What turned into SoSouth was originally started in 1994. Business partners Steve Phelan and Randy Haaga turned a small online music store into one of the most successful regional distribution outlets in Texas.
Steve has been a productive entrepreneur since creating his first business in 2002. He's worked in television, video producing and production, artist management and launched several successful non-music related companies currently doing business worldwide.
Randy's business experience started with band management in 1988 followed by 10 years working at the regional music distributor Southwest Wholesale while developing the foundation of this business in his off-time.
The original company launched in 1994 as a collectible music mail-order service called Anti-Store. That turned into a tiny flea market shop, then into a real CD store which finally became a website in 1998 adopting the name SoSouth in 2002.
While still working at Southwest Wholesale, Randy met key figures of the soon to be legendary Houston rap scene. Those introductions lead to long term business relationships that led to the natural transition of a CD store into more of a service company for artists and record labels.
In 2005 after helping a couple of friends figure out how to get their music sold on Itunes, SoSouth quietly began to develop into a full service digital distribution company. The Itunes music store was only two years old at the time, and had already taken a bite out of CD sales. Most artists were just starting to take the digital revolution seriously, and word spread fast about the new service provided by SoSouth.
We'd love to think people simply just like us, but it's more likely that regular monthly payments are the thing that built the company so fast. Getting paid monthly was unheard of in the music business before digital distribution. Old school distributors paid semiannually or quarterly at best. Even though some of our potential clients didn't know they needed this service yet, monthly income got their attention and a reliable pay schedule got their loyalty. Our service grew by word of mouth, faster than anyone's expectations. Faster than an internet company can build a website. Much faster.
We watched the digital revolution from the front lines and we're so proud to have become part of Texas rap history by being the first to present the following artists to Itunes and other digital outlets: DJ Screw, Lil Keke, Fat Pat, ESG, Big Moe, Z-Ro, Trae, Big Pokey, HAWK, K-Rino and so many more. Several of these Texas legends have passed and SoSouth is honored to continue working for their families and taking the music from it's underground status to a permanent place in the history books.
Now we work in every genre with thousands of releases. We've learned a lot over the last 20+ years of working with music and musicians. Some of the terrible things you hear about the music biz are absolutely true, but just like the nightly news, it's the negative stories that tend to get the most attention. On the positive side we've seen inspiring stories of unlikely success, we've learned valuable life lessons and we see first hand that integrity and reputation are everything. You can't shake a bad reputation in this business. We're ever-so-grateful that our friends trusted us enough in the beginning to allow our actions to build a solid reputation.
Dreams still come true in this profession. For the artists, musicians and record labels who pursue their dreams against horrible odds, those who ignore the non-believers and the haters, those who put real heart into their craft, those who never give up. Those will eventually get the success they deserve and that's what keeps it interesting and rewarding for us.
See what you can build with us.
-Randy Haaga (Founder/President SoSouth since 1994)