What does the record label of the future look like?
The world is an ever-changing place, and to keep evolving, innovating and transforming is the key to sustained success.
It is an established fact that the music industry has been challenged by new consumer habits enabled by new technologies. The landscape and its key players are evolving to grow new capabilities, revenue streams and habits underpinned by new technologies.
A new music industry is taking shape in order to deliver in the future. No longer does the repeated formula – artists get signed, make a record, release three singles that hopefully make the top 10, tour to promote – guarantee success. A potent if fragmented combination of on-demand streaming, viral videos, digital downloads and technologies and platforms that enable artists to release and promote themselves has left many labels rethinking their strategy and positioning, and perhaps even questioning their role and relevance. Yet, artists still continue to sign to labels.
Many labels are learning as they go. Take Atlantic Records UK, for example. When breaking new artists, the label has taken a new approach, says Music Business Worldwide, one “ steeped in patience, streaming smarts, strong promo and global ambition.” Best described as a slow burn in a world that moves fast, Atlantic is experimenting with building tension and excitement via an initial stream. If that stream is successful, it may be followed months later by a second. Talk of actually making an album can happen a full year after the original single is released. “In this streaming landscape,” said Atlantic Record UK’s President Ben Cook, “it takes a long, long time to infiltrate people’s attention span; you have to let a track percolate before it’s added to people’s collections – either by being recommended through playlists or hearing about it through word of mouth.”
But this is just one label. How are the labels transforming and changing to remain relevant and cutting edge? More specifically, what is the role of promotion when paid-for consumption isn't the norm? Is promotion as a concept obsolete, and if so what role can labels play in promoting their artists? How is A&R changing in the age of streaming? What new revenue streams and business models should be considered? Who are the new contenders? Which channels are the most effective?
How do record labels compare to DIY labels and artists-run labels?
We are devoting our next London-based Music 4.5 to exploring what the record label of the future might look like.
Music 4.5 The Record Label of the Future will cover these questions and more:
- How is the artist-label relationship changing?
- What is the role of a record label and A&R in the age of streaming?
- Which labels are ahead of this curve and already innovating?
- Are the DSP’s potentially a new type of record label format?
- Should contracts be re-written in the age of streaming - what is a fair share split for artists, labels and services?
- DIY artists and labels, indie labels and the major labels - who is doing what and succeeding?
- How are the services tracking, chasing, collecting and managing the rightsholder money developing and changing?