Carnival Music 


It’s the legendary label, Atlantic Records that Carnival Recording Company looks to as its blueprint. “I’ve seen a lot of new record companies start up over the last 15 years,” owner, Frank Liddell says, “all with the same basic plan: Get a lot of money, hire a staff, get a building, set up radio promotion, distribution and marketing plans, and then start looking for artists. Most of these labels are gone, so we have to go back to the humble beginnings of Atlantic Records to find our inspiration for starting a record company. You had a few guys who loved jazz music, so they started a label for the sole purpose of making records that they would listen to themselves. They had very little financing, their first offices were in a condemned motel and they were literally selling records out of the trunk of their car. They went on to build one of the most diversified artist rosters that popular music has ever known, and 60 years later, Atlantic is still going strong. They just loved music and making records.”

“When I grew up, popular music was not governed by the same principles that are governing it today,” says Liddell. “There were great songs, great musicians, and great singers— writing about their generation, their time, their beliefs, and their core feelings. It was music made from one person to another—not at anybody. It was not preconceived or pre-marketed. I don’t think music buyers have changed. “I can’t help but believe that, sooner or later, the public is going to want its own music—music that is made by them and for them, not at them. Our plan is long-term, but again, time is on our side.”

We’re trying to build a model at Carnival where we sign artists we love and sell as many records as we possibly can,” says Liddell, who adds that he’s doing that in the same way he built his publishing company, Carnival Music—with music. “In the late ‘90s, Bruce Robison was floating around town with a handful of wonderful songs that didn’t fit any mold. Though people liked his work, he couldn’t convince anyone to believe in him enough to sign him. Travis Hill and I started Carnival Music not with a marketing plan, but with one writer whose music we both thought was amazing. We have enjoyed a lot of success with Bruce. Over the years, we will build systems that will help us bring more music to America and hopefully the world. This will take a lot of time and patience, but I believe that time is on our side.”

Like Atlantic, Carnival wants to build a diversified label based on musical intuitions instead of trends. They have enjoyed recent successes with the Eli Young Band, Mando Saenz, and Rick Brantley and are expanding the roster in number and in scope with the recent signings of Roman Candle, Jedd Hughes, and Eric Wilson & Empty Hearts. General Manager, Courtney Gregg adds, “The future of the industry is obviously uncertain, but we are committed to the long term with the artists and music that we represent. Music is still about connecting with people. The more drive, passion, and heart you deliver it with, the better your chances are to connecting it to those people.”

Carnival Music Clients Include

- Adam Hood
- Derik Hultquist
- Mando Saenz
- Rob Baird

Visit the Official Carnival Music Website