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Label Lockdown: Running an independent record company during Covid-19

Parts of the music industry ground to a halt in spring of 2020, with live gigs no longer an option for artists. Johnny Welfare, a hip-hop producer and co-founder of Róg Records, spoke to David Doyle about the impact of Covid-19 on the business
Watch Johnny Welfare speak to David Doyle about Róg Records

Music venues are closed and independent artists are struggling to make ends meet. 

With no definite date for a reopening, hip-hop producer and co-founder of independent record label Róg Records Johnny Welfare speaks about the struggles of running a label during the pandemic.

Róg Records was founded in 2018 by Johnny Welfare alongside the hip-hop trio of Smokey, Bazigos, and Mory. Since the label’s inception, six artists have enrolled on Róg Records. With the addition of hip-hop artist Phev and psychedelic guitarist Chilli Flake, the label has grown considerably.

Róg Records logo courtesy of Róg Records

‘’In our music module in college, I and three friends had the choice of doing a presentation, an essay, or setting up a record label. It was a no-brainer for us,’’ Welfare tells The City.

The effects of Covid-19 have had a major impact on the label, as it has had to cancel numerous shows for the artists involved.

‘’We announced our biggest headline gig in the city centre on the day lockdown was announced. It was a nightmare for the label,’’ Welfare says.

The future of the music industry is in a corridor of uncertainty, but Welfare insists that Róg Records will return ‘with a bang’ when live music has its eventual return.

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