Russ and his longtime friend/collaborator Bugus launched their own record label called DIEMON.
The label shares a name with the collective they founded over a decade ago. Russ and Bugus designed DIEMON to benefit artists, allowing signees to retain ownership of their masters and publishing.
“Everyone owns their masters; everyone owns their publishing,” Russ told Variety. “We don’t eat on your merch or your tours, and everything’s a profit split deal. We’re not looking to invest in an artist just to change their music. If we like an artist enough to sign them, it’s because we like what they’re doing. It’s just a super artist-friendly situation, where we’re here to provide resources and mentorship to artists that we believe in.”
DIEMON signees will also be able to easily keep track of their earnings. Russ and Bugus set up a system with the platform Vydia to make financial information readily available for artists.
“It’s super transparent, like you see what we see,” Russ said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Yeah, we’re an artist-friendly label and it’s still going to feel like you’re independent.’ It’s a whole other thing to be like, ‘No, for real, you can log in and see what’s going on.’ It’s important to keep that artist-friendly relationship, and Vydia’s just been really great about being the resource that you need when you need them, but other than that letting you do your thing.”
DIEMON already found its first artist, signing Bay Area rapper LaRussell.
Russ and Bugus plan to expand beyond Hip Hop as they envision the label incorporating various genres.