www.lux-review.com Page 5 LUX 2020 Global Excellence Awards someone with an international voice is chastising the music giants for under-paying artists, referring to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments to Industry leadership in unfairly sharing Artist profits. Equally, Mike firmly believes that the largest streaming platforms should be validating that the labels are fairly passing along the Artists’ pay-outs. Some services, the smaller ones for independent artist or marquee artists alike (artist-centric platforms, as Mike calls them) often pay their artists and the labels using standard systems which anyone can use - it’s just that labels don’t like to inform independent artists or small labels like Phantom Records what those “secrets” are for fear of competition. Fair enough. Mike’s proven his resume for stealth competition in another area related to ecommerce but not with music - with video games. He’s familiar with sales, ecommerce and music rights. So what makes today’s COVID world so different? “COVID sent everyone back home retuning them to their pre-Rochester, NY artisan-style work-life when there still were artisans and apprentices who worked from home or lived at home with their professional mentor to learn the trade during the day, and how to balance work/life at home during after-hours times and weekends, including the right Church to attend.” While COVID has impacted Mike’s older brother, like many other families, it’s not their family’s first ‘go around’. Which brings us back to what made it difficult to get to this point and how COVID, in a strange way, is catapulting Phantom Records™ forward. His first very public ‘go around’ in the music scene? The 1991 “Oakland Firestorm” as it is known to those who lost 3000 homes near his honors high school. Mike affirms that he knows change when it happens. He knows that these uncertain times make us slow down and take stock of ourselves, which is ultimately why we reached out to recognize a broader scope of contributors in our Global Excellence program – after all, as Mike says, nothing is more hospitable, more comforting, than music. “With Phantom Records, you needn’t worry about what’s playing in the elevator, turn on your phone. The Phantom’s in there. It’s not Spotify. It’s not a mimic, it’s not a competitor to Spotify. To any who would, don’t waste your time pitting us against each other. I enjoy what Spotify offers, but we are operating in a different way entirely.” More than anything, Mike and his team are concerned about the future of art. He believes wholeheartedly that without global media attention, the U.S. will enact policies to restrict the freedoms of artists and their right to be paid fairly for their work.