MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson, who launched EMP Label Group in 2015, says that he doesn't find it more difficult to promote his artists in the digital era of the music industry. "It all works digitally," he told the "Heavy Demons" radio show (see video below). "It's funny that all fans buy or listen to things digitally. I still buy everything — I buy everything on iTunes — 'cause I still like to have it on my phone. Usually I listen to music when I'm flying, when I'm traveling, and then I'll buy vinyl, just because it looks cool. But I usually don't listen to it, 'cause I hate the way vinyl sounds. It sounds like shit. I never liked it. I was actually glad when digital came [around]. But I find most artists, they have still the merchandise booth, and fans go to buy things. And sometimes even if the CD and the vinyl is just a place to put a signature, it's a great memorabilia piece to take home."
Last year, Ellefson told Metal Wani that "one of the hardest things" for young artists was getting on high-profile tours. "We sign them to the label and then, if they're really gonna sell any units — especially if they're rock/metal bands — they have to be on the road," he said. "They have to be touring. Then comes the next hardest part, which is, 'How do we get a tour?' Well, that's why we formed the Ellefson Touring Agency, called ETA."
He continued: "Always with these things is - you're walking around the industry with your tin cup out, practically begging people to listen to your band and, 'Hey, can we get a record deal?' And I think, in our wheelhouse, we try to be a sort of full-service entity that does all of that. And it's a lot of work. Again, we require the artists to do their share. There's no free lunches here. Nobody's gonna sit back while [we] do all the work. But at the same time, if I can use the [reputation] that I've been blessed with in my career to sort of knock down some doors and help walk some people in the room behind me, I'm happy to do it."
In 2017, Ellefson relaunched Combat Records, the classic independent label that once released music from MEGADETH, AGNOSTIC FRONT and EXODUS.
Ellefson's label group is home to such acts as DOLL SKIN, GREEN DEATH and CO-OP, a band fronted by Alice Cooper's son, Dash.
David has also launched a touring agency, coffee company and is about to release his second memoir — co-written by business partner Thom Hazaert.