to Chris' Web Site
- Music business consultant, author and lecturer.
- Recently honored by Seattle’s Rocket magazine as "One of the Most
Influential People in the Northwest Music Industry."
- Current faculty member of the Audio and Music Business Program at the Art Institute of Seattle, where he teaches
courses related to the promotion and marketing of recorded music.
- Owns FourFront Media and Music, a consultation service based in Seattle that helps musicians develop marketing
and career plans.
- Speaks regularly at music industry conferences, including New York’s New Music Seminar, Portland’s North By Northwest,
Austin’s South by Southwest and Vancouver, Canada’s MusicWest.
- Began his career working at the Magic Flute record store in late 1960’s San Francisco.
- Bought the now famous San Francisco-based Aquarius Records store in ‘72, which earned the reputation as the place
to shop for great music.
- In the mid-‘70’s at the first FM rock station in the nation, San Francisco’s KSAN, became DJ Cosmo Topper, host
of then revolutionary and now notorious punk/new wave shows 'The Outcast Hour', and 'The Heretics'. Also hosted
new music shows at stations KSJO and KTIM.
- Started successful record label, 415 Records, with partner Howie Klein, one of the first alternative indie labels.
- While at 415, signed, among others, Romeo Void, The Nuns, Translator, Wire Train, and the Red Rockers. When Romeo
Void sold over 80,000 copies of the Never Say Never EP, Columbia Records purchased 415 and the independent label
became Columbia/415 deal, a model for multitudes of other major label umbrella-ed Indies.
- Became Station Manager at the University of Washington's alternative music station, KCMU in Seattle, where he
guided the station during Seattle's 'Grunge' period through the late 80's / mid 90's into a new era of listener-supported
- Developed Northwest Area Music Association (NAMA), where he served as President from 1989-1992.
- Co-authored, along with Portland-based entertainment law attorney Bartley F. Day, an extensive chapter on "Independent
Label Deals with Major Labels" in the revised second edition of "The Musician's Legal and Business Guide"
published by Prentice-Hall and the Beverly Hills Bar Association in 1996.
- In 1999 he authored the "FourFront Music Marketing Handbook," a self-help manual for musicians releasing
their own independent music.
2001 and in 2003, Christopher
updated his book and retitiled
it "Music is Your Business."
2007, Christopher Knab and
Bartley F. Day completely
revised "Music is Your
Business" and it is
now available in the Music
Biz Academy Bookstore..
Christopher Knab is available for consulting, lectures, workshops and seminars on a variety of subjects. Reach
him by e-mail at Chris@Knab.com.
Christopher Knab is a music business consultant, author and lecturer who grabs the attention of his audience with his passionate knowledge of the music business. Through his books, lectures, workshops, and courses about the music industry, Knab brings extensive first-hand information, a 40+ year history rich in support of independent music and a commitment to explain in simple terms the complexities of an industry challenged by constant change and fierce competition.
At the beginning of this new millennium Knab, was honored by Seattle's Rocket magazine as "One of the Most Influential People in the Northwest Music Industry," He is both the consummate music fan and the devoted consultant who focusing on helping musicians help themselves with the business of music.
Since his early days working at the Magic Flute record store in the late 1960's San Francisco (where the owner offered him a job because he spent so many hours just hanging around the store) he then moved on in the early 70's to be the owner of the now famous San Francisco-based Aquarius Records store where his love of blues, jazz, and rock music was evident in the records he stocked. The store earned the reputation as the place to shop for great music. By the mid 70's, Knab was influential in introducing progressive rock, punk and new wave music to not only his customers, but to radio listeners.
At the first FM rock station on the west coast, KSAN (The Jive 95) Knab transformed himself into DJ Cosmo Topper, co-host of then revolutionary and now notorious punk/new wave shows 'The Outcast Hour', and 'The Heretics'. Stations KSJO and KTIM sought him out for new music shows. No rules or corporate formatting, if it was new and he liked it, he played it. His show quickly became the place touring bands came to after their gigs. (The Sex Pistols almost cost KSAN its FCC license!)
As an established major player on the local San Francisco music scene, bands brought him their demos. With a car trunk full of demos, a casual comment to DJ partner Howie Klein began a successful record label partnership. The two started one of the first alternative indie labels, 415 Records, and went on to sign, among others, Romeo Void, The Nuns, Translator, Wire Train, and the Red Rockers. When Romeo Void began to take off, selling over 80,000 copies of the Never Say Never EP, Columbia Records (and others) came knocking at the door. With the help of an entertainment lawyer, papers were signed and the Columbia/415 deal became the model for multitudes of other major label umbrella-ed Indies.
A trip to Seattle resulted in a move north, where he signed on as Station Manager at the University of Washington's alternative music station, 90.3FM KCMU (now KEXP). He guided the station during Seattle's 'Grunge' period through the late 80's / mid 90's into a new era of listener-supported alternative music. In the late 1980's, Knab was instrumental in developing the Northwest Area Music Association (NAMA), where he served as President from 1989-1992. Through NAMA, Knab organized four annual music business conferences, giving him his first taste of developing classes and workshops on the business of music.
Around the same time the Audio and Music Business Program at the Art Institute of Seattle, contacted Knab to teach courses related to the promotion and marketing of recorded music. He would land up teaching there for 18 years, retiring in 2005 to develop his own company FourFront Media and Music, a consultation service based in Seattle that helps musicians develop marketing and career plans.
His popular website, http://www.4Frontmusic.com, hosts dozens of articles on music business issues and has been honored several times by being selected as 'site of the month.' In addition to offering his own workshops, Knab regularly speaks at industry conferences, including New York's New Music Seminar, Austin's South by Southwest Conference, and numerous other music business conferences
Knab co-authored, along with Portland based entertainment law attorney Bartley F. Day, an extensive chapter on "Independent Label Deals with Major Labels" in all 4 editions of "The Musician's Legal and Business Guide" published originally by Prentice-Hall and the Beverly Hills Bar Association.
As the new millennium arrived Knab published (again with Attorney Bartley F. Day) the first edition of his book Music Is Your Business. It is now in its 3rd Edition with the 4th Edition due out in the fall of 2010.
His book is used in several music business programs at colleges and universities across the country and in parts of Europe where it is recognized as a reliable textbook on the subject of the music business for independent bands and recording artists.
Currently Knab is teaching an online course for Music Industry Educators on the subject of marketing and promoting independent music, and returns to his alma mater the Art Institute of Seattle for regular guest lectures every quarter.
Ultimately, Knab loves to teach. He loves to reach out to musicians and their supporting cast, enlightening them about the perils and rewards involved with developing a career in the music business in this challenging age of traditional music marketing changing rapidly to digital businesses.
Christopher Knab is available for lectures, workshops and seminars on a variety of subjects. Reach him by e-mail at Chris@Knab.com; or by mail at 1245 S. 128th St, Seattle, WA 98168.
The Legacy of 415 Records
Background and Recognition
415 Records was founded in 1978 by Aquarius Records store owner Christopher Knab, writer and promoter Howie Klein, and music retailer/collector Butch Bridges. In 1979, Butch Bridges sold his interest in the label to Queenie Taylor, a long time Bill Graham Presents employee, who remained a partner in the label until it was sold to Blue Oyster Cult manager and producer, Sandy Perlman in 1986. In 1980 Butch purchased the music retail store Aquarius Records from Chris. He sold the store to an employee in'96.
In 1982 415 Records affiliated with Columbia Records and signed a contract to work with the major label that would be the basis for dozens of such associations over the next two decades When Sandy Perlman purchased the label in 1985 he kept the label going for awhile, but eventually changed its name to 'Popular Metaphysics Records', and only released one record before closing up shop in 1988.
Christopher Knab sold out his interest in the label in 1985, and moved to Seattle Washington to manage the University of Washington alternative radio station KCMU. After selling the label to Sandy Perlman, Howie Klein moved over to work for Sire Records as the General Manager, a position he held until becoming the President of Reprise Records in 1995. Queenie Taylor, moved into managing SF nightclub 'Wolfgangs' in the early 80's, and 'Slims' in the early 90's, and had an involvement with a San Francisco based music conference (SFO-1 and SFO-2) in the mid 90's.
In the mid 1990's Columbia Records released a 'Best of 415' compilation CD that featured Romeo Void, Translator, Wire Train, and the Red Rockers among other bands. That same year Columbia also released a 'Best of' Romeo Void and a 'Best of' Translator. In 1996 the weekly industry trade publication CMJ released a CD and book celebrating the 'Best in Alternative Music' since the magazine started up in 1979.
The following honors were bestowed on the legacy of 415 Records:
#1 Album for 2 weeks straight starting on 10/1/84 - Instincts LP
#11 Top 25 Albums of 1981 - It's A Condition LP
#21 Top 25 Albums of 1982 - Never Say Never EP
#89 Top 250 Alternative songs chart - "Girl In Trouble"
#122 Top 250 Alternative songs chart - "Never Say Never"
#294 Top 1000 Albums Chart - It's A Condition LP
#759 Top 1000 Albums Chart - Instincts LP
#837 Top 1000 Albums Chart - Never Say Never EP
#903 Top 1000 Albums Chart - Benefactor LP
#20 Top 25 Albums of 1982-Heartbeats and Triggers LP
#297 Top 1000 Albums Chart-Heartbeats and Triggers LP
#850 Top 1000 Albums Chart-In A Chamber LP