EMPIRE is a distribution company, record label and publisher founded by Ghazi Shami. Formerly the Director of Urban Music at digital distribution company INgrooves, Shami started the company 2010. Today the company is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York City and Atlanta.
Rapid growth has seen EMPIRE become one of the leading indie labels and distributors for hip hop and R&B in the U.S. They’ve released/distributed music from Anderson .Paak, Cardi B, Dram, Fat Joe & Remy Ma, Migos, Brockhampton, Shaggy, Snoop Dogg and XXXTentacion – to name a few. They also work with artists spanning the genres of Reggae, Rock, Gospel, Latin, Country and Pop.
Frequent early supporters of new artists, EMPIRE was the first to distribute Kendrick Lamar’s 2011 debut album Section.80 via Top Dawg Entertainment. They were also the first label to release music from Migos, K Camp, Rich Homie Quan, Rocko, and Trinidad James.
EMPIRE’s unique business model has helped create their own space within the industry. A hybrid approach as distributor and label simplifies processes and eliminates middlemen or ties to other entities.
Unlike the traditional label model, the company takes an artist-first approach with a focus on transparency through non-exclusive partnerships. Rather than locking down and trying to maximize an artist, EMPIRE takes a lower cut and signs deals with a higher number of artists and labels.
As they evolve, EMPIRE is putting a focus on expanding in international markets (notably the UK and Asia), investing in their growing publishing division and also opening creative facilities to develop talent from the ground up.