Is There Still A Place for the Recording Artist in the Music Industry?

Jeremy Koeries is the Managing Director and Executive Producer of Exilic Music. This is the second post in a three part discussion wherein which he will share his thoughts on why recording artists do not need record labels in 2016.
If labels are barely surviving, people are rarely buying music and recording artists need new goals, is there still a place for the recording artist in the music industry?

In this post, I’ll mention some of the “new” goals recording artists should set for themselves. In reality, these goals are far from new! Any serious performing artist has always been aiming for this, in some way or another!

What should an aspiring recording artist prioritize? New artists need exposure, not record labels.

To get this, new artists need The following:
1. GOOD SONGS,
2. REGULAR GIGS,
3. RADIO SINGLES, and
4. INTERNET PRESENCE.

That’s the new world. And it’s not so different from the old world, except for the Internet!

Here’s what misleads many an aspiring artist. Most music consumers listen to recorded music (whether on radio, off physical or digital recordings, or on the internet). So it’s not surprising that many mistakenly believe that the key to a successful music career is aiming to be a RECORDING artist, ultimately signed to a well-established label.

In reality, there are only a few kind of artists who find success on record labels:

– (A) established/well-known artists (because they have an existing fan base)
– (B) contestant winners (Idols, Voice SA, X-Factor, Popstars etc) who come with a ready-made TV fan base
– (C) artists who have already done items 1, 2, 3 and 4 above, and therefore HAVE a good fan base!!

Remember, future recording artist: a record label CANNOT give you a fan base. They only produce records to sell to your fan base. You have to create your own fan base through items number 1-4 above!!

Finally, here’s the reality check! Making a living off music does not come through a record deal. Most labels don’t have money to pay you a fixed salary. And in South Africa (or anywhere else for that matter), most artists don’t live off record sales.

Making a living comes from GIGS/EVENTS/PERFORMANCES (that’s how professional musicians make money in South Africa…irrespective of genre!).

In my next post, I’ll make a few recommendations for recording artists or entrepreneurs who are thinking of setting up independent record labels. You can read part one of this series here.

Follow Jeremy Koeries on Twitter: @JeremyKoeries

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