Building Up Into a Crescendo of Successful Sales: How Two Brothers from a Small Town Sold Over 1 Million CDs – Without a Major Label

Share Article

Young recording artists often think being signed by a major label is the only surefire way to achieve success. But best-selling musicians Tim and Ryan OÂ?Neill of beg to differ. The OÂ?Neill Brothers have sold over one million CDs Â? without a major label. HereÂ?s how theyÂ?ve done it.

Sidestepping the route most musicians follow, two small town entrepreneurs have spun success for their own record label, Shamrock-n-Roll, Inc. Tim and Ryan O’Neill, piano playing brothers from Minnesota, concentrated on distributing their CDs through retailers who cater to their key audience: women age 35 and older.

“Selling a million CDs isn’t as amazing as the path that took us there,” says Ryan, who has provided music for NBC, ESPN, HBO television as well as performed live on QVC television and for former President George H. Bush.

Prelude to Success

The brothers got their start performing at family gatherings. Once Tim discovered that his mother had been distributing his recordings to family and friends, he decided to pursue business as a musician.

“Expanding sales beyond just people I knew began to make sense,” says Tim.

In 1995, Tim quickly found his audience doing holiday-themed performances at Minnesota grocery and department stores. Two years later, Tim teamed up with younger brother Ryan to start recording their brand of what the “Los Angeles Times” and “Parenting” magazine have called “reflective, soothing and stimulating” music.

To increase their number of “performances” the brothers converted in-store pianos into player pianos, then later created high-tech audio kiosks to play entire selections from their albums. Increased CD sales followed.

Today you’ll find their music in nearly 1,000 gift shops, grocery stores, and craft shows coast to coast. Some weekends during the fall craft show season, the O’Neill Brothers sell a CD every 10 seconds.

They have recorded 20 albums, including holiday themed CDs, a collection of lullabies, Irish-themed albums, and a “A Day to Remember,” which has become the best-selling CD on and “A Day to Remember” will also be given to all brides registering during 2005 at any of the May Company Department Stores; Filene's, Foley's, Lord & Taylor, and Marshall Field's.

“It’s been a great journey to get past the million mark,” says Tim, “which just goes to prove that absolutely anybody can achieve success.”

Even if they aren’t signed by a major label, listen to music from the The O’Neill Brothers at

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kathy Keane
Visit website