|Country of origin||United States|
|Location||Missoula, Montana (since 2013)|
DFTBA Records is an e-commerce merchandise company that was co-founded by Hank Green and Alan Lastufka in 2008. Originally a record label, the company now focuses on selling merchandise for prominent YouTube stars, such as Green himself, his brother, the novelist John Green, Charlie McDonnell, Rhett and Link, CGP Grey, and Charles Trippy, among several others.
The offices of DFTBA Records were in Manhattan, Illinois, until early 2013 when they were moved to Hank's hometown of Missoula, Montana. In Illinois, the company had operated out of Lastufka's home. Upon moving to Missoula, they set up their warehouse in a small building that was formerly a preschool, but soon moved to a larger warehouse. During this time, they increased their number of employees from five to ten, and started another webseries called The Warehouse, hosted by warehouse manager Matthew Gaydos. This channel no longer uploads content as Matthew Gaydos is now working on other YouTube channels. Distribution of records by DFTBA Records is largely independent; Lastufka himself generally oversaw most of the distribution during his tenure as co-owner. On June 18, 2014, Lustufka announced his decision to sell his stake in the record label, and resigned as president, to pursue other projects. In April 2015, DFTBA Records was officially issued a business license in the city of Missoula.
The name of the record label, as well as the website its artists are associated with originates from an initialism, standing for "Don't Forget to Be Awesome". The initialism is generally seen as the motto for the VlogBrothers (consisting of Green, and his brother, John), as well as their fan base, known as Nerdfighteria. The goal of the record label, as Lastufka stated in a video on the subject, is to provide a distribution network for talented artists of YouTube and to make sure their music reaches out to the "largest audience possible." The record label claims to aid a bigger audience in connecting with the artists, and make the "YouTube experience" more lucrative, more exciting, and more fun.
In March 2014, several artists signed under DFTBA Records, including Alex Day and Tom Milsom, were involved in sexual abuse issues. Following the breaking of this news, all artists that proved to be having sexual encounters with their fans, or perpetrators of sexual abuse were dropped from the label. Lastufka also made a $1000 donation to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.
Both Hank and John Green made public announcements on YouTube and Tumblr regarding the situation. On Milsom specifically, John stated, "On a professional note, we continue to have a zero tolerance policy for abusive behavior by artists whose work is distributed by DFTBA Records, so his music is no longer for sale at DFTBA." Around the same time, a former DFTBA Record-signed artist, Michael Lombardo was sentenced to five years in prison due to pleading guilty on eleven counts of child pornography charges. Lombardo's ex-girlfriend, Hayley G. Hoover, who is also signed under DFTBA Records, spoke out against him.
DFTBA Records is a music record label, however, its official website sells various types of merchandise, ranging from T-shirts to buttons. Artists signed to DFTBA Records are not exclusively musical artists. For example, official The Fault in Our Stars merchandise was sold on the website, including a limited-edition box set including an audiobook version of the novel. Additionally, the artists responsible for the designs on merchandise, such as apparel or accessories, will receive royalties for their contributions.
Artists signed under the label have seen their shares of success, as well as unforeseen growth due to signing with the label, such as Craig Benzine and his band, Driftless Pony Club. In 2009, speaking about the artists signed under the label, Lastufka stated, "A lot of [our artists] are very nichey." Within two years, the record label was able to garner over $1 million in total sales, including music and merchandise.
- Lastufka, Alan. "DFTBA Offices". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
- Green, Hank (February 21, 2013). Little Infinity Packing at DFTBA. Hankschannel. YouTube. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- "The Warehouse" - Episode 1. The Warehouse. YouTube. July 29, 2013. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Crum, Chris (September 29, 2009). "Record Label Launched for YouTube Stars". Web Pro News. Archived from the original on March 11, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Dieker, Nicole (July 1, 2014). "Talking to Alan Lastufka About Starting DFTBA Records With Hank and John Green and What's Next". The Billfold. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Lastufka, Alan (June 18, 2014). "This morning I sold my entire stake in DFTBA Records.". Tumblr. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "City of Missoula business licenses issued in April 2015". Missoulian. May 17, 2015. Retrieved July 13, 2015.
- Boedeker, Hal (June 8, 2014). "'Fault in Our Stars': DFTBA screening". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Obama Uses 'Don't Forget To Be Awesome' In Chat, Internet Freaks Out". Huffington Post. February 16, 2013. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- 187: Books, DFTBA Records and Holidays. YouTube. November 24, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- Butterly, Amelia (March 20, 2014). "Vlogger admits 'manipulative relationships with women'". BBC. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (March 14, 2014). "The Tom Milsom abuse scandal and YouTube's troubling cult of worship". The Daily Dot. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Klima, Jeff (March 14, 2014). "Alex Day Now Involved In 'Sexual Misconduct' Allegations, Asked To Be Pulled From DFTBA Records As Well". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Huynh, Terence (March 20, 2014). "Crossing the line: YouTube community in crisis as sexual assault allegations are made public". TechGeek.au. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- Gutelle, Sam (March 18, 2014). "Vlogbrothers Set Up Task Force, Fund Series To Curb Sexual Abuse". Tubefilter. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Green, John (March 11, 2014). "Tom". Tumblr. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Online community reacts as YouTube celebrity jailed on child porn charges". Independent.ie. March 18, 2014. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Bylin, Kyle (January 11, 2011). "An Interview With DFTBA Records Co-Founder Alan Lastufka On Running A Digital Music Label". Hypebot. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Rosi (November 17, 2011). "Pre-Orders Open for 3,000 Limited Edition "TFIOS" Audiobooks Narrated by John Green". Leaky News. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Schuth, Louie (May 16, 2013). "John Green rereleases limited run of self read 'The Fault in Our Stars' audiobook". Hypable. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- Distasio, Christine (June 19, 2014). "13 'Fault in Our Stars' Items From the Official Store That You Need Right Now, Okay?". Bustle. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- RedEye, Stephanie Lulay (December 7, 2009). "I'm with the bandwidth". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Community-run music label DFTBA thrives". YouTube Official Blog. Blogspot. December 3, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2014.