Who Discovers Musicians In The Digital Era?

Considering all the hype around self-releasing albums these days, you might be forgiven for thinking that the whole concept of A&R has simply evaporated. In fact, talent spotters are (even more) essential in these days of mass distribution. This is one aspect of the music industry that is certain to persist through whatever economic model changes occur over the coming years; now that everyone can theoretically reach a worldwide audience instantly, it’s vital to have people who know where to put the investment that delivers a healthy return…
(from Digital Music)

The View From The Record Company Tower

Wired published a few interesting comments from Record Company executives last month, taken from a forum which asked how recording artists will be discovered in future. The main thing that comes across in these comments is the difference in perspective from that of the musicians. Although many aspiring musicians desire fame and wealth, they see these from the ‘rock star’ point of view, where everything is easy and happens automatically on the strength of their music. The executive view is much more calculating; it’s all about whether they can sell the music to a profitable demographic.

There seems to be a consensus that artists can indeed manage their own success without signing to a major label; however, they will require a lot of marketing and promotion knowledge, intelligence, ambition and…of course…great music.

Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert

Allen Kovac of Tenth Street Entertainment says that the industry needs to “take managers and lawyers out of the music business”. He also criticises 360 deals, saying this leads to lawyers “who are trying to guide their clients and are trying to keep paying for large homes, but that plantation system is over.”

What a modern A&R agent wants is a band that can attract true fans; a best-in-class product, whatever that class may be. If they find it, then they will use their resources to make it succeed – which is something a band will find very difficult to achieve on their own. There is still a place for the record deal, but only a band with nothing to lose should seriously consider going down the 360 path…


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