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Tack-Fu's Transition from Record Label to Production Company

Mr. Tack a.k.a. Tack-Fu is a hip-hop producer who currently lives in Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa. He formed a record label “Tack-Fu Productions” in 1997 and released 3 independently financed cd’s from ‘98 to ’04. He has also played live or recorded tracks with hip-hop iconoclasts DJ Vadim, Slug of Atmosphere, Mars Ill, Braille, Blueprint & Illogic. The releases received national press and critical acclaim, but Tack’s record label fell short in record sales.

“Small distribution outlets, lack of an advertising budget, and not a lot of touring,” laments Tack. “It’s a recipe for disaster in a small music market like Iowa City. I was operating in the red.”

In 2004, on a tip from a fellow record label owner, Tack-Fu started to submit his brand of hip-hop instrumentals to publishing companies who “pitch” instrumental music to cable television music supervisors. “Time passed by, I thought nothing of it until one day, I was drinking a brew just relaxing and watching MTV.” Then a pleasant surprise came over the airwaves, “one of my tracks was underneath a scene! I about spit my swig all over the coffee table.”

The placements kept coming from other cable network shows and the royalty checks kept increasing. This inspired Tack to put the record label on hiatus and form an audio production crew titled the 85 decibel Monks- a revolving door of Iowa City artists, musicians, recording engineers and audio producers contributing incrementally on each step of the process.

The shift in focus, from selling pre-packaged cds for music fans to writing underscore music for visual presentations has been nothing but positive. “Licensing my music for television and film has opened up plenty of opportunities. Plus, hearing my music on TV when I’m just relaxing is the icing on the cake.” Tack-Fu says with a chuckle, “it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”

Be on the lookout for more Tack-Fu submissions, more diversity to draw from, and continued broadcast quality instrumental tracks. “I’ll continue down this avenue and see where it takes me. It should be an interesting journey.”

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