Music Business Handbook And Career Guide 8th Edition – For better or worse, TikTok is driving the music industry. Video-sharing apps are becoming the primary method of discovering artists, potentially forcing labels to change business practices.
Peter McPoland started 2020 as a virtually unknown singer-songwriter, with only a small catalog and a modest following to his name. The little recognition he got came from a few small gigs he played with his high school band, Peter McPoland & The Hops. But, in April 2020, McPoland started posting his music on TikTok.
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Attracted by his rich folk songs and boy-next-door demeanor, audiences quickly gravitated to McPoland. The more he posts, the more fans he gets and the remaining six months of the year he can get millions of views and likes on the platform.
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This growth is not independent. As his social media following grew, so did his audience. His song “Romeo & Juliet” reached number three in the U.S. Spotify’s Viral 50 chart in early 2021, and has since amassed over 770,000 monthly listeners on the music streaming platform.
With a fan base growing by the day and a major tour lined up for the fall, McPoland’s career shows no signs of slowing down. And, when he was just signed to Columbia Records, his early success was achieved independently without label support. Instead, the driving force behind this success is TikTok.
It’s no secret that video sharing platforms have turned the music industry upside down. In 2020, TikTok reported that major publishers such as Interscope, Republic Records, Columbia, and several other affiliates of the “Big Three” had signed at least 70 artists who had cracked the app. Artists like Tai Verdes, 24kGoldn, ella jane, Ritt Momney, Claire Rosinkranz and Frances Forever have gone from viral songs on the platform to industry hopefuls.
No artist has encapsulated the life cycle of TikTok music like Olivia Rodrigo, who went from Disney B-list star to global number one record in less than a year with her debut single Driver’s License. After the success after “Driver’s License”, Rodrigo released his debut album “SOUR”, where almost every song created its own viral trend.
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However, achieving viral success on TikTok presents its own set of problems for creative output. Can algorithms really lead us to good art, or will it lead to a generation of music that is meaningless and only aimed at profit? Whatever the answer, it’s clear that change is coming to the music business.
A recent study showed that 75% of TikTok users in the US use the platform to discover new artists, and 67% are more likely to discover a song on the streaming platform if they listen to it on the app. With artists and concerts already exploring the platform for talent, numbers like these are likely to turn out to be more than just a few industry executives.
TikTok’s dynamics have the potential to dramatically change the music business model itself. After all, gone are the days when labels plucked unknown artists with no following from obscurity and spent a lot of time and money building their careers from the ground up.
On the other hand, in order for artists to be signed today, they must first prove to the label that they have been able to gain attention on their own, through social media or otherwise. What artists get by signing this full package deal is financial support for the creation and distribution of their music; Labels help match artists with producers and collaborators and put marketing behind releases. Not to mention the prestige that comes with signing a deal that has long been understood as the gateway to a successful music career.
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However, many listeners don’t fully understand that once an artist is signed, the label takes home a large portion of their royalties (which are already very small in the streaming age). A recent Citigroup report showed that musicians take home only 12% of the money earned in the music industry. Instead of streaming, we found that the most profitable sector of the music industry for artists is ticket sales and merchandise sales – not the album and single release process where labels are heavily involved.
This poses an interesting paradox. Artists have struggled to build a large enough following for a label to succeed only to cut their profits in the areas that help labels the most: marketing and music production.
A common counterargument to this view of record deals is that labels primarily help with exposure. While this is true, TikTok offers an alternative narrative that suggests the discovery game has completely changed. Algorithms drive artist innovation more than A&R. Even better, TikTok is free and it gives independent artists coverage they’ve only dreamed of before, even competing with the marketing machines of the Big Three labels.
Music technology being cheaper than ever before, artists becoming their own producers, videographers and graphic designers compound this phenomenon. In today’s music industry, self-sufficiency is extremely important.
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This means that pursuing indie is a more attractive option (see more than Chance the Rapper). To adapt to these changes, record labels have no choice but to rethink the way they do business.
Instead of using traditional models, labels should try to transform their companies into more agile, dynamic and artist-friendly enterprises. An example of this arrangement already exists in A World Artists Love, a British distribution company.
A defining feature of AWAL is that, regardless of what happens, artists retain their copyright. AWAL works on a tiered system, meaning that for smaller acts, the platform acts as a distribution service that takes 15% royalty. As artists grow, they can be scouted by the platform’s A&R team and promoted until they reach ‘EARLY+’, a service that works like a full label (complete with playlist services, marketing, synchronization and cash advances). Even at this high level, early artists continued to own their masters and maintained greater flexibility in their artistic choices.
AWAL seems to be on to something in giving their artists this level of control. Recently, Sony bought the company formerly owned by Cobalt for $430 million. It also offers its services to famous artists like FINNEAS, Tom Misch and the girl in red.
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Luke Combs steps it up a notch with his booking for the 2019 edition of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California, where he first performed in 2017.
If Nicole Hawking needs a reminder of how much her fiance loves her, she can turn on a radio station in almost any country.
The country singer-songwriter broke down long before hearing Luke Combs’ power ballad “Beautiful Crazy” long before the two got engaged in November.
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“I wrote that song before we started dating,” Combs, 29, said in an interview from Missouri earlier this week, days before his headlining show in Indio on Saturday for the 2019 edition of Stagecoach, the world’s largest country music festival.
“We dated for a while, and that’s when I knew there was something special about him,” the North Carolina musician said of Hocking, who is a Broadcast Music Inc. Met him while working in the office. In Nashville. , a copyright organization. “It’s nice to not only have a platform to let the world know how much I love him, but to see so many people see their relationship the way we see it.
“People come and say they danced to this song at their wedding. During the song we got a proposal. It’s really touching.”
Combs immediately preceded Saturday’s headliner Sam Hunt, whose blockbuster Stagecoach booking cemented his status as one of country’s newest breakout stars and positioned the festival’s center stage as a showcase for country’s future. Friday’s headliner, Luke Bryan, and Sunday’s festival, Jason Aldean, both return as main draws on this year’s list of 75 performers and DJs.
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For Combs, a musically comfortable middle ground between the conservative spirit of Chris Stapleton and the style-pushing modernity of Kane Brown, his two-vector placement is too big a promotion for just two.
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