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Music Dealers Supports Indie Music Scene

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 Louis Vasseur

The summer rains have held off as the Music Dealers' staff make final adjustments to the outdoor stage on the patio in front of the iconic John Hancock Center.  Eric Sheinkop, Founder of Music Dealers, a Chicago-based creative music agency, smiles as singer/songwriter Joanna Rutzky and her band begin their live performance to kick off this summer's concert series.  He peruses the hundreds of tourists, visitors, and office workers gathering along Chicago's Magnificent Mile to enjoy the show.  He has just returned from Israel, where he was pitching his clients' music, in order to be back in Chicago for the start of the 2015 Hancock Summer Concert Series that Music Dealers cosponsors with real estate company HEARN.  Tomorrow he will be off again, traveling the U.S. bringing brands, agencies, TV networks, and film and gaming studios together with music from over 18,000 artists that Music Dealers represents.  When you watch a McDonald's or Coca-Cola commercial and wonder where they got that really cool song, Sheinkop and his Music Dealers staff are likely responsible.

The Hancock Summer Concert Series is exactly the type of exposure for up and coming artists that Sheinkop envisioned when he started Music Dealers 8 years ago.  This is the second year Music Dealers has partnered with HEARN to put on the popular concert series.   "This company started out in my living room 8 years ago with nothing but the meaningful mission of improving independent musicians' lives and bringing value to brands through music," he explains.  Music Dealers is a music agency and B2B music licensing platform that provides music, creative and branding services, along with unprecedented 24/7 music licensing access to the world's largest catalog of emerging talent via their online platform.   By working with Music Dealers, artists have earned millions through sync placements, custom music creation, and clearance deals.  As a result, Music Dealers has had a significant impact on the indie music scene..

"It's all about relationships," says Rob Lindquist, Director of Artist Services, when asked why Music Dealers has been so successful.  "First, there is our relationship with the artists.  It's personal. In addition to listening to the music, it is important that we also get to know the artist as a person and where the music comes from.  Then there is our relationship with each other as a staff.   We all love music or we wouldn't be doing what we do.  Many of our staff started out with us as interns and then got hired on.  It's cool to watch everyone grow and develop.  Plus it is a lot easier to get through those times with the high stress and tight deadlines with a staff that has grown up together and respects one another.  Finally, there is our relationship with our clients.  They trust us to not only provide them with great music, but also understand their projects and be able to make suggestions to make it the best product it can be."

Music Dealers Director of Artist Services, Rob Lindquist

Senior A&R Zach Lyons explains further, "It's a passion with all of us here.  Music is what gets us up in the morning and why we work late into the night to help a client.  We have an impact on the local indie music scene and we take that responsibility seriously."  Music Dealers has over 200,000 songs in its library, representing over 18,000 artists, working with over 600 clients in over 115 countries. Based in Chicago, the company has offices in New York, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.  In 2011, Music Dealers partnered with The Coca-Cola Company as the brand's global music partner. Since then, Music Dealers has formed partnerships with McDonald's, Disney, CBS, and HBO among others.

Last fall, Music Dealers passed the $15 million mark in payouts to its artists.  Landing a sync or licensing deal can make a huge difference in the quality of an artist's life.   Recently, Music Dealers landed a deal for singer/songwriter Anna Ihlis.  The proceeds from this one placement allowed her to purchase an abandoned church in her hometown in Sweden.  She renovated the building and installed a recording studio and a performance space.  The facility now serves as a performance venue for indie musicians who travel through the area.

Music Dealers growth and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed.  The Chicago company was recognized in the 2015 INC 5000 list of the fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. Sheinkop and  Music Dealers CEO Clay Johnson will receive the award together at the INC 5000 Conference in Orlando in October.  "We're incredibly honored to receive this award, which is a testament that a great team, fantastic clients, and a passion for music pays off," states Johnson. "Music Dealers started in 2008 to create new opportunities for independent and emerging artists around the world by connecting them to global brands, and we're excited to continue that mission." Sheinkop adds, "It's humbling to be recognized on INC's top list, as it validates our team's ingenuity and hustle, and ability to deliver our vision to create value for our artists and clients."

This Sign on the Wall in the Lobby Encapsulates Music Dealers' Philosophy

Back at the John Hancock Center, the bands changeover in preparation for the second set.  The crowd show their appreciation with lively applause.  As the band Crow Moses takes the stage for the second set, a client tells Sheinkop how much he enjoys the music.  Eight years after its living room start, the staff at Music Dealers continues to follow their passion to make their artists dreams a reality.

To learn more about Music Dealers, visit  On their website you can find a blogpost and video about the Joanna Rutzky/Crow Moses show and all the other 2015 Hancock Summer Series Shows.

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