- PETER WRIGHT / OWNER / CEO
Peter has spent his entire career in the music business in the independent sector starting out in post-punk Manchester in 1980 working for Buzzcocks’ management company and label New Hormones. In 1982 he moved to New York and worked in independent distribution at Dutch East India Trading and Caroline Distribution as well at Sonic Youth’s first label Neutral Records. He also set up his own publicity & promotion company to represent such key UK labels and artists as Mute Records, Red Rhino, the Mekons and Cabaret Voltaire. In 1988 he set up Mute Records New York office and became its Label Manager and then VP of Operations. In 1996 he moved to Boston, MA as GM for Rykodisc and in 2000 returned to NYC where he became GM of Instinct Records (Moby’s first home).
In 2003 Peter took advantage of his years of independent music business experience to set up Virtual Label LLC – a service company for artists and indie labels offering access to physical and digital distribution, marketing and consulting services. Peter is also chairman of A2IM’s Digital Media & Emerging Technologies Committee and a former member of the Merlin board.
- JOHN ALLEN / PHYSICAL DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING
I got my start in music spinning records on college radio and booking acts of the day like Sebadoh, Urge Overkill and the Unsane. Throughout the nineties I ran my own label releasing records by several New Zealand bands, some underground US psych and improv outfits, and NYC mainstays NNCK and Loren Mazzacane. During this time I also worked with some pretty outstanding musicians who lacked management, as de-facto booking agent/handler/publicist.
As admin director of the downtown experimental music organization Roulette I continued to work with artists from 1999 thru 2005. I’ve been with Virtual since then. In my free time i play guitar in some bands and I DJ at WFMU.
- AL VERIK / DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION & MARKETING
Al Verik lives in Brooklyn, New York by way of the Chicagoland area. He currently oversees all things digital at Virtual. Graduating from Columbia College in 2008, where he studied Arts, Entertainment & Media Management, Al simultaneously worked for independent labels such as Touch and Go / Quarterstick, Epitaph / ANTI- and Minty Fresh.
Since then, he has worked for the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) while also consulting for artists and tech start-ups. Al has found his place at Virtual by combining his interest in music discovery, emerging technologies and the independent spirit.
- BRANDON PERRY / OFFICE MANAGER
I started getting into music pretty young. I bought my first cassettes in 4th grade, BoyzIIMen’s cooleyhighharmony and Ace of Base’s The Sign, and it was over, I have pretty much been obsessively collecting music ever since. After getting burned out on the pop tracks I began searching for something harder I found myself spending a lot of time in the Los Angeles DIY and punk scene. My involvement performing, throwing shows, and continued OCD album purchases, lead to hosting a radio show at KXLU Los Angeles, where I also ended up serving as that station’s General Manager.
After college I found myself holding down various positions at record stores, music venues, promotion companies and with some music supervisors but when I was offered a chance to move to New York working with RockCorps I jumped. We were throwing concerts for MTV, but the only way to get tickets was earning them though community service. It was great until they ran out of money, but I had had a taste and was too excited with everything the city had to offer, there was no way I could turn tail and head back to LA. I have been able to continue my service-oriented work by helping found two youth arts biased non-profits RepresentingNYC and The Trinity Project both centered in northeast Brooklyn.
When I am not with the kids or here at Virtual Label you can probably find me playing records on WFMU or at your local bar, maybe exploring the world of sound New York has to offer, or doing my best to pretend to play various instruments in a few different groups.
Our Company Story
In 1998 my friend Dan Zanes sent me a cassette of his string band called “Rocket Ship Beach”. I listened to it my car while commuting from Cambridge to Salem, MA, where I was General Manager at Rykodisc. Impressed, I called him to let him know that Rykodisc would love to release it. In fact, I think we made him a fairly substantial offer, but Dan was adamant that he wanted to put it out himself. And so he did…
Fast forward to the Fall of 2000. I was back in New York working at yet another record label when Dan called me and asked if I would like to help him with his fledgling record company Festival Five. We quickly figured out that the two key things that Dan needed were distribution and a booking agent, both of which I helped him secure. Suddenly he had a real business with significant revenues. And, most important of all, the business was stamped with Dan’s vision. I realized that I was having much more fun working with Dan than I was at my regular record business job. I also realized that the model for Dan’s business was a model for others. The vision for Virtual Label came directly out of this experience – it seemed to be a logical next step in the development of the music business.
We were fortunate in having a ready partner in Ryko Distribution for physical sales but were also in at the ground floor with iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic and Napster as the digital marketplace started to grow and with CD Baby (Dan’s original web store on his site) in the growth of D2C.
These days the idea of self-financing and self-releasing albums is the norm and there are many channels available to do so. But there is still a need for the human touch, for the company that is able to advise and guide the process. Virtual Label is such a company.
My goal is to help those artists who want to create their own sustainable business while continuing to build their careers. My belief is that artists should own their own masters as the first step to taking true ownership of the rest of their lives.
I have spent over thirty years working in the independent record business. In the course of my career I have worked in pretty much every aspect of that business from production to marketing, from business affairs to distribution. With Virtual Label I have been able to give artists the benefit of this “big picture” experience allowing them to do what they do best.
Peter J. Wright
Owner/CEO, Virtual Label LLC