How Should Independent Labels Commit Themselves to Artists?

Jeremy Koeries is the Managing Director and Executive Producer of Exilic Music. This is third post in a three part discussion wherein which he will share his thoughts on why recording artists do not need record labels in 2016.


In my last two posts, I made a cursory glance at the current state of the recording industry. I said that many record labels are barely surviving. The “culture of buying” is foreign to many of today’s music lovers. This means recording artists need to think seriously about their place in the music industry today.

Now, I would like to make a few recommendations. These apply equally to independent artists, independent record labels (“indies”) or entrepreneurial artists who wish to position themselves as indie labels.

I recommend that independent labels position themselves differently. While they will still record music, they should not function solely as a traditional label. Instead, they should reposition themselves through unique commitments to artists. Admittedly, these commitments are a highly idealistic and require a non-traditional business model. Essentially, the visionary behind this kind of indie label is somewhat of a social entrepreneur. And this person must be the leader of a diverse team of passionate world-changers! But when this approach is combined with the artist who is serious about building a career as outlined in my previous post, the possibilities become less idealistic and more realistic.

By way of example, these commitments from indie labels to artists would incorporate, among others:
1. Development. This would include artistic, industry knowledge, and socio-economic development initiatives, personal growth/self-management, etc)

2. Collaboration. This means creating an industry that will benefit other indie artists and indie labels within a label’s sphere of influence. This means a shift from competition to community, where everybody’s unique contribution and unique need can result in a healthy relationship between supply and demand.

3. Service Packages. Labels should set up teams that can serve the diverse needs of artists, including management, touring, marketing, publishing, and music administration solutions.

This is a new world with new opportunities for both independent artists and independent labels.
Labels can no longer make much money off record sales. Neither can artists. While the music industry landscape and music consumer’s needs keep changing globally, certain needs – especially those of the artist – will always remain! Since most musicians tend to be more artsy than administrative, business services beyond that of the traditional record label will always be a void that can be filled by social entrepreneurs who genuinely have the artist’s interest at heart.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts by Jeremy Koeries. Please follow us on Twitter at @exilicmusic for more.


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