Tony M. Fountain is one of the most versatile entertainment entrepreneurs out there, and his Georgia-based company, NOW Entertainment, has been growing exponentially since its original inception in 2011. Beginning life as an indie record label, it now encompasses all aspects of the recording and promotion processes for artists. Tony himself has become the figurehead for a revolution in the way the music business works.
Finding Your Strength
As a businessman, he is self-taught and self-made. His philosophy is one of personal responsibility and accountability, espousing the idea that it is essential to take ownership of our actions and our own personal development. He has applied this philosophy in his own career to great effect, paying his dues with 70-hour working weeks and low-paying side jobs while simultaneously raising two young children as a single father. Over time, his work ethic and dedication would eventually yield the business success which he currently enjoys.
He began as a musician himself, writing and recording hip-hop, but he soon discovered his real passion was the technical and promotional side of the music business. And thus, NOW Entertainment was born.
Using his graphic design skills, he has been able to build up a highly successful platform with a focus on artist independence. Shunning the restrictiveness of the conventional record label infrastructure, NOW Entertainment operates with a distinctly “artist-friendly” outlook. It actively utilizes social media to promote and support new work. Working with pioneering hip-hop artists, the ultimate goal is to establish a powerful brand outside of the mainstream studio system.
Tony says the key is to find what you’re good at and get better at it. Everyone faces adversity, and you can’t get discouraged; like a female friend of his once said, “put on your big girl panties.” You have to make daily to-do lists, celebrate the small goals along the way, and enjoy the climb.
Reach One Teach One
It’s called NOW Entertainment for a reason – its focus is on the here and now. It’s not about living in the past or worrying about the future but about providing tangible, practical options for up-and-coming artists. Tony emphasizes the importance of focusing on the end result – any failures along the way are merely incidental. So long as we learn from our mistakes, then every experience – good or bad – has its value.
The name is also an appealing acronym. “NOW” stands for “Never Off Work.” This itself has a dual meaning, with Tony and NOW Entertainment co-founder Max Trenton Taylor Henderson vowing never again to work low-paying menial jobs, but also vowing to work hard for the cause of self-betterment and spiritual growth.
As a mentor, Tony is also full of practical advice for aspiring musicians. For instance, he has spoken about the importance of owning the rights to any instrumentals used, to prevent legal issues and unnecessary expenditures further down the line.
It’s that kind of guidance which is so often lacking from mainstream record labels, whose approach is more often exploitative than supportive. In addition, he is actively educating musicians about the power of social media, and how important it is for burgeoning artists to engage actively with their fan base. As such, musicians who work with NOW Entertainment are assured a well-rounded experience to nurture their talent and potential. After all, what good is it to hold back valuable knowledge from others? Networking and learning from one another are essential to success.
Raising Social Awareness
Tony is also a dedicated philanthropist and has frequently employed NOW Entertainment as a tool for raising social awareness. For instance, the company recently took a central role in a fundraising campaign for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during National Suicide Prevention Month. Another issue which Tony has taken an interest in is police brutality, ever since the much-publicized death of Antonio May while in police custody.
NOW Entertainment recently dropped an album in his memory, and also launched a website to campaign against corruption and abuses of power in the law-enforcement system. Other activities include raising money for cancer societies, so it’s safe to say that altruism is a key component of NOW Entertainment’s business approach. Eirliani Abdul Rahman
Tony recently interviewed Eirliani Abdul Rahman, a former diplomat who is now a Twitter trust and safety council member and children’s rights activist about the work she’s doing for the homeless children of India during the COVID-19 lockdown.
His philosophy is what good is it to have an influential voice and platform if you’re not using it to help others, especially in their time of need.