Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club has teamed up with Warner Music UK’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA) to launch a record label.
Wolves Records will see performing artists benefit from the reach of a Premier League football club’s global audience, while also gaining access to ADA’s marketing and distribution expertise.
The label is inviting track submissions from local, national and international solo acts, bands and producers for consideration via the website wolvesrecords.com.
Wolves have been investing their efforts in projects outside of football for some time, with considerable moves made in the world of esports and fashion.
While the label’s initial focus will be on nurturing and developing talented artists of all styles and genres local to the Midlands, Wolves Records’ ambition is to expand into international territories. Artists who sign to Wolves Records will be supported by the club’s media and social channels, including airplay at Molineux Stadium and across the club’s digital productions.
To aid the label in their search for a first signing, Wolves Records is also partnering with various A&R and production consultants, the first of which is singer, songwriter and producer S-X (pictured). He has worked with Lil Wayne, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, J Cole and Skepta.
S-X said: “I am very excited to be involved and support Wolves Records from the beginning and am looking forward to helping identify the best local talent and working with the label’s first artists.
“Wolves and the city of Wolverhampton are both very close to my heart, and I am deeply passionate about giving talented young people from this area the best opportunities, and the rich musical talent that the West Midlands has to offer. I am genuinely looking forward to seeing how Wolves Records can impact the music industry and support new artists, and I’m also very proud that it is my club that is going to be the first in the UK to venture into music in such an authentic and exciting way.”
Legendary music manager Peter Rudge, who managed The Who and The Rolling Stones amongst others, has also joined Wolves Records as a strategic consultant.
“I was born one mile away from the famous old Molineux and came to my first game with my Uncle Had in March 1951,” Rudge said. “I sat on my uncle's shoulders on the old South Bank, and thus began a love affair with Wolves that has been such a major part of my life ever since. Football and music are a universal language. Wherever in the world you visit you will likely see a Beckham or a Beatles t-shirt, and the footballers of today have so much in common with musicians in terms of influencing and setting the cultural tone of the times.
“Wolves and Warner Music’s ADA will merge these two cultures and partner in combining their respective skills and assets to develop Wolves Records, and in turn support, nurture, and encourage the local music community. I am thrilled to be involved in this initiative, to be able to be part of creating Wolves Records, and thus merging two of mine, and the world's, great passions - football and music.”
Wolves’ general manager of marketing and commercial growth, Russell Jones, said: “Wolves Records is an ambitious and progressive project that we have been working on for some time, and we are delighted to finally be able to announce it publicly. Working hand-in-hand with Warner Music’s ADA and lots of very talented and experienced industry professionals, Wolves Records will provide talent with life-changing opportunities.”
Speaking about the label, Ricky Hill from Wolves Records and co-founder of Midlands-based platform Syncr, said: “I went to University in Wolverhampton so I’ve a lot of affection for the city and the Midlands. There’s so much talent in the local area, that Wolves Records is perfectly positioned and hungry to back.
“However, this is not just about supporting local artists, but a genuine and authentic move by a football club with a vast audience to penetrate the music industry and develop new and emerging talent across the world. By partnering with Warner Music and ADA, we are also able to plug into some of the best distribution available and have support from their team of experts when it comes to releasing music.”
Kris Tomkinson, co-head of the label alongside Ricky Hill, said: “If the last couple of years have shown us anything is that there’s always room and necessity for innovation. Wolves Records is doing exactly that. Wolves FC are a driven, ambitious, forward-thinking club and the label mirrors that. Working with them, alongside Warner and our bespoke teams around each artist offers unique resources and unrivalled exposure on a global scale.
"Our main motivation for starting the label was to create more opportunity for artists and producers, and to unearth talent. There’s an insane amount of talent out there that goes unnoticed - we’re here to improve on that add another layer to our much-loved music industry.”