The New Deal: Band as Brand

Jeff Leeds from the New York Times reports on “a new type of business relationship based on labels looking past the latest CD sales figures”.

My concern here–and it’s a point the the article makes–is that major record labels are ill equipped and inexperienced to handle an artist’s business beyond music sales, marketing and PR and music video production. As record labels based their business on tomorrow’s chart numbers, managers and artists realize the labels may not have their best interests at heart. In my experience, when a label is approached by a brand to work their products into a music video, the label is seeking to meet some bottom line, quarterly number. On the other hand, manager’s take great care to discuss the appropriate brand partnerships with their artists.

I’m dealing with one manager now who is taking a serious look at a brand we’ve introduced through StarStyle. The first response from that manager was not how much money is the brand offering, but is this brand a fit for my artist? When I approached a few labels, the first question was not as much about the brand’s philosophy as much as it was about the brand’s look and which artist could they quickly partner with to close a deal.

Although it remains to be seen which business model is the right one for the future, what we do know is that we continue to see the power slip from a major labels fingers and into the hand’s of management, who generally have the artist’s best interests at heart. For, a manager’s success depends on how long he can keep his artist visible over the long term. The measure of success isn’t how many albums an artist sold last week, but how long their career has been active.

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