With more and more new acts trooping with some barging their way into the music industry on a daily basis and the established one currently roped in legal battles with their erstwhile labels, it was about time for this question to be asked.
There is no denying the fact that record labels provide artistes with a security blanket that can not be belittled or pushed aside. They ensure the distribution, promotion, studio session, shooting of videos with sometimes the best of the best in that area and so on and so forth. However, when you delve deeper into the belly of these deals, it only becomes clearer that after scrimping and making sure you are heard in what could only be termed as a whisper, finally giving rise to a forced single (on the artiste’s part) and maybe 2 minutes video where you are pushed around by the director who feels he is doing you a favor, you realize, your bank account still has the same three zeros just perfect to make a mickey mouse head. Truth be told, everyone is in it to gain financial freedom and security.
Yes, the world has changed and is still changing and God bless the day internet was born and social media followed. Social media has provided thousands of struggling artistes the avenue to have their songs out there. For one, am certain, top music websites celebrates emerging artistes who trend on social media. Now tell me, if your song is trending on social media and secures a spot on such list, isn’t that just about the move in the right direction?
Of course, Labels can be cruel sometimes and I dare say its due to their failure to look at the future of and for that one out of five artistes they signed on. But can they be shoved aside in this day and age? No, I feel Labels are still a huge necessity in today’s music business.
Let’s face it, starting off as a newly signed artistes, a lot of things need to be put in place for you to make it in the ever competitive world of music. And these things can be placed in your laps on a platter of gold, silver or whatever it is that catches your fancy. Record labels, have years of industry relationship,you as a newbie do not. They have the magic wand and of course a place called an office or ‘Empire’ where a team of hands on magicians reside paid just to ensure that your name and song is on the lips of everyone in and around the globe.
Some determined artistes, have circumvented the now usual route of music distribution by making use of the social media platforms made available to everyone around the world, this note worthy discovery and their will to thrive and remain atop, earned some of them popularity on these platforms. But,will social media book that tour for you? Will you new title as the ‘Social media breakout star’ get you interviews in top publications in town? Will it have your songs playing repeatedly on radio stations that charge more than you have ever seen in your lifetime as an artiste? Will social media get you the stellar team which comprises of the best producer, PR, Video director and marketer in town or will it produce your EPK? (Electronic Press Kit). This said, its safe to say new artistes need the backings of a record label to push hem to the height they hope to attain.
Record labels, have very little patience in actually seeing the long term potential in some of their artistes, due to the fact that so much money is being pumped into creating a brand for them, they are after the instant profit they can get from such artiste thereby shoving aside any artiste who does not live up to that assumed promise, breaking the heart and every other thing that can be broken in the soul of such an act, who in so many cases turn out to be the ‘not so easily discarded piece of trash” (as it is assumed) springing up legal battles and hot words easily exchanged on the same social media meant to propel you to further stardom.
Do I think new artistes needs a record label? Yes. Are they a necessity? No. You finally get the lifetime chance of meeting the top executive of a big label and he or she wants to sign you on, congratulations kid. However, please make certain your deal does not surpass a year, two at most.
Record label owners are business men and their ability and need to see the long term benefit in most of them might just knock their socks off in the long run.
What do you guys think, are record labels still a necessity in today’s music industry? Let discuss guys.
Written by: Tope Delano