LIB Record Pool (LRP) is currently the number one online record pool providing Liberian music for music professionals around the world. The website prides itself on having a centralized technique of music distribution; allowing labels, producers and artists to distribute their new songs to a large demographic.
LRP’s founder is music aficionado DJ Chirpz, who plays a prominent role in the global Liberian music scene.
“When I started promoting Liberian artists back in 2012, there wasn’t a website DJs could go to for new music by Liberian artists,” DJ Chirpz said. “I wanted to start the pool, but at that time the music wasn’t where it is now as far as the amount of songs being released weekly. Two years ago, I decided to open the pool because a lot of DJs were always contacting me for new music.”
Born in Liberia, DJ Chirpz immigrated to the US at an early age with his family. In the summer of 2003, he purchased a CD with over 40 songs mixed by a popular American DJ, DJ Jelly. He played the CD everyday for an entire year and his fascination with the structure of the compilation lead him to purchase a controller to recreate the mix. Years later, DJ Chirpz would open alongside DJ Jelly for a concert. “It was a dream come true to meet and DJ alongside someone whose mixtape inspired me to become a DJ and we still keep in touch,” he stated.
LRP is maintained by a four-member team: AB Lincoln of Wonda Promotions Link is responsible for getting music from studios and artists in Liberia, Lincoln Ward of IRepLIB does everything from development to maintaining the pool, Nora Rahimian of #CultureFix runs LRP’s social media accounts, and DJ Chirpz verifies credentials of new site members and serves as the pool director by supplying DJs with new music provided by labels and artists.
When asked to name the biggest issues facing the Liberian music industry, DJ Chirpz is particularly clear and insightful in his response: “A big issue is the phrase ‘Liberian music industry.’ Liberia does not have a music industry.”
He added: “Yes, we do have artists, DJs, promoters, producers and a couple of labels back home that are working very hard to get the music out, but there’s still no industry. We need structure and all the other entities that make up an industry.”
LRP aids in the creation of a solid Liberian music industry which could potentially rival some of Africa’s more renowned music industries.
“For starters, we need to do what some Nigerian artists and producers did to get where they are today,” he said, when discussing ways Liberians can build a strong industry.
He referenced Nigerian superstars Dbanj and Don Jazzy, who invested their own money to form Mo’ Hits record label.
“Dbanj and Don Jazzy managed to release consistent quality music along with their own unique videos. Even though the return wasn’t a lot on their investment, that didn’t stop them from working hard. They branded and marketed themselves very well to the people of Nigeria and the people wanted to buy the music.”
Having direct access to Liberia’s music scene, DJ Chirpz sees firsthand the issues plaguing many Liberian musicians. “One of the biggest problems I observe with Liberian artists is branding. Liberian artists need to learn the importance of a brand. Branding has everything to do with your music, image, style, videos, social networks, and merchandise. As an artist, people should be able to tell who you are and what you do.”
He encourages artists to stick to a style of music and to consistently be their authentic selves in their songs due to the time it takes to build a brand and following.
He acknowledges the extreme amount of hard work, dedication, and capital needed to be successful in the music industry, but wholeheartedly believes that Liberia can reach its full by opening actual record labels, putting out quality work, building and maintaining excellent marketable musicians, and participating in target marketing. “Talking won’t get us there; laying one brick at a time will,” he said.
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