A Conversation with Bass Gods
Despite only being founded in 2015, creative powerhouse Bass Gods has been making some serious moves within the music industry. The company — headed by CEO Jerome Grace, COO Randolph Francis, and CVO Kevon Polk — has been involved in everything from music production to publishing. In addition to their business prowess, the minds behind Bass Gods are perhaps best described as copyright aficionados, working tirelessly to educate other creators and creative groups on the importance of copyright in the music industry. We sat down with Jerome and Randolph to discuss the work that Bass Gods does, as well as to talk about their commitment to copyright advocacy.
As it happens, Randolph, Kevon, and Jerome are close friends outside of their work at Bass Gods. Jerome and Kevon initially met in their hometown of Toledo, Ohio, while in the seventh grade together, and all three of the men later came together in Florida. Despite the three business partners ending up in different cities along the East Coast, they do their best to spend time together and maintain a close relationship. “When life happens, you’re trying to balance your personal life and your professional life, and things just kind of turn left sometimes. But our intentions have been to stay in contact with each other. And we sometimes travel just to reconnect,” said Jerome. Technology also helps them stay connected. Adds Randolph, “new developments in technology give us the ability to feel like we are in the same room at the same time (even when we’re not) and still spend time with each other.”
The three men initially began as creators themselves. “When we started out in the music industry, we started out as creators, composers and producers,” said Jerome. “And we have always been open-minded about learning the music business; we just never knew that we would take the self-education route.” But when they worked with a seemingly-reputable music distributor to release their first single, the profits were not delivered to them and they were never paid for their work. “By that time, we realized it was necessary for us to learn the business side of music.” As a result, the three decided to make the full transition from creators to businessmen.
According to Jerome, “there’s a lot of things that our company does.” Since its founding, he and his fellow co-founders have been working hard to grow Bass Gods into a musical enterprise through the production of their own content and the continued empowerment of other creators. Although initially founded solely as a music production company, Bass Gods has since expanded to include music publishing and a record label. “We now have Bass Gods Records and Bass Gods Music Publishing Group, which comprise Bass Gods LLC,” said Jerome. Bass Gods is also working on the development of a new music platform for users to buy, sell, and stream music. Currently, the platform is still in the works since, as diligent copyright advocates, they’re hard at work making sure all of the music and associated media is properly licensed. “We’re going to use our new platform to elevate the way we all listen to and discover music,” says Jerome.
Today, Bass Gods is a fully-fledged musical enterprise that produces, records, and publishes the music of the creators they work with, as well as consults with outside creators and creative organizations. As Jerome described it, “we’ve taught our clients how to systematically generate, collect, and distribute contributing streams of royalty income and other outstanding revenues. And that’s how we get a lot of business, from consultations to other services that are also educational.” In addition to producing its own content, Bass Gods works with many external groups and creators to help them develop their own capacities for generating revenue from their creative endeavors.
As a result of their initial brush with infringement, Bass Gods also serves an additional purpose – educating creators on copyright law and advocating on their behalf. In fact, copyright was one of the main reasons that Bass Gods entered the business side of the music industry. Through their advocacy, Jerome, Randolph, and Kevon are all deeply involved in helping to educate creators and music industry members on copyright protections. To them, a lack of proper understanding and awareness is perhaps the largest deficiency in the modern creative space. The three regularly travel around the country to help creators understand the value of copyright protection, as well as sharing posts online with their thousands of online followers in an effort to spread their message more broadly.
One major problem they’ve seen during their recent advocacy initiatives? The exploitation of small business owners and independent creators who don’t know what their rights are, resulting in them being unaware the steps to take if their work is infringed. And while more established organizations might have the legal know-how and financial resources to guard their properties and pursue litigation if necessary, small businesses and independent creators often lack the resources that are available to larger groups. “Creators should be using their own copyrighted works as a resource, because they are assets, they are your intellectual property,” said Jerome. Jerome, Randolph and Kevon continue to lead the charge, holding meetings with creators and other organizations to educate and inform them about copyright law, as well as encourage them to see the value in their work as a means of sustaining their livelihoods.
If there’s one thing that Jerome and Randolph want creators to take away from Bass Gods, it’s that there is no better time than right now to fight for the protection of their rights and educate themselves on the value of their creative works. “We feel like this is the time for music advocacy,” said Jerome. “And we have to be able to instill this mindset into the next generation of creators to continue making the industry the best that it can be.”