a 2 i m

Featured Executive: Michael Greig Thomas

Michael Greig Thomas is the founder and director of Echo Base, a manufacturer and fulfillment company for vinyl records and music merchandise. Echo Base was founded as a solution to accessible Indie-Level Vinyl Production, and to develop more sustainable practices for both how and with what we make vinyl records. He is also the manager of Jacksonville Indie Success “Black Kids”.

Tell us about how you got your start in the music industry, and how it lead to the work you do today.

My start was as a touring and recording musician in northern England. At 17 years old, the act that I led “The Novellos” was signed to an independent label, SONS Records, which led to several releases charting in the UK Independent Chart. The label became defunct in my early twenties, and I couldn’t escape the curiosity of vinyl as the emerging physical medium for music. It was a major revenue stream for me as a musician, and I wished to explore that more by supporting artists in getting their music manufactured and distributed. 

I then started a small record label focusing on vinyl and my passion for Northern Soul. I worked with Gloria Jones, the co-writer and performer of the original “Tainted Love” recorded in 1964. Our goal was finding RnB artists that had enjoyed success in the 60s, and were unaware of their persevering fame in Europe, particularly in the dance halls of the UK. We had several chart successes before the label reached a natural conclusion after seven releases. The main obstacle to the label was getting vinyl made well and in a timely manner. 

I began reaching out to startups looking to set up new vinyl record manufacturing facilities. That took me to Oakland, California where I worked for vinyl startups Second Line Vinyl and 16kHz. I was then recruited by the founders of Kindercore Vinyl (now Classic City Vinyl Works) in Athens Georgia to support the growth of the business through the pandemic. My overwhelming sense from running a factory with a capacity of a million records a year, was that manufacturing at scale was much more suited to the major labels, while smaller artists would frequently be shunted around in the pressing cue. This, along with my desire to create a wholistic solution for independent artists, was my reason for starting Echo Base – a single press operation in Athens, developing a pro forma for local indie record pressing. 

Is there a success story or career milestone that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of starting my own business in 2022. I had forever dilgently served the goals of founders and executives, but could never escape the desire to have full agency to solve problems for artists. Starting Echo Base and seeing it past two years, while a rocky and at times frightful ride, has been my proudest achievement. 

Outside of your work in music, do you have any other hobbies/ particular areas of expertise/interest etc.? 

I really enjoy time with my family, particularly canoeing with my wife Amelia and playing soccer (football!) with my step-daughter Georgie. Outside of work I remain an active musician, playing in Athens band “The Air Condition”, a mix of shoegaze and americana. 

Are there any projects you’re working on or company updates that you’re most excited about?

We’re working on two exciting technological advances for record pressing. Our equipment is in itself a prototype of electric record pressing, relying on electricity as a more renewable energy source than natural gas and oil. Moreover, we are early investors and adopters in a UK startup “Evolution Music” who are breaking ground in the material science field. We are rolling out our first full production jobs this Spring using their fully plant based record pressing compound, Evovinyl. 

Anything else to add? (Whether words of wisdom for other up and comers, a track that’s dropping soon that you can’t wait to hear, let us share!)

Stay patient, and stay positive. My experience of starting a business resembled that of being a touring and recording musician – tremendous highs coupled with constant uncertainty and sea change. Nothing great happens overnight, and consistency over time will always prevail. 

Keep up with Michael

Keep up with Echo Base

About A2IM:
A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City that exists to support and strengthen the independent recorded music sector. Membership currently includes a broad coalition of more than 700 Independently-owned American music labels. A2IM represents these independently owned small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) interests in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community. In doing so, it supports a key segment of America’s creative class that represents America’s diverse musical cultural heritage. Billboard Magazine identified the Independent music label sector as 37.32 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2016 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry sector.

Learn more about A2IM here.
For information about how to join our community, see here.