Julius Erving Wants to Protect Independent Artists

July 24, 2018

By Alyssa Caverley

Julius "J" Erving, Jr., son of legendary basketball star "Dr. J", looks to his own teenage children when he's facing decisions about his music label's next venture. After all, he told Cheddar on Tuesday, the industry is only getting younger.

“The space is ever-changing,” Erving said. “I get to watch [my children] and use them as a case study in terms of how they want to receive their music and how they want to discover things.”

In 2017, Erving created Human Re-Sources, a music distribution company that aims to support artistsーwithout going too corporate.

Erving knows all too well that artists can lose their freedom once they join a big label. Before launching Human Re-Sources, Erving spent 20 years as a music manager and observed the industry and all its deficiencies at work.

Erving added that the notion of ownership inspired him.

"[My artists] are able to keep ownership of their masters; we don’t take their masters like most traditional record companies do,” Erving explained. “We charge a distribution fee and that’s itーwe’re not participating in their touring revenue or their branding revenue and the deals aren’t long-term.”

There’s no denying that things have changed since Erving started in the business: with the rise of streaming and other technologies, young stars can now make musicーand careersーovernight.

“When I was coming up in the business, the goal was to get a record deal,” Erving said. “Now, with these young artists and how self-contained they are in terms of the ability to [create], market, distribute and promote music from their bedrooms, our goal is to just put some fuel on their fire and support their vision.”

Fundamentally, Human Re-Sources wants to serve artists by navigating the unpredictable ebbs and flows of the music industry.

“We want to be part of the change, not just sit on our hands until change happens and then figure out where we [stand],” Erving said. “Our goal is to create this platform and be a part of the change.”

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