Wanna take a guess what a record label CEO gets paid?

Wanna take a guess what a record label CEO gets paid?

How much time have you spent studying the alternatives? I mean, a good, solid five minutes on Google should be enough to demonstrate beyond any reasonable doubt that the self-released recording, and independent record label are both alive and well.

Not bizzarre at all. I don’t have to interview the CEO of Blackmagic to see they’re going after Avid, or the CEO of Activision to have known they were going to buy Vivendi. Seems silly that you think that’s whats required. And its common sense that challenge anyone in any market you have to know something about the company you’re competing with and the overall market landscape.

So said a lot of billionaires before their millionaire competitors went to town exploiting their weaknesses.

…if I managed to pull off a company like that I’d sell it and be pretty happy. Thats about all I would ever hope to pull off. And I don’t know if I’d care about much more. The point is that people build a 10 or 11-digit net worth by not stopping at 9. And if there’s a billionaire standing in their way, they figure out how to remove him.

Thats useless. To find labels that are earning anything decent you don’t google ‘independent record label’ on the internet. Apparently you’ve never tried it because you would know you can’t access their financials this way. You locate them through their parent companies by their keyword searching the securities exchange filings in the EDGAR databases so you can access the records of their parent companies. Once you have their 10-K forms and their annual reports, you can isolate any portion of the financial structure related to music and sales within the quarterly journals. You can also poach them off the Mediabase data charts, but the general public does not have access to this system, and most people who are not in entertainment and talent management can not afford the admission price to look at it.

You seem to be obsessed with financial accounts.
You challenged that the major labels cannot be bypassed. The point that has been made is that they can be - and are being - bypassed. You can wave as many accounts in the air as you like, it won’t change that fact.

It may be true that only the major labels can cope with the investment required for a major global signing, but nobody cares about that because it concerns virtually nobody. You have more chance of winning the lottery than landing a multi bazillion dollar deal. It’s the same in all entertainment - sport, movies, TV etc. Only the chosen few succeed. Nobody really has expectations of ‘making it’ - it’s just unrealistic.

But there are plenty of other opportunities. The point that is being made, and one which you seem to have a problem acknowledging, is that the record labels, by and large, are no longer required for those opportunities. Even a minor pressing of a few thousand units more often than not required the involvement of a label as recently as twenty years ago, whereas now it can be done without them. So we are bypassing them.

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No kidding. I want to know who is making MONEY.

And its not just the account. I want their business models and their growth plans.

A few thousand units??? really?? Then bypass away. No contest to that statement.

I haven’t spent any time studying it. You shouldn’t study a label to determine if you can bypass them or not. You should study the music industry. Chance the rapper just won a grammy while being conpletely independent. His 1st album(it might have been a mixtape I forget) had no physical distribution and sold 1 million copies. He still doesn’t have a label and is able to make music videos, appear on TV, win major awards, etc. Of course when he started he couldn’t do all those things, but he wasn’t some rich kid with millions of dollars to throw into music.

If you want to argue that its harder to be independent, I agree. However stating that you can’t become a major artist without a label is 100% false. I just gave you 1 example, so obviously it isn’t impossible. Major labels can’t guarantee success and being independent won’t stop you from becoming big. In the future every artist will have to choose which road they want to take where are before, the was no real choice. The fact that there is competition now is going to be a major problem for record labels.

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Don’t know if you guys outside the UK will be able to listen to this … stick a vpn on your link and say you’re in the UK and you will.

Heard part 1 live. Interesting opinions and some facts re how the recording industry works.

I liked the guy who says he realised artists get 10, 11, 12% of the take while record companies got 90, 89 or 88%.

Says it all.


As Chandler has illustrated, it is possible now to succeed - on any scale - without a label. But I don’t think this posssibility spells the end of labels, it just opens up more options and opportunities for artists.

Labels take the financial investment risks that no other entity wants to touch. Aside from that, the main driver of the continuance of labels is the artists themselves. They want to be signed by record companies. They want the kudos and the credibility that a deal provides, as well as the access to gigs and the publicity.

From a practical point of view, although it is technically easy to self-release, the amount of work involved is huge, and to make a success of it, the artists need people to help. If you’re going to draft in people to help, the best option is draft in those who know what they are doing - i.e., record labels.

But if you can’t get that deal, many of the benefits of a record company are within reach through other means. I think that all current methods and processes will continue to live side by side in peace.

Now you’re contradicting yourself. You said 2k units and called that success. Now you say ‘any’ level?

Then you cited one single guy (as in less than .1%) who sold 1m but said that the .1% of success through traditional avenues doesn’t apply to anyone. So why does this? If you really want to look at percentages, the percentages of artists who hit certified platinum status through traditional means are still much greater.

So which is it?

I don’t contest the possibility for a

That was not the statement. It was that an independent artists does not yet have the ability to achieve the equivalent success. The statement was NOT that independent artists do not have any resources to achieve any success at all.

[quote=“Chandler, post:25, topic:1250”]
Major labels can’t guarantee success [/quote]

I never said that it did. While true at literal face value, I don’t see the relevance. Nothing can guarantee success in anything, including controlling an independent career. While we both probably agree that no success is guaranteed, the likelihood of a successful venture increase as your funding increases, and as investors with a high level of executional expertise in your field partner with you.

Right now, in this industry as it stands today, it limits your growth potential. Chance the rappers success in and of itself is sufficient to debunk the notion that you can’t win a grammy without a major. I’ll give it that. In the entire scope of the industry, he has a long way to go before his success achieves the scale of ‘big’ which major labels are capable of. He’s half way there, but he’s not there yet.

Ps… You know how the Grammys work. Right? Why do you think the labels allowed Chance the Rapper to receive the nominations and actually win?

Do you actually read these posts or do you just pick out the words that you like and derive your own meaning from them?

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I have nothing against being a self-made entrepreneur. I realize that in a free enterprise economy, the potential exists to grow a business into billion dollar corporation.

“Those opportunities”? Yes, I acknowledge that SOME alternative opportunities exist on a smaller scale. Yes, I acknowledge the future potential for circumventing the major labels. Actual non-hypothetical and working models which are yielding the same outcomes? …no they do not exist at this time.

Not hardly. V V V

An example of something you can do to ‘bypass’ label right?


Are you talking about any success and opportunity on any scale? Then success on the level of the majors is part of the scale. Unless you want to rig the scale then base the argument on that. Especially when you want to talk about doing it without ‘them’. You’re saying ‘them’ (as in big label), then ignore what ‘them’ does.

If you are talking about relatively small independent success that is NOT comparable to what the majors do, then I have not asserted anything contrary.

Look, the premise was that an independent can do the SAME THING. ~THAT~ is where the BS meter peaks out and says ‘fail’. Chance the Rapper (as Chandler mentioned) does not demonstrate that big industry (as in top) level success is possible as an independent. It demonstrates that some guys made it half way there, and has made it further than anyone else.

Can you not see the problem in the logic? You just took the top of the success ladder in the independent market then weighed it against the middle of the latter of the big label market. But then said “LOOK! IT’S THE SAME THING!”.

This argument about scale makes no sense. Why would anyone care about scale? My guess is that most musicians care more about making more money rather than having more album sales. Selling 5 million albums and making $100,000 isn’t better than selling 100,000 and making $1 million.

Also you said that Chance the rapper is only the .1% of no label artist, which is true, but how many major label artist are really selling multi-platinum. 1%?

Also please define top level success? Is it total sales, notoriety, money? The premise isn’t that an independent can do the same thing as a label, the premise is, in the future major labels will lose money because artist will realize they don’t need them to become successful.

[quote=“Chandler, post:32, topic:1250”]
This argument about scale makes no sense. Why would anyone care about scale? [/quote]

Because if you’re comparing apple to apple, you have to make sure you’re actually looking at two apples. Not an apple and an orange. Were we not comparing the most successful indie artist (top elite of this group) to the most successful signed artist (the top elite of that group)? Then you need to use the same criteria. If you want to look only the absolute top rung of the indie ladder, you have to also only look at the top rung of the signed artist ladder. Its a false comparison if you only compare the overall success of the MOST successful indie artist to the MODERATELY successful signed artists.

You took two contrasting models (signed vs independent). Then (what I thought you had said was) an artist can attain EQUAL success on either model, thus there wasn’t a need for the signed model. Then it seemed you had supplemented the premise by asserting that they can do anything the major label can. I said that’s buffoonery. You rebutted that Chance has achieved the same level of success independently and therefore I’m incorrect. No. Not even close. Chance (the top 1% of the indie artist) hasn’t gotten anywhere near the same top 1% of signed label success. Thus he has NOT accomplished ‘doing what a major label can do’ on his own. He might get there someday. Good for him. But he’s not there yet.

Also you said that Chance the rapper is only the .1% of no label artist, which is true, but how many major label artist are really selling multi-platinum. 1%? [/quote]

Woah, WTF?! haha. I guess if Chance is a hypothetical .1%, then 1% (of signed artists) implies would have existed at least 10 multi-platinum artists in the year of 2016, since the difference of .1% and 1% is x10. Since that is correct, I guess the answer ‘yes’, whatever that happens to mean???

By the way, Chance isn’t multi-platinum. He’s single platinum.

Ah. So now we have some clarification of the premise - and you drew a conclusion from it.

Artists do not need a label to become successful.
Artists will realize they do not need a label to become successful.
[presupposing] The monetary success of a label depends on the artists ignorance of this.
Therefore: in the future labels will loose money.

Welp. That’s interesting.

I said “In the future fewer artist will use record labels because they can be successful without them”. You are the one that started talking about not being able to achieve the same success as major label artist. I gave you an example of someone that has and you said that’s not the same level. I don’t know what your definition of major label success is? You haven’t defined it and you seem to be shifting your arguments around.

I’ll state things more clearly, so you can understand. In the future more artists will choose to be independent because being independent won’t stop you from making millions of dollars with your music. Many artist will realize they can make more money and have more success being independent than being on a label, so they won’t sign to major labels. This will cause major labels to lose money.

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Growth strategies???

Aargh!! I think I’m lost. Are you guys sure this is a music forum???

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[quote=“Chandler, post:34, topic:1250”]
I said “In the future fewer artist will use record labels because they can be successful without them”. You are the one that started talking about not being able to achieve the same success as major label artist. I gave you an example of someone that has and you said that’s not the same level. I don’t know what your definition of major label success is? You haven’t defined it and you seem to be shifting your arguments around. [/quote]

I was shifting my arguments because I had misunderstood what you were saying at first. But you clarified it. My personal opinion on how major success is defined was actually irrelevant to the previous discussion, in the previous context. Because the relative level of that success (which I had first taken was the basis) was easily weighed against the numbers in both the independent vs traditional models. I didn’t need to define it because you already had. All that was needed to show that there are careers much bigger than Chance’s.

If you want my definition of artists success anyway, I’ll toss it on the table. I would probably look at income year-to-date of the entire corporation, longevity of the product lines respective to competitors, the longevity of publishing catalog since date of creation, and capital gains on the owner equity. I think that’s fair. That should even the playing field, so that artists with large OE in their balance columns are regarded as successful vs artists that are showing a high levels of activity in cashflow, but only because their P&L is rammed up at the moment. [added]: A dormant PL (from an artist on hiatus) does not send the artist back to zero if gains are consolidated and secured, which will show in the artists OE.

A valuation system that is construed along these criteria would account for old vs new artists, signed vs independent artists, and accurately reflect the current standing of someones overall success. Here’s the mistake I think people make when they don’t think this through: When you google someones personal net worth, or roll with the opinion of Forbes or Entertainment Weekly, it doesn’t account for the money they blew on stupid shit. Its a reflection of their personal finances, not necessarily a reflection of the value of their company and brand.

The valuation of a company based on intangible assets (intellectual property) is difficult. The placing a monetary figure on someones name (like Donald Trump who merely has to license his name), is difficult. Some artists, that’s all they even have. And its much more subjective than placing a value on a known name brand (like Taylor or Martin Guitars), who have physical assets, brick and mortar facilities, distribution, physical product sales, and clean books.

Thats my definition for now. So AT WHAT POINT is an artist successful? I don’t care. I’m frankly more concerned with measuring it consistently than I am attempting to define the threshold begins at.

Yes, I understand that clearly now, as you had stated previously.

Eh man. The forum doesn’t have a dedicated music business section at the moment (though its being considered). So people are parking these threads in different categories than you might expect.

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That’s cool. It’s an interesting debate from what I can understand.

I see you coming at it from a company angle rather than an individual artist angle and that’s fine. For me if someone can make more than the average person doing music that is a success. My guess is that everyone who is involved in music does it because they love music and not because they just want a pay check. I’m guessing a lot of other workers can’t say that.

There is a long history of artist complaining about record labels and even record labels stealing from artists. Of course being independent has its own struggles, but now people have a choice. That choice isn’t particularly good for record labels, but for artists it is. Especially artist that won’t be able to ever become multi-platinum sellers. Personally I love jazz fusion, but I doubt any fusion artist will be able to sell 1 million albums in 2017. However now they could produce an album themselves and if they can keep most of the profits for themselves they could make a reasonable amount of money. If they can make $10 per album and sell 10,000 copies, that’s $100,000, which I think most fusion artists would be happy with. I think this will help artist on the long tail more than artist that are trying to become the next Micheal Jackson.

Thats fair. Though I don’t see much of a difference between an artist (who is a company) and a label (who is also a company) and an artist who acts as their own label (which is still a company). The function and purpose of the companies are obviously different, but at the end of the day, the same broad categories of numbers all end up on the ledger regardless. But I do agree with the part you said about loving music. I haven’t met too many factory workers or nurses that can say they love their jobs as much as successful musicians can say they love theirs.

Looking at the overall scope of the conversation I’ll agree with the this now. I’d say they always had a choice, but the independent path is more viable now that it was 40 years ago.

Ironically, the one way this will actually be good for the labels is that it will force them to (as Jack Welsh says) ‘get better or get beat’. So really, what it could be bad for is the old label model. The effectiveness of the new label models (integrated media, big data, and catalog based) remains to be seen.

Why aren’t the major labels pivoting toward the direction of these highly profitable startup labels? Rule of nature: Things that are very very big often lack agility. Second, they don’t necessarily need to. A company that sells $5b a year, and only has 2 other competitors, can keep doing what its doing even in light of a shrinking market. The companies all shrunk between 2005 and 2014. But since 2014, they are growing again. Selling more records, signing more artists, and for the first time in 11 years, (as of 2016) two of the three have showed a year end profit.

One more thing: I think this mindie fad will ware off. Mindie is the industry way of mocking artists that pretend they’re independent but are really backed by major labels. Thus they capitalize on the public hype of being ‘independent’ (which is hip at the moment), but only to the fanbase that is too ignorant to decipher the facts. What’s cool about the fully independent artist (in some peoples eyes) is they represent a rebellion against the money grubbing ‘music industry’. Right? Well, at some point, ‘sticking it to the boss’ and rejecting big industry may become so common that its nothing special. Then what? lol.