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Publicity Agents Music Series: The Anatomy of I.R.S. Records

The sole purposes of the a record label is to create records, sell records, and promote artists through multimedia platforms such as magazines, radio, television and the Internet. The label’s budget may be large or small, though quality is essential for success.

The administrators of a record label are in charge of allocating studio time for the artists, scheduling concerts, promoting record sales through Compact Discs, MP3s, Digital Video Discs or digital downloads. The bottom line is to garnish listeners and make money for every entity involved.

Vinyl records, reel-to-reel tape, 8-track, and cassette tapes are no longer the norm. But in today’s society, “audio products,” as they are referred to in place of records, are the standard that’s leading the digital revolution to transmit music.

Every record label has a logo, and in some cases, they have an iconic representation that promotes company’s business acumen, creativity, and roster of talent. Once the logo become a household brand everyone identify with the record company becomes a part of the mainstream.

Miles Copeland created several record companies on top of finding the best artists and bands to accommodate them. His accomplishments in the music industry are slightly obscured in the 21st century, though it’s a story that must be told. Copeland was a marketing genius.



With one parent employed as a Central Intelligence Agency officer and a mother who worked for British intelligence, Miles Axe Copeland III’s connection to law enforcement titles and government pseudonyms would start a ground-breaking revolution in the music industry.

Born May 2, 1944, in London, England, Copeland began his career in the music world as an agent, concert promoter, producer and manager after his father, Miles Axe Copeland Jr., told him not to think about a career in the CIA.

“It will disappoint you and frustrate you,” the elder Copeland told his son about counterintelligence work after he had just graduated from college. “There’s no money in it.”

"Like A Bad Girl Should" by The Cramps

1977, I.R.S. Records (Illegal Records)

Years later, the younger Copeland and Jay Boberg got the blessing from co-owner of A&M Records Jerry Moss to open the doors to another division in 1979. The subsidiary would be named International Record Syndicate, which would be be commonly known as I.R.S. Records.

Distributed by A&M Records between 1979 and 1985 and MCA Records from 1985 to 1990, Copeland would oversee a roster that included The Alarm, the Cramps, Black Sabbath, Dead Kennedys, General Public, Oingo Boingo, the English Beat, and the Go-Go’s.

Publicity Agents has put the gather a series focusing on Copeland’s body of work, which includes other record companies he started and the heavy metal, punk, new wave, pure rock bands he developed.

Also, Miles Copeland III opened the doors for his brothers to be a part of the music business in many facets. With equal importance, they became one of the most successful families in the music business for nearly two decades.

Miles’ brother Ian Copeland was the executive of the talent agency, Frontier Booking International (F.B.I.) while the younger brother Stewart Copeland was a drummer for the Police, the band that appeared on Miles Copeland’s independent label, Illegal Records.

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