Sophomore launches record company

A beacon can provide light for lost travellers.

Sophomore Chris Lavinio hopes his Beacon will be a signal for talented artists who join his record label.

Lavinio and his high school friend Adam Kirsch launched Beacon Records in 2010, to create a musical forum for up-and-coming artists seeking a different type of management company.

And different it is – Beacon, complete with four full-time bands and artists, is still run out of Lavinio’s house in Bergen County, N.J.

Lavinio said the label’s name comes from his desire to market the label as a source of hope for aspiring artists who fear they will be just another group to the big labels.

“We want to be as accessible as possible,” Lavinio said.

He started out scouting artists performing at small venues in New York City and producing their singles under his label. With his business school savvy and his own musical talent – he has played piano since the age of 5 – Lavinio brings a unique perspective to the record label and the search for talent.

“I don’t like hearing about disreputable artists,” Lavinio said. “I want to be an inspiration to artists to not give up hope.”

Instead of seeking out pop artists that all sound the same, he said he wants originality from artists looking to showcase not only their talents, but the talents of others – something he says his own musical inspiration, Billy Joel, does very well.

The first big project Lavinio took on was with the rock band Event Horizon, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. A friend of Lavinio’s tipped him off about the five members’ talent. Lavinio approached the bass player with a proposition to join his label.

They started out with a single and then shot a music video to be distributed on iTunes. Beacon produced its first EP this past July.

The next step is the development of a smartphone application that would allow fans to get free song downloads from Beacon bands and learn about the artists.

The question of the future and the possibility of expanding the label is less clear. Although Lavinio would love to sign as many artists as possible, he sees the importance of being able to give each artist every ounce of their deserved attention.

“They are giving me their trust to really handle all of their stuff. [Their music] isn’t on the side for them,” Lavinio said. “Now that I’m bigger, I have to give myself a reality check… The more people I bring on, the more I can handle, but I don’t want to lose that.”

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