I was at a dinner yesterday with amazing and talented musicians and artists. The conversation was about Labels and how artists are having a hard time paying the bills with their own music.
The truth is, and I see it as a Music Strategist, Adviser and Marketer, that internet is catching up on everything and the business model of the Music Industry is shaking.
This is a good thing for some, a dramatic one for others, for me, it is just about you trying to hack the system, therefore, it’s exciting.
You know, I have been following, for years, bands in the “Hardcore” scene, that we like to call also the “Underground” scene in Lyon, France. This is a little ecosystem of very extreme rock bands that decided to make it on their own, years ago. Many years ago.
I love this scene because they are into what we call the “DIY” (Do It Yourself) and they figured it out without the help of any label.
They have a whole conception of music and that’s definitely not mainstream, however, they produce everything by themselves from A to Z and therefore, own 100% of their craft. Which, in 2018, is pretty incredible.
That being said, when I came to the US in 2013, I have been evolving with a total other genre yet pretty close to the French Underground scene : the rap scene of Atlanta, Georgia.
These artists, these rappers, these beat makers, are producing everything on their own and make it through with their own strategies, which pay. And I love that because all they are doing is hacking the system.
We are going towards a generation of artists that no longer really need a label to distribute their music to the masses. This can happen to anybody that has the will to do so.
But the thing is, internet is swiping absolutely everything. People in the Music Industry are clearly seeing it because people consume music differently. Music is no longer consumed via Discs, it is streamed. A revival is coming through Vinyls and local shops are getting more money from these kids that want to know what it is to have a Vinyl collection.
Taylor Swift, who is a signed artist, refused to put her songs on download platforms before her CD was released physically and was also adding concert tickets in it so people actually find an interest in buying the music.
I think we tend to a very unusual moment where music will no longer bring money to their artists.
I think that Musicians need to hack the system and find the money elsewhere.
You know that, to me, being an artist, or a band, is basically being a brand and therefore you need to apply self branding techniques to have your breakthrough.
Artists need to catch up on that and realize that music will no longer pay and will be used as a medium to develop your brand and get the money out of merch or other kind of partnership with brands.
Only then, will musicians understand that the Music game has evolved and will be able to shake the way people consume their music.
Dr. Dre understood it. He no longer puts music together, however, is racking Millions of Dollars in sales with his BEATS headsets. And when he produces other artists, he couldn’t care less about the money out of mechanical licenses with these artists, however, he’ll ask them to wear his BEATS in their music videos, exposing them to millions of viewers, and therefore, potential customers.