Oakland, CA

Oakland Collective Supports Musicians Through Community And Mentorship

Vince Martellacci

Kyle with FTR artist WigglePhoto byFamily Tie Records

It’s not a business. It’s a mission.

Kyle Boydstun and the passionate team at Family Tie Records in Oakland are all about collaboration and helping each other out. This is how they bring success to everything they do. More than a record label, you can think of them as a collective of people who love or make music with big dreams. Everyone involved with Family Tie helps everyone else. Gaps are constantly being filled in by those who have talents others don’t. If an artist needs graphics, marketing, or professional development, someone at Family Tie can help. And that artist pays it forward by helping someone else who works under the label.

One of FTR’s newer mainstays, Tom Baker, says he was always attracted to the mission of FTR. He shares, “I think that what it aims to achieve has always acted as a good example of what community in music could look like for the bay.”

Creator of FTR Kyle adds, “I think what makes us different is our focus on helping someone become something they’re proud of, without us slapping our name on everything. A lot of it is for the community, it’s just to make a name for us as the ‘oh yeah they’ll help you out’ or ‘get you right’ type of vibe.” The goal of Family Tie is to promote art and artists, not to promote Family Tie.

Growing Artists On Every Level

What is so interesting about FTR is their actual operations. They are a high-functioning startup incubator, re-tooled for music. FTR focuses on four areas. Kyle shares that these areas are organized into, “Release, Promo, Showcase, and Sustainability.” These four areas cover absolutely everything an artist could hope to have help with. Kyle says this includes, “Musical and visual concept and creation - from writing to having releases uploaded and visual cover art, merchandise, photo and video content.”

FTR is able to cover all of this for the musicians in its orbit due to the extremely varied skills of the people in the FTR world. Kyle shares that he even has a social media expert. Manny bolsters, “our strategy and planning which does lean towards advertising with Manny’s expertise and Facebook/Meta experience in that field.”

Kyle and FTR has everyone’s best interests at heart. More than that, they have everyone’s top interests at the top of mind. If someone wants to blow up, FTR will hear that and act accordingly. Kyle shares, “We consider ‘how big’ someone wants to make something become, and we plan how we will help them make the most noise possible to achieve what they’re looking for.

Then they move to the "showcase" quadrant, where they begin to work on bookings. Bookings are not typically offered from a small label or small music services brand, another example of the comprehensive nature of FTR: “Next we start to look at showcasing the artist whether it be through open mic bookings, public events, or hosted events, public or private (which we typically collaborate with Beyond Stereo Entertainment for help with hosting).”

The last piece of the puzzle is sustainability. Kyle and FTR take an honest look at where they’ve gotten the artist to and where they can get them to from there. Kyle shares that this piece is well-dialed in and slightly pared down, noting, “Lastly we help the artist look at how to sustain the momentum. Usually this starts with an EPK, though sometimes it may be something as simple as an on-going ad campaign.” But no matter which piece of the puzzle they’re working on, it takes constant collaboration. It’s a very social way to grow music careers, Kyle musing that, “To get all of this done, it takes a lot, and a lot of zoom meetings.”

A Community That Focuses On Each Other's Dreams

FTR works by creating community in the bay area music scene. FTR’s skill-sharing way of life allows them to provide a lot for that community, “from private classes and mentorship to professional marketing services, Family Tie Records is committed to providing the support and resources that artists need to succeed.”

Creative Director Tom shares how FTR has moved him and how he’s helped them. FTR provided Tom opportunities that changed the game for him forever: “I began producing music in 2020, but it wasn't until a year into it that I was mentored by an acquaintance and gained the opportunity to work with a diverse spectrum of artists, ranging from bedroom guitarists to chart-topping producers. This allowed me to witness firsthand the relationships and dynamics within the industry, which informs my role as a creative director.”

Tom is now returning the favor for Family Tie. What’s so unique about Tom and FTR is that he is one of many musicians at FTR that also uses other skills to grow artists under the label. Tom says, “As a creative director, my philosophy and approach to my work are shaped by my background as an artist and producer. Working in an industry as conglomerative as music, my experiences as a producer have given me valuable insights that I bring to my work with Family Tie.” The combination of creative talents beyond music and perseverance within music makes everyone at Family Tie a true hustler and a true collaborator.

Kyle goes on to say that FTR wants to combat a predatory industry rife with misinformation. FTR’s music industry is kinder and cleverer. Kyle says he prioritizes education, pointing out that, “Our focus is really to help people get educated in this industry - there is a ton of misinformation, promoted by the “bedroom producer” thing going on because of how accessible music tech is currently, as well as by Instagram/social media culture.”

Kyle adds that his aim is to give musicians a concrete direction in which to take everything they do: “We really just want to educate so that people have a sense of direction instead of feeling overwhelmed with the endless amount of solutions to the endless problems they can have in their career, started or not.”

FTR and Kyle leave us with one thought: when you’re with FTR, you’re never alone. According to Kyle, it is no small thing that artists know how deep support from FTR runs, “It’s also a ‘we’re on your team’ thing. A lot of people, especially the artist themself, have a feeling of doing everything alone and it just seems impossible, or one aspect of their career will be lacking because they won't be able to put their attention 100% to every little detail.” With Kyle, Tom, and Family Tie Records behind them, each one of those details is 100% taken care of for each artist. And the artists themselves are a major part of building the other artists’ careers.

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I've covered stories of unknown immigrants from places like Cambodia, been an opinion editor and opinion blog writer, managed blogs for my own businesses & for other brands. I'm looking forward to getting back to more classical journalism.

Walnut Creek, CA

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