This is an article translated from Swedish into English. The article was originally published in the Swedish local newspaper "Södermanlands Nyheter" ( in the town of Nyköping, Sweden on the 4th of July 2006. Thanks to Pamela Morris for spell checking.
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File sharing and a general decrease of record sales has made the music business look like a sinking ship over the last couple of years. But Markus Östmark didn´t hesitate to fulfil his dream to start a record label. Eastground Records is setting sails from an apartment in Nyköping.

A big flashy office with wine red leather couches is not what you see when you visit Eastground Records in Nyköping.
Markus Östmark runs his new label from a small room in his apartment. Piles of CD´s that looks like they are challenging all physic laws are seen everywhere, and here and there you´ll find a mannequin or some other strange designed object. From the living room you hear sounds of a family, children playing, and a TV on in the background.

After a music business education he took his first steps into a turbulent industry in the midst of change.
– To start a record label has been a dream since I was a teenager. And after my education I felt ready enough to start the label, he says.

The name Eastground Records is registered. The name is a direct translation from Swedish into English of his surname, Östmark. At present the labels debut signed band Kaross is in the studio recording their debut album.
– It´s a band from the towns of Skövde and Falköping in Sweden, that plays the genre Desert rock.
Desert rock?
– It´s a subgenre to the genre Stonerrock.
For those who don´t follow, the genre Stonerrock is a music style inspired by psychedelic rock bands from the early 1970´s. Bands like Black Sabbath and other early heavy metal bands and psychedelic rock bands can be mentioned.
Does Kaross see you as the big bad greedy record company?
– No, he says laughing.
– The file sharers seems to think that the record labels are demons, but the artists still wants to reach out to more people than they do on a demo level, and that´s where the record labels come into the picture.
But still you can feel a resistance against the major labels from Markus´s point of view, whose music he describes as "commercial radio crap". He´s not afraid of signing different genres of music to his label.
– I don´t have a certain niche within the label, but I have a special liking for Hardrock and its subgenres, he says.
Would you mind signing different types of music? If you, for example, got an opera demo, could that be interesting for the label?
– Of course, as long as it´s unique enough and it´s good music sure...
Even though record labels in times like these are seen as the big losers, there was still no doubt for Markus about starting the label.
– There are a lot of statistics from both sides (for or against file sharing) that show different results on how much the record labels/artists lose in terms of decreasing record sales. It could seem kind of idiotic to start a record label in these times of file sharing, but you simply have to keep the costs low.
He doesn´t see file sharing as a threat.
– You can´t judge a whole generation. This is something that can´t be stopped.

He doesn´t believe that the file sharing means the end for record labels.
– I believe that record labels are necessary, but in the future they may not be run as traditional record labels. The optimal solution would be to release music free for download and find an alternative income. The whole industry is in a state of change so we´ll see where it leads to.
With his intuition and experience as guiding-stars he hopes he can succeed in this turbulent and changing business.

Olle Söderström

"It´s a big discussion that the record labels role in the music business has expired, but I believe there´s still a need of people that works with music, besides the artists themselfes", says Markus Östmark about his new record label Eastground Records.
Heading into a
changing business