketing plans, setting up the videos, strategy and educating the company as to who the group is. We're a major with an indie-label spirit. The company is about popular music. Our goal for each project is to take a group on the fringes and, at the end of the day, make them part of pop culture.

You also have the debut of Mollys Yes and new albums by Oleander and Godsmack coming up.

Monte: We are hitting right now. It's nothing magical. I approach each day like this is a dream job and the fruits of our labor are now paying off. Our success has everything to do with the support of the UMG organization, the Universal Records staff and Doug Morris and Mel Lewinter. The fact is, without them, none of this could have been possible.

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