Holiday Issue 2021

12 Phantom Records™ LLC Best Mixtape Streaming Service - Mid-Atlantic USA The entertainment industry is fraught with complications, but some businesses out there enrich life through artistic and tech innovation. When it comes to making Mixtapes, DJing, and innovating without stress, there’s none more refined than the team led by Mike Widener from Phantom Records™. Mike’s an innovator through and through. We share what he’s done to secure so many years of dedication and reach for so many more. We have obliged his request to include references to records in the States where nearly anyone can find evidence of his plans dating back as long ago as 1988. As music evolves, innovators innovate. Let’s meet Mike, his team, and the ‘alter ego:’ his Phantom™. Dec20371 When people think about music, they often don’t think about the costs involved. After all, people deserve to be paid for their craft, but that’s often difficult in this age of digital revolution. It’s easy to access and copy music quickly, however, that doesn’t necessarily make it fair. Moreover, it no longer means it’s even financially viable for some people to become artists at all. Here, we could jump in and talk about what Phantom Records™ is doing to address this, but their motivation is more relevant in a time that has thrust them to the forefront of a wing war of policies in a post-tape landscape. So perhaps we need to talk about the owner: who he is, what drives him, and why he and his team feel it’s time to move away from the modern thinking of nomadic working for musicians and workers. Initially, Phantom Records’™ Owner Mike candidly relays that he’s grateful 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.” For now, the next step for Phantom Records™ - which is both an LLC and a General Partnership - is to expand. Acting as both an LLC and a general partnership allows the team to separate the collection of trade secrets that produce the team’s products from the sales strategies used to sell them. The relationship here is almost as complex as the legalities that surround digital music rights, but Mike and his team are ideally positioned to make things as straightforward as possible, Art comes from history. For him, DJs mix history, tell stories, and make us laugh, cry, sweat, dance, and forget. “Our own laws, all of them, have a foundation in