|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. DFTBA is an acronym for "don't forget to be awesome", a catchphrase of the Green brothers and used as a closing tagline on their Crash Course educational video series, among 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 accusations. Following the breaking of this news, all artists that had been accused of having sexual encounters with their fans, or of being 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.
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- ""Internet Star" Receives Stiff Prison Sentence". The Smoking Gun. 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2017-10-05.
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- "Community-run music label DFTBA thrives". YouTube Official Blog. Blogspot. December 3, 2010. Retrieved August 25, 2014.