If I were a record label and you were an artist, would you marry me anyways, would you have my baby?
Connect the title of this post to Bobby Darin’s song “If I Were A Carpenter”.
This quick post is a fictitious letter from any random label to every artist on the roster. If you have read any of my prior posts, you know this is a theme I touch on frequently.
From: Any Random Record Label
To: All The Artists On Our Roster
August 24th, 2010
It’s been said that over a million songs a year are being uploaded to the Internet, and that number is growing. In addition, the number of new “artists” entering an already crowded marketplace is exploding. And as you all know, it’s not only hard to generate a return on investment when promoting artists and music, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to fight through the noise. The last thing music fans need right now is another PUMP; what fans do need and want…are FILTERS they can trust.
From this day forward, this label will cease to PUMP out anything and everything you create. Moreover this label will no longer support or promote artist websites and brands. This label is going to have one management team, one fundraising initiative, one website, one set of widgets, a unified scheduling page, one mobile app, one social stream, one streaming radio service and one voice.
For the purpose of this letter, all this aggregated activity and the associated services will be known as The Venture. Permanent branding decisions will be made over the coming weeks.
The Venture will only feature the best songs, videos, photos and fan contributions that are uploaded each month; while The Venture’s streaming radio and video podcast service (featuring attractive personalities) will also spin songs (with synergy) from other labels around the world.
Before you set fire to this letter, please note that the label is going to be sharing ownership in The Venture. Ownership and profit sharing will be based upon measurable popularity metrics such as traffic and co-branded merch sales; everything will be transparent; specifics will be forthcoming; and if you are ever unhappy with the arrangement, we will help you move your stuff elsewhere.
The goal of this initiative will be to create a unique music and lifestyle brand that music consumers can connect with in cities all over the world. Fans connecting through The Venture will find other humans that have overlapping tastes in music, as well as shared values, interests and desires. Our long term goal is to be recognized as a brand that has unparalleled social sway and social impact within our target niche.
Although you can continue to maintain your own online identity, understand this: artists, songs and Internet uploaders are like ants; they are everywhere now; crawling all over the face of the earth; and building your own brand today is akin to taking on the world as a standalone ant. The size and scale of the metaphor is that acute.
Our best advice is to thin down your internet presence and co-brand with The Venture. The network effect of all of us (talented ants) working together will be far more powerful than any of you working separately. This strategy is the best way to build a platform that’s capable of launching artists, songs, tours, and co-branded products and merchandise. This strategy is also essential to our survival.
As for revenue, there will be no advertisements on our website! In addition to music and live performances, the products and merchandise we promote and sell together will be deftly woven into the fabric of who and what we are. More details on this part of the program will also be forthcoming.
Finally, you have nothing to fear when it comes to losing your own identity. Your name and your songs, which are the essential components of your brand, will always travel with you regardless of the label you affiliate with or the website you are on; once you have reached celebrity status, you can’t even hide from fans; they go where you go! Peace.
Thank you for considering this urgent matter.
About Bruce Warila • on Twitter