Mr. Ozwald
Gig Seeker Pro

Mr. Ozwald

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Hip Hop R&B

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Feb
24
Mr. Ozwald @ Newark Opera House w/ Lil Wayne

Newark, New Jersey, USA

Newark, New Jersey, USA

Jul
19
Mr. Ozwald @ Pussycat Lounge

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Jul
01
Mr. Ozwald @ Doca

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


You've probably seen him on Fulton Street, selling his 2nd album, Hungry as Hell. Kyle, a.k.a. "Mr. Ozwald," isn't hard to spot, standing 6'7", and he hopes to attract the same attention in the music industry. Mr. Ozwald is also the head of his own production company, Hands Down Productions, with which he has introduced himself into the business aspect of the " rap game." And not only does he write his own music, but he also produces all his own beats. He has funded all aspects of his album, from the studio time, to the C.D. pressing, to marketing, all the way to distribution. He has performed all over his hometown, West Hartford, Connecticut, and all over the city, from clubs in Brooklyn to the Pace Gym.

He started his music career five years ago, when he was just 15. "I can always remember writing, but I didn't get my first turntables until I was 15. I've been rhyming ever since," said Ozwald.

He went from DJ'ing high school parties, to pushing his own mix tape the same way he's pushing his second album-on the streets. He explains how his first turntables were stolen: "At this point I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I was gonna do this seriously and put out my best shit." He hasn't stopped since.

He quickly put out his 2nd mix tape under the name DJ Knuckles. "I put a lot more effort into the 2nd mix tape. I practiced more-I was serious. I could see the difference in the results-people were feelin' this one," said Ozwald.

Mr. Ozwald reinvested himself, as well as his profits, in his third project, his first album Wanted: Dead or Alive, which he released the summer of 2001, when he was just 18. When asked about the differences between his first mix tape and first album, he said while laughing, "They were as different as day and night-at all levels, from the production quality, my abilities, my knowledge, my resources, my desire-just everything".

He acknowledges that to be taken seriously, his product needed to look serious.

Since starting Hands Down Productions, he has realized that when it comes to the music industry, the business aspect is as important, if not more, than the art.

"It's all about the business, not who's the nicest. Of course being nice matters, but you've got to be able to get yourself out there-self marketing is the key," said the entrepreneur.

When asked about the name Hands Down Production, he kept it pretty simple: "At that point, I felt I was the nicest of my peers, hands down. No one was fuckin' with me or anyone I rolled with. The name is meant to send a message."

The business aspects of the music industry are undeniable; the fact that he rhymes, produces and controls the business ends of his music gives him an unquestionable arsenal.

While he is extremely confident in his abilities, he has been able to keep himself grounded. You can still find him on street corners selling his own music, the same way he's been doing it for the past five years. When asked about his future, Mr. Ozwald keeps it basic: "As long as I keep improving, I feel I'm in good shape."

You can see Mr. Ozwald live at his upcoming performance at Club B-52, or check out his website (www.handsdownproductions.com).

By: Michael Iwankiw - Pace Press


Mr. Ozwald has created an entire project with his own two hands, essentially. This one-man band produced every track on the record, spit his own rhymes, and even added a little flare with cuts and scratches on “HDP Alarm” courtesy of his background as a dj. On “Against the Grain,” you will find a record with deep low’s, a variety of synth sounds, horn replications, and a heavy voice with some nice lyrics and a steady, dope flow. The main drawback to this latest release is that it could be longer. Still, keep your eye one him…especially those out East.

Mr.Ozwald returns this March with his third studio release, “Against the Grain.” Hailing from West Hartford, CT, Oz has an extensive history rooted in the game, with his early start as a DJ across the entire New England area and stretching into New York and Philly as well. Oz used his position as a DJ to get out into the street and begin promoting his wares, selling various mixtapes hand to hand. Slowly tasting the onset of success, he knew what needed to be done. Tired of essentially promoting and selling his mixes of other emcees, he got to work and created his first album, “Wanted:Dead or Alive.” Oz’s first release was well accepted throughout his familiar territory, where he sold approximately 500 copies hand to hand. However, ultimately knowing he needed to take a more widespread approach to establish a larger network, Ozwald made the move to New York City.

Moving to Brooklyn to begin work on his second album “Hungry as Hell,” while simultaneously pursuing a college degree, Oz knew that he was in the right place. With most of his time and energy invested in his music, it was clear to Oz the level of focus that would be necessary to substantially advance his career. With this, he made the decision to quit school and pursue his music full time.

Without the luxury of convention, Ozwald needed a method of financing a more unorthodox career path. This became the ideal opportunity to implement his knack for poker, so he began rounding at various underground poker clubs in New York and dealing at the most prestigious poker room in the city, the NY Player’s club. Between hustling CD’s and poker, Oz had generated a big enough bankroll to support his record label, Hands Down Productions. Having released his second album, “Hungry as Hell,” the young prodigy focused on distributing his talents in the right places. Making the Jay-Street Borough Hall station in Brooklyn his primary promotion outpost, Oz began to truly make his mark where it mattered most, the New York hip-hop community. With his feet on solid ground, Oz was in good position to advance his career.

After selling about 3,000 copies of his second album, work began on “Against The Grain,” Ozwald’s latest studio release. Recorded by Connecticut’s finest engineer Mike Arafeh and mastered by New York legend Rick Essig, the quality is second to none. Remaining consistent with his standard production regimen, all beats are produced solely by Oz. Such focus and artistic investment give way to his finest beats and lyrics to date, making “Against The Grain” the industry calling card that should spread the name and talent of Mr. Ozwald further than ever before. Keep up with him at http://www.mrozwald.com for news, features, audio, and all that. - Soundslam.com


For people who may not have heard some music from you yet... what can someone who's never heard of you expect from your music?

People can expect something different. I try not to make songs that all sound the same or too much like what’s already out there. The majority of my music is based on my own experiences and stuff I go through. Depending on what the song is about people can usually find something they’ll relate to.

Your new album, ‘The Yearbook’ is your first digital release that will be released track-by-track. Tell us about it.

Since album sales are dropping every year, I figured it would be a good idea to release singles instead of a full album all at once. Most people online are only buying one or two songs off an album, so I figured releasing 12 singles, one for each month of the year would be a good idea. Off to a good start so far :)

Which song on "The Yearbook" took the longest to complete? Why?

Well, being that I’ve only recorded through March so far, I’ve only got 3 records to choose from off “The Yearbook” album. Nothing has really taken me too long to complete, but my January release “The Best” did give me a little trouble. When I went to the studio to record, I added a new element to the production (talk box), which changed the entire vibe of the record. It made it sound much stronger and brought the whole track to life, and it made me want to go in a completely new direction with the song; I actually ended up rewriting everything last minute. At the time it definitely made my life a lot more difficult, but in the end it was all worth it… the record came out really hot.

What is the meaning behind the title, "The Yearbook"?

Initially, the project was going to be called “The Documentary”, but that sounded boring to me. I didn’t want to make an album that just documented my life throughout the year, I wanted to make hot songs and document the process behind each record. Since each song will have it’s own artwork, there will be 12 different songs with 12 different covers… By the end of the year, between the blog, music, and artwork, it’ll be like a story with a book of pictures. Hence, the name "The Yearbook".

When creating a track, do you have a set theme and pre-written lyrics, or do you start with an idea or the music first?

When I write a song I almost always start with making the beat first. By the time I’m done producing the track I usually have an idea or a direction I want to go with the lyrics. Music is a vibe so I just roll with whatever comes out. I try not to over think it because as soon as I try to force something it doesn’t come out right.

What made you choose the producers for "The Yearbook"?

Well, this guy Mr. Ozwald makes some pretty hot beats, so I figured I’d just have him do all the production :)

I do all the beats.

Rapper, producer and CEO/owner. You have a lot of activities. You can create, produce and promote all with your own companies. In what way do these companies cooperate with each other? Do you have any other activities in mind for the future?

Everything pretty much goes hand in hand… It’s all a way for me to create and get my name out. My newest venture (Wi-Fly Radio) is an Internet radio show I co-own with DJ Yose. With that in place, I can take a record I’ve released and hit a much wider audience. The Internet is great for that… you can really get your name out to a lot people if you take advantage of everything it has to offer.

What artists are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Funk and Rhythm & Blues from the 70’s. Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Aretha Franklyn, Steevie Wonder … all the greats.

Lately, artists have been releasing albums/singles through the Internet (i.e., Radiohead). "The Yearbook" will also be released track-by-track through the Internet. Will Internet be your primary source of music sales? If so, what other ways will music(-sales) change in the (near) future?

Go digital. That’s my motto. The music business is still trying to fight this download thing when you simply can’t. People want music right a way, they don’t want to wait 6 months for an album to drop when they can download it now on Limewire. If you ask me, the focus should be on digital sales and ringtones first, then CDs.

What is your favorite part of your radio show?

For the most part, I’m behind the scenes on Wi-Fly Radio. I like that. DJ Yose and Chris H. (our host) are the faces of the show. I like the business aspect of things… I’m not trying to be a radio personality too.

Do you think success and credibility are mutually exclusive?

I don’t think so. I think a lot of artists have a difficult time achieving both, however. You have someone like Jay-Z who is very successful and very credible while other artists may have to “sell-out” to obtain that kind of success. Success is all relative too. For me, being successful is longevity and making a good living whereas success to someone else may be being famous. It all depends on how you look at it.

Which songs could fans look out for in the future (next couple of months)? Any collaborations?</b>

No immediate collabs but I just finished the March release… that should be out towards the end of the month. It’s called “Life” and there isn’t anything out that sounds like it. Its really dope.

Do you have an idea or concept for your next album?

Not at all. I’m just working on these “Yearbook” records throughout the year… After December when the project is complete, I’ll get to work on my next album.

Recently, what is a typical day like for you?

Well, I spend entirely too much time on myspace and craigslist. When I’m not messing around on the Internet though, I’m either making music or thinking of ways to push my records. That’s pretty much it.

Final words?

Thanks for the interview. Make sure you check me out on iTunes, Hit me up on www.myspace.com/mrozwald and visit wiflyradio.com.

Peace!

-oz

- musicremedy.com


In the age of where we are spooned music in little happy, cellophane smothered, artwork inserted, compact disc packages of delightment, there is one person that says, “Wait, aren’t album sales down? Then why am I going to do this?” After putting his touches on MTV’s Premiere Show “Rob & Big”… Enter Mr. Ozwald…

illRoots.com: First off thank you for the interview I definitely appreciate it.

Oz: Oh, thanks for giving the interview.

illRoots.com: So who is Mr. Ozwald? If we looked up Mr. Ozwald in the dictionary how would you define yourself?

Oz: Basically innovative. I try to make music that isn’t exactly cookie cutter you know the same shit that everyone else is doing. When you listen to my records from one track to the next or even that last album I put out the road to riches you’ll see that everything is different from one to the next. You know one might be a joint that you can ride around to, the next one might be on some spiritual stuff. So who Mr. Ozwald is in the music, because what is in my music is all from my personal experiences.

illRoots.com: So your discography is?

Oz: Well anything that you hear me on is joints that I produced but outside of my music you can hear my music on the MTV shows Rob & Big. I’ve been on all three seasons you know as the background music and Warren Miller’s Off the Grid which is like a ski movie. But the problem with the TV stuff is that people don’t know that its your beat.


“These guys are hilarious. I’m actually a fan of the show so it’s pretty cool to have my song in the trailer.” - Mr.Ozwald

illRoots.com: So its like ghostwriting?

Oz: Basically people might hear the beat and like the beat but its not shown that it was made by you. But theres no album credits.

illRoots.com: So what is your biggest assets that you can contribute to hip-hop that no one else has contributed before?

Oz: You know you have to try to be different and be you. The thing that I see all the time is that people hear something that’s hot and they know it’s a formula that works so instead of doing their own thing they do what is currently hot. Which when I’m making music you don’t want to stray to far from that and give them something that is to far from left field. I feel that with my music that I’m going to give you my own sound.

illRoots.com: One Song to Summarize your Life?

Oz: “Toxicity” – System of the Down, crazy, I listen to that and it makes me feel like stuff I think about all the time.

illRoots.com: As far as the whole setup for putting out an album where did you get this concept to release a different song each month?

Oz: Well after I put out this last album “Road to Riches” it goes on Itunes. I spent a lot of time on Itunes and downloading music and if you go on there you can see the majority of these albums people are still only buying one or two songs. I mean Itunes basically shows you the popularity. So I was thinking I read a lot of Billboard magazine, and keep track of a lot of the independent this and that. You know the younger crowd to I was young hustling CD’s but now its like why when I have an Ipod. Like Damn, the CD game is starting to fade out. For me to constantly stay out there and not just fall back this is a good way to keep it fresh. Plus, instead to getting a group of people to download from Itunes one time, now I have them coming back you know once a month. All the way around it minimize expenses and it’s a win – win for everybody.

illRoots.com: One person that you would like to work with in the near future and why?

Oz: I mean honestly it would be an honor to a track with Hov and this one is going to sound like a cop out too but before Amy Winehouse popped off I was like this chick is ridiculous. I always wanted to do one with her. I’ve always been digging her voice its so soulful. If you look in my Ipod its just a lot of Rhythm and Blues from the 70’s – Otis Redding and Curtis Mayfield

illRoots.com: So what do you use equipment wise?

Oz: When I first started out all I had was a MP, turntables, and a mixer so all my beats I did were sample heavy. It was great because I got nice at chopping up stuff on the MP. Then I got some music in the hands of this music lawyer and she actually got me to some placements. She got me in, well the movie bombed, but that movie “Gigle” with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez….

illRoots.com: Oh man that shit was the worst.

Oz: But before the movie came out they wanted to use some tracks and were talking pretty good numbers and the next day that movie with Bernie Mac, “Mr. 3000”, the guy that was producing wanted a few tracks. So the ball started rolling and when it came down they were ready to use them and I don’t have clearances for any of the samples. So it put me in a bad situation because they didn’t want to wait for me to get clearances to put it in the movie, as well it put her in a bind too. At that point I said let me buy a keyboard and do some original stuff. Now its weird like I don’t really sample any more at all.

illRoots.com: As far the new song “Anything” whats the prowess of the song, and whats your process in songwriting?
Oz: Yea man and people do have their processes and shit that they do and how they work stuff out. What I may do is produce a bunch of beats until I find one I want I’ll pick that and write to it. With this track I was going through a lot of shit like normal people do and it was weird because I had to get this record done and I was recording on Thursday and it was like Tuesday and I didn’t have anything ready to go. I had all this other stuff that was stressing me out and what it came down to I got to the studio and this guy flew up from Miami to record which only gave me , in the end, a two day window to get everything done. So I was just stressing and I could have cut all this out and been fine but I got it done and it felt good.



illRoots.com: One Good Book to read?Oz: I’m a spiritual cat so one good book would be “The Case for Christ” it’s a pretty interesting book and it makes you think about a lot.

illRoots.com: For More check out www.myspace.com/mrozwald and www.mrozwald.com for much much more…..

- www.illroots.com


The self-proclaimed best rapper alive did it again for fans at the Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, NJ on Sunday night (2/24/08). In town for a court date stemming from a July arrest, Weezy decided he'd make the most of his time here by doing a charitable concert, with proceeds going to the city's "Stop Shooting" campaign.

While Wayne himself eventually put on a good show, fans of the rapper had to wait over two hours to see what they came for. The event was full of up and coming acts that the crowd was clearly not interested in hearing. At least five acts tried to entertain the restless ticketholders, but with most of them being hardcore rappers playing to a majority white female audience, most fell short of even a head nod.

Two acts seemed to move the crowd at least slightly more than the others. They were white rapper Mr. Ozwald and 15 year old rapper Young Jinsu. Ozwald's songs had catchy hooks and nasal delivery similar to a young Eminem, and Young Jinsu's charming looks and cute songs had the young girls in the crowd paying cheering.

Finally, well after 10pm, Angie Martinez of HOT 97 fame, the host for the night who was late, announced that Weezy was in the building and the crowd went wild. As the lights dimmed, music started blaring out of the speakers and after what seemed like the longest 2 minutes to this anxious crowd, Weezy burst onto the stage with an insane amount of energy and the screams from the crowd nearly drowned out the music.

While he disappointed some by not performing any new material, he did do a bunch of fan favorites including “I Feel Like Dying,” and “Sky's the Limit.” The surprise of the night came in the form of Juelz Santana who assisted Wayne with a Cam’ron less “Suck It Or Not,” much to the crowd’s delight.

Wayne showed a fair amount of showmanship as he brought out his guitar for the sleeper hit “Leather So Soft,” and playfully interacted with the crowd over Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat.” He sang his heart out on the Supahead inspired “Prostitute,” but clearly the synthesizer applied to his voice is what makes the song even remotely listenable.

[Lil Wayne Cranking The Soulja Boy]

Wayne's energy was intense throughout the show, but he definitely could have performed much more material for the fans that paid upwards of one hundred seventy dollars to see him for only slightly longer than an hour. He did delight the girls in the crowd with his infamous “P***y Monster” song, and truly became a beast for his verse on “We Takin’ Over;” putting his mic on the floor and slowly crawling to it on all fours with his dreads hanging over his face then pouncing up like a panther to sing his verse.

All in all, Birdman Jr. delivered an energy packed but all too brief performance. Also there were way too much entourage onstage with no role. If you paid to see Wayne and Wayne only, then it was very well spent. Next time, less opening acts, and way more Weezy please.

By: Marisa Mendez
- AllHipHop.com


Mr. Ozwald's not just another white Eminem wannabe. He's a 22-year-old rapper and producer who stays on the grind. And although he hails from suburban West Hartford, CT, Ozwald prefers to take it to the streets when he's promoting his album. He sold over 3000 copies of his last release in the Jay Street-Borough Hall subway station alone. With the release of his third album, Against the Grain, Mr. Ozwald decided to step up his promotional efforts. In light of this, he's increased distribution, made his CDs available online, even put it to wax. Against the Grain reveals a polished lyrical skill and a commercial yet unique sound that should fare well on the turntables. With strong, catchy beats and cocky lyrics influenced by Jada and Fat Joe, Against the Grain definitely has the club hits taken care of with joints like "Amazin'."

By: Bobbi Misick - New York Press


My first thoughts on Mr. Ozwald were, "Isn't that a cartoon character
?" Well, apparently it's also the name of a certain college dropout/producer/rapper. Mr. Ozwald claims, "I can do anything" on the leading track on his myspace page. So I took a listen to see if he really has what it takes to be the next big hip-hop star.

"Anything" is a feel good hip-hop track with a killer hook. It's a little bit Jay-Z, a little bit Kanye and a touch of Eminem. The beat is good and so are the rhymes. I was disappointed that the tracks I heard did not come close to being as catchy or commercial as this one did. But having said that, in the music business it only takes one hot track to make an overnight star. Mr. Ozwald raps about everything from his struggles in the music industry in the track "I know," to the sky rocketing gas prices and the war in Iraq in "The Sky is Falling" to the ladies in "The Best."

So, who is this underground rap artist creating so much hype on the East Coast? His biography lists poker degenerate, tallest rapper alive, entrepreneur and former Connecticut resident. From my own research Mr. Ozwald is also a beat maker and founder of his own record label Crown Digital Records LLC. It turns out that Mr. Ozwald is also innovative. Instead of releasing a full 12-track album he is releasing a track for every month of the year, calling it collectively The Yearbook. He describes his album as a year-long documentary with monthly tracks relating to events that occur in each particular month.

Selected tracks from The Yearbook are now available to download from iTunes and other major digital distributors.

Visit myspace.com/mrozwald for more information.

By: Rhonda Morgan - The Ticker News


"I am always in the studio and I hardly sleep; time is a luxury, and I haven't earned it yet" explains Mr. Ozwald, the CEO of his own record label Crown Digital Records. At just 25-years-old, Ozwald is an accredited producer, lyricist, songwriter, rapper and executive producer of Wi-Fly Radio who has already amassed an exceptional resume through his hard work and innovative ideas. Spend five minutes with this promising artist and you will be drawn to his unique style and undeniable swag.

At age 18, Oz left his Connecticut home base and began hustling his CD's on the subway systems of New York City, ultimately making thousands of hand-to-hand sales. Despite constant harassment by the police, including a short stint in jail as a result of his street hustle, Oz's determination always shone through; nothing would deter him from accomplishing his goals. With this kind of effort and mentality at work, everything began to fall into place. Oz surrounded himself with the right people and obtained influential and like-minded contacts, which to date have led to a collection of production credits on MTV smash-hit shows such as Rob and Big and Run's House, as well as a feature film credit with the score of Warren Miller's Off The Grid.

Oz's film and television work, coupled with sold-out performances alongside the likes of Ghostface Killah, eventually caught the attention of Chris Gotti, leading to Oz's latest credit; joining the production crew at Murder Inc. The opportunity to produce for A-list artists is a huge step in the career of Mr. Ozwald, but clearly only the beginning.

The idea behind his latest project is a true revolution in how an artist can package and distribute their music. The project, aptly titled The Yearbook, will consist of 12 songs; one released each month throughout the year. With this method of release, Oz is able to focus on each song exclusively and have each new track become an entity of its own, rather than being forced to follow the rules and guidelines of the traditional album structure. Oz has already cultivated a very strong following through Myspace, Youtube, his blog as well as word of mouth; this way his fans can always rest assured that he has something for them right around the corner.

The first single off the album, "The Best" successfully launched on all major online retailers (iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster, Sony Connect, etc.) and was the #1 hip-hop record added to college radio in North America its first week in February. The title rightfully merited the song, a genial blend of Hip Hop, Funk and Pop. It's not hard to see why the masses are beginning to pay close attention, so check him out at www.mrozwald.com or www.myspace.com/mrozwald.

By: Kerstyn Dioulo - Urban Network


THE YEARBOOK- Crown Digital Artist Mr. Ozwald Launches the First 100% Digital Album

Mr. Ozwald, the emerging artist, producer, Crown Digital label chief and founder of Hands Down Productions officially launches his first 100% digital album, The Yearbook, this March 2009. For The Yearbook, which began production in January 2008, Mr. Ozwald wrote, produced and released a new track, complete with its own unique cover artwork, each month for one year. The result is a collection of impressively original tracks, each one with a completely distinctive and fresh sound, as opposed to a traditional album that often showcases one or two hot singles and an assortment of filler.

The Yearbook in its entirety is a prime example of Neo Hip-Hop, Mr. Ozwald's self-created genre, combining elements of hip-hop, rap, pop and funk with electro undertones, and balancing current music trends with fresh beats and original lyrics. By providing consumers with immediate material, Oz's music is inherently current, influenced by the present, as opposed to hitting the market months after being recorded.

The Yearbook also provides fans with a sampling of the wide range of Oz's repertoire. From The Best, January's release, which features the use of a talk box to create an intoxicatingly addictive hook, to April's release, Hey April, which is more electro-pop than rap, relying on singing vocals to comprise the ultimate relationship woes anthem, the album is as diverse as it is solid. Lighthearted tracks such as June's summer kickoff release, Dirty Girl, are juxtaposed with deeper, more thought-provoking releases such as October's The Holy Ghost.

The Yearbook experience is further heightened by original cover artwork for each track, designed by pop artist Tiffany Whipple, as well as one album cover designed by guest artist John Lily. The album also features Oz's first music video for May's track, Electrofly, which topped college radio hip hop charts Record Breakers and Rap Attack. The Yearbook is available for sale through all major online retailers including iTunes, Zune and Rhapsody, as well as on mrozwald.com, myspace.com, and crowndigitalrecords.com. The Yearbook will be officially released in NYC at an album release party in March.

For more information regarding Mr. Ozwald, check him out on the web at mrozwald.com. - The Hype Magazine



By Jack LeBlanc



Published: Thursday, February 5, 2009

Updated: Thursday, February 5, 2009

Emerging artist and producer Mr. Ozwald thinks he may have found a solution to the music industry’s inability to sell albums the past few years — he gives songs away for free.

His newest album, “The Yearbook,” is comprised of 12 singles released over a 12-month period. He wrote, produced and released a new track each month for one year and allowed users to immediately download them for free from his Web site.

The self-proclaimed “neo hip-hop” artist combines elements of hip-hop, rap, pop and funk with electro undertones. His music has been featured on MTV’s “Rob & Big” and “Run’s House,” ESPN and ABC, and he has performed alongside artists like Lil Wayne and Ghostface Killah.

Mr. Ozwald said he got the idea to release 12 singles instead of a conventional album after visiting the iTunes online store and noticing the majority of people only buy one or two songs off each album.

“Now that you can buy songs individually, people are just going after the ones they want,” he said. “It’s a singles-driven market.”

Based on Nielsen’s 2008 year-end figures, Mr. Ozwald is right.

Single-track downloads outsold albums by a ratio of 2.5 to 1 last year. A record total of 1.07 billion songs were downloaded in 2008, up more than 80 percent versus 2007.

“I don’t really think the majors have figured things out yet,” Mr. Ozwald said. “I wonder if they are paying any attention to what’s going on. The things they are doing are archaic.”

He said he thinks some indie labels have started to spend more time and money on the digital, singles-driven market, but the major labels are still spending huge budgets recording whole albums despite suffering album sales.

According to Nielsen, total album sales dropped 14 percent in 2008 and have fallen 45 percent since 2000. Even if album sales are combined with track sales using a formula that counts 10 track downloads as one album sale, the total is still down 8.5 percent from 2007 and more than 30 percent below 2000.

“The music business is in a state where people will spend three or four dollars on a ring tone but won’t spend a dollar to download a song,” Mr. Ozwald said.

Mr. Ozwald is not the first artist to give music away to generate buzz.

He based his free-single idea partly on the marketing model used by many well-known electronic DJs who give songs away on their blogs or Web sites to spread the buzz and sell tickets to their shows.

Many hip-hop artists release mixtapes of freestyles and collaborations to create hype for future album releases and concerts.

Music digitization has also made its way into the alternative genre.

British alternative rock band Radiohead’s seventh studio album, “In Rainbows,” was released as a digital download in October 2007. Customers could order the album for whatever price they saw fit. A physical album release followed in December, selling 3 million copies worldwide in both digital and physical formats.

Trent Reznor, frontman of rock group Nine Inch Nails, released a 36-track instrumental album over the Internet last March. The album, “Ghosts I-IV” was available in a varying range of price packages. Reznor gave away the first nine songs of the album for free and sold the entire digital album for $5. The album was nominated for two Grammys in the categories Best Rock Instrumental Performance and Best Box Set or Limited Edition Package.

Mr. Ozwald said artists who give songs away for free use the buzz to make money through performing, advertising, ring tones and sponsorship.

Despite releasing 12 singles, Mr. Ozwald said he feels his album still has appeal as a complete album.

“I didn’t have time to really overthink things,” Mr. Ozwald said. “Music is a vibe. If you spend too much time working on something, you might kind of lose that vibe.”

If listeners play the completed album all the way through, he thinks they will be more involved because each song sounds different from the one before it, and the album doesn’t have the same feel the whole way through.

“If people aren’t going to pay for music, then you might as well have them promoting your stuff anyway,” Mr. Ozwald. “I don’t want those people to not have my music.”

- The Daily Reveille


Discography

Rob & Big Seasons 1, 2, 3, MTV
Run's House Seasons 1, 2 MTV
The Yearbook, 2008
The Road To Riches, 2007
Warren Miller's: Off The Grid, 2006

Photos

Bio

Mr. Ozwald is the emerging artist, producer and Crown Digital label chief representing the future of the music industry. Hailing from West Hartford, CT, Mr. Ozwald has been recording and producing his own material since he was 18. Oz eventually moved to New York City and started selling his CD's the old fashioned way, on the street. While selling thousands of albums hand to hand and building a loyal fan-base throughout the city, Mr. Ozwald continued his grind successfully, until he was arrested for selling his music without a vendor's license and forced to reassess his situation.

The arrest wasn't the only thing that changed Oz's mindset; the music industry was rapidly changing, and major labels were struggling. Ozwald, the entrepreneur and creative marketer, began to develop his label, Crown Digital Records, and a distribution plan with a focus on technology. The label would distribute its material through digital delivery platforms, directly from mrozwald.com, crowndigitalrecords.com, as well as through major online retailers including iTunes, Rhapsody and Zune.

Oz released his first official album, The Road to Riches, in 2007, and immediately began working on his second album, The Yearbook, taking his concept to the next level by going 100% digital. Every month, a new single was produced and released online, complete with its own original album cover artwork. The result was a collection of impressively original tracks, each one with a completely distinctive and fresh sound, as opposed to a traditional album that often showcases one or two hot singles and an assortment of filler.

In addition to running Crown Digital Records, recording and producing his own material, and performing throughout the city, Oz is also one half of the Sonic Boyz (a music production partnership) and the co-founder of Wi-Fly Radio, an entertainment website covering music, news and a variety of pop culture topics. You've heard Mr. Ozwald's music on mainstream media channels including MTV's Rob & Big and Run's House, ESPN, ABC, and Warren Miller's Off The Grid. He's performed alongside hip-hop legends Lil Wayne and Ghostface Killah, as well as at some of the hottest nightclubs in the city. Mr. Ozwald is an emerging artist and young hip hop entrepreneur to watch in 2009.