What does the record label of the future look like?
The music industry has undergone massive changes in the last decade. Here at Music 4.5, we’ve focused extensively on the role of streaming services in this metamorphosis – the playlists that elevate their popularity, the so-called ‘value gap’ between revenue and royalties, the process of enticing consumers to pay for subscription services, the reams of data that have yet to be tapped, and the licensing that underpins reporting.
All of these seminars have explored themes of adaptation, disruptive use of technology, and a general willingness to bend.
But what about record labels?
Far from being immune to the changing landscape or able to rest on laurels made of streaming revenues, labels are also adapting to changing consumer patterns and expectations. But how else might labels innovate in order to continue to attract, retain, and nurture talent?
Theories abound, as do practical examples of labels that have already changed tact.
Label as streaming service?
For the former, from the school of if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em, some analysts have suggested that labels start their own streaming services, or at the very least switch to digital content only and reduce the printing costs of CDs.
However, such move might be several years in the making. In the meantime, labels – both big and independent – could continue and extend the trend of releasing music exclusively to a particular streaming service, either free or paid.
Diversification comes up repeatedly, whether it’s branding, events, or culture. According to Forbes, artists and labels should and will continue to tap into the array of technological assets for music “marketing, distribution…monetisation and ownership.”
Artist-owned labels are increasing in number, and last year Jay-Z gave us an artist-owned streaming service. But some predict an increase in the trend of labels letting artist have free reign over things previously dictated, such as “personal brand” and “music style,” writes ATX On Record. “Instead of discovering new artists and molding them into what the record label thinks will make a good musical persona,” it says, “they are portraying more artist control.”
But which labels are already innovating? How are the services tracking, chasing, collecting and managing the rightsholder money developing and changing? Are the DSP’s potentially a new type of record label format?
Music 4.5 The Record Label of the Future will explore how record labels are transforming and changing to stay on the cutting edge of the ever-changing music industry. We will dissect the changing relationship between artist and label in an era of self-promotion and self-production. We will take an in-depth look at which labels are ahead of this curve and already innovating, and what is already working for DIY artists and labels, indie labels and the major labels.
Join us on the afternoon of 23 February 2017 at the offices of Lewis Silkin, 5 Chancery Lane, London, EC4A 1BL. View the full agenda and book your tickets here.