Rostrum Records, a Pittsburgh-based indie label that helped launch the careers of artists like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller, is experiencing a rebirth. In 2011, Miller’s debut album “Blue Slide Park” made chart history by opening at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 as the first independently distributed debut album to do so this century. This achievement without a typical breakthrough single solidified Rostrum’s status as a hip-hop haven, even after Miller’s tragic death in 2018.

In January 2023, label founder Benjy Grinberg handed over the reins of the music label to Erika Montes, a music industry veteran who previously worked at SoundCloud. This decision marked a shift in the company’s direction towards expansion rather than sale. Montes has been focusing on growing the label, adding new staff members and signing promising new talent to consolidate and support a range of properties.

Rostrum Pacific, the parent company of Rostrum Records, has added indie hip-hop distributor Fat Beats to its lineup, and hired former Universal Music Group execs to help steer the company. The label is also developing a publishing arm and catalog marketing arm under Montes’ leadership to shift the course of Rostrum Records and further expand its offerings.

Montes aims to launch the careers of fresh faces like Chilean artist AlĂ© Araya and solidify the label’s long-term acts like rapper DC the Don. She envisions Rostrum Records evolving beyond its hip-hop and pop roots to encompass a diverse range of genres and expand its reach within the music industry.

Montes, a seasoned music professional, brings her experience in artist relations and monetization programs for independent artists to her role as president of Rostrum Records. Her goal is to support artists without compromising their artistic integrity, and she has been strategic in signing new talent to the label.

Rostrum Records has been steadily growing its roster of artists under Montes’ leadership, focusing on quality over quantity. Montes aims to sign a total of 12 artists and has been bringing in diverse talent with unique backgrounds and music styles to create a compelling roster for the label.

Montes has been working closely with artists to advocate for their careers in the ever-evolving landscape of digital marketing and streaming. Her approach involves highlighting each artist’s unique qualities and pitching them to streaming platforms as worthy investments. By being heavily involved in each project, Montes ensures that the artists under Rostrum Records receive the support and recognition they deserve to succeed in the industry.

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