Funnybone Records is an independent record label and concert promoter based in Hartford. Owner Dylan Healy spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about what sets his startup apart and why he became involved with the reSET Retail Incubator.
NAN PRICE: What makes Funnybone Records innovative and impactful?
DYLAN HEALY: Funnybone Records provides impactful services to the artists we work with. For the past four years of operation, I’ve built a creative ecosystem that thrives on talent, collaboration, transparency, and empathy. I do this through passion for good music, the spirit of friendship, high-quality media manufacturing, full-scale digital distribution, personalized physical distribution, tailored publicity and ad work, and concert and event booking.
Our roster consists primarily of LGBTQ+ and BIPOC identifying musicians and artists. Our retail products range from CDs and cassettes to vinyl records and books. We also sell shirts, stickers, posters, and more. We just launched our first print magazine and our fourth compilation record, both of which support the company’s pillar of philanthropy, with all proceeds being donated to End Hunger Connecticut!, House of GG, and The Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Articulation.
NAN: When and why did you start your company?
DYLAN: I started Funnybone Records in 2017. As a fresh University of Hartford graduate living in Hartford, I was eager to tap into the vibrant music community. While the local live music scene was strong, I noticed there was little coordinated support behind studio releases, press coverage, and multidisciplinary collaboration. With an unbridled passion for music, I sought a creative outlet to advance the careers of Hartford’s talented artists.
Four years later, I’m so proud it has blossomed into a client-servicing company that represents 20 artists in North and South America. It’s a privilege to provide valuable access to resources for rising artists. I’ll champion them for as long as I live.
NAN: How did you become involved with the reSET Retail Incubator and what do you hope to gain from your involvement?
DYLAN: After being invited to apply to the reSET Retail Incubator, I met up with a member of the Breakfast Lunch & Dinner team to inquire further about the program. I was thrilled to hear of the incubator’s intentions in supporting local small business owners through valuable lectures, seasoned guest speakers, retail opportunities, and the chance to collaborate with other local owners
It’s been a really invigorating experience so far. I hope to gain new business strategies, beneficial connections, and a greater understanding of how to position my company to grow sustainably. My long-term goal is to open a physical retail space, and I feel the incubator is providing solid groundwork to take the first steps toward that goal.
NAN: Aside from funding, what is your biggest startup challenge?
DYLAN: Aside from funding, the biggest startup challenge has been teaching myself and fulfilling every necessary role—campaign management, graphic design, artists and repertoire, contract writing, royalty distribution, event hosting, etc. While I’ve learned more through four years of hands-on, self-initiated experience than I did in four years of undergrad, I know the company could tremendously benefit from having more people on board with dedicated positions. It’s a tall order to rely on volunteer work, so this inadvertently ties into funding. I feel I’m currently operating at my carrying capacity. As I seek to grow the roster further, I would need to also grow my team. Without funding, I’m unsure how to do so.
NAN: Any advice for others starting out on their entrepreneurial journey?
DYLAN: For those beginning their entrepreneurial journey, I encourage you to approach it with as much fervor as patience. While you may be eager to shout your idea or project out into the world, it’s worth relishing every second of the process of developing and refining your idea. Be open to teaching yourself new skills; when you can’t, don’t be afraid to ask for help.