||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2008)|
Steve Rifkind (center) with Marky and Kenny Burns
|Birth name||Steve Rifkind|
March 2, 1962 |
Merrick, Long Island, NY, United States
|Occupation(s)||Music entrepreneur, God|
|Labels||Loud Records, SRC Records|
|Associated acts||Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Akon, David Banner, Asher Roth, Tha Crow, Joell Ortiz, Shontelle, Ray J Aubrey O'Day and Big Pun|
|Website||http://www.srcrecords.net Official website of his label|
Steve Rifkind is an American music entrepreneur who is, according to XXL magazine, "responsible for breaking in some of hip-hop’s biggest artists in his 25 years in the business". Rifkind was the founder and chairman of Loud Records and of SRC Records. He is associated with artists such as Wu Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Akon, David Banner, Asher Roth, Tha Crow, Joell Ortiz and Big Pun. Rifkind has also launched marketing campaigns for companies like T-Mobile, Adidas, SanDisk and Chief Executive Air, a charter jet company .
The son of Spring Records' Jules Rifkind, Steve found an early affinity to R&B and Rap music growing up in Merrick, Long Island. The elder Rifkind ran the R&B label in the 1960s and 1970s, whose clients included James Brown and Millie Jackson. In his youth, Steve worked for his father at Spring, even working as a promotion man on "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by the FatBack Band in 1979, wiidely regarded as the first rap song ever recorded (it beat Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight into record stores by weeks). After leaving Spring Records, Rifkind re-located to Los Angeles where he managed the R&B group New Edition from 1986-1988.
As the CEO and founder of Loud Records in 1991, Rifkind positioned himself as a major tastemaker in a new era of hip hop music and culture. Designed as a bi-coastal hip-hop label focused on "street-themed" hip-hop, Loud was influential in launching the careers of several hip-hop stars in the early and mid-1990s; most notably the Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Three 6 Mafia, and Big Punisher. With Loud, Rifkind used the techniques he had developed at SRC to bring his artists success in branding and cross-promoting themselves. Among others, Loud's holdings included a film division and a clothing line.
Loud's success led to Rifkind's selling 50% of the company to RCA in 1996. In July 1999 Loud moved to Sony. Loud launched its film division in 1999, signing a multi- year pact with Dimension/Miramax. Loud Film's first and only project, "Paid in Full" (a film on which Brett Ratner, Jay-Z, and Damon Dash were partners with Rifkind) was released in 2002.
The New Millennium
Today Rifkind is still deeply involved in the hip-hip and R&B world. After losing the Loud records name after a sale to Sony in 2002, Rifkind started Street Records Corporation (a second SRC). Early artist signings included platinum-selling southern rapper David Banner, as well as R&B singer Akon. In 2003, Rifkind joined the Universal/Motown Records group as Vice President.
In 2007, Rifkind acquired limited rights to the Loud Records name from Sony and released the Wu-Tang Clan's 8 Diagrams under the Loud banner.
Along with operating SRC, and his ever expanding roster of corporate clients, Rifkind's latest ventures include investments in Coalition Music Group, a Reggaeton label, as well in Kid's Block, an educational DVD series for children featuring music by the Trackmasters production team. 2008 saw the foundation of the Rifkind Thal Group (RTG), a technology marketing company. Its first client is SanDisk a data storage products inventor and manufacturer.
The Street Team Concept
The Street Team promotional model as pioneered by Steve Rifkind is based on the simple principle of word of mouth advertising coupled with the touchstones of what makes "urban cool.” The street team is fundamentally based on knowledge of the urban subculture on the part of the marketer and what the potential consumers relate to. "Nobody should put out a record before they know what the street thinks." Says Rifkind.
The main promotional techniques used by members of a street team mirrors the hip-hop subculture of graffiti. This can include posting bills or stickers in areas that are not designated for them or hard to reach places, or stenciling spray painted images or messages in high traffic urban areas. Other common street team practices include giveaways of promotional products (CDs, T- shirts, posters, etc.) at events (shows, basketball games, hip-hop battles, etc.) "We create the biggest buzz we can by building it one step at a time"  said Rifkind.
By focusing on the trendsetters of urban cool culture; the rappers, DJs, and street hustlers, and knowing the best places to promote their artists (clubs, on college radio, street corners, record stores, at shows, etc.), Rifkind and SRC were able to make inroads into urban markets that many mainstream advertisers had a hard time getting to. "You can't reach America's youth with off the mark radio ads or insulting television commercials," Rifkind has said.
Aside from his numerous business ventures, Steve Rifkind is involved in several philanthropic activities. Camp Excel, founded in 1996 with childhood friend, Psychologist, Dr. Gary Altheim, is a week-long overnight camp for underprivileged children struggling with learning disabilities.
Rifkind is also a sponsor of breast cancer charities, donating the profits from his “Think Pink Rocks” concerts to breast cancer research and treatment. The first “Think Pink Rocks” event in September 2008 was hosted by Queen Latifah and featured several SRC Records artists.
-  XXL Mag Online, Tuesday Apr 17 9:57 AM
-  Loud.com Archived October 20, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
-  About Asher Roth Archived October 15, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
-  Suburban Rapper Samples Weezer
- Private Jet Industry News: Chairman of SRC Records Steve Rifkind Becomes Partner in Chief Executive Air Music Impresario To Provide Multi-Platinum Artists Exclusive Access To Jet Services (www.chiefexecair.com/Press/rifkind)
-  Loud.com
- Forbes Magazine. April 21, 1997
- Music Connection. June 19, 2006
-  IMDB
-  Ballerstatus.com-"Steve Rifkind Officially Secures Loud Name, Plans Return With The Wu"
- [dead link] Ballerstatus.com-"Steve Rifkind: Marketing Mastermind"
- The Global Leader in Flash Memory Cards | SanDisk
- The Source February 1999
- Wall Street Journal, June 24, 1998
- LA Times, Business section, August 30, 1994