The music industry is not your friend, but should you be worried?
For the fourth time in recent weeks, Philip was talking about the recording studio that had just opened shop in his neighborhood. I needed to see how fresh it was he said, a well structured and fully equipped studio.
He would normally hang out at the studio with other guys from the hood and they’d have freestyle sessions. After further revelations, I became curious and thought to check it out for myself. Perhaps, I’ll be impressed.
So, here I am in this fully air conditioned studio with my friend and a couple of guys. Philip wasn’t wrong about the studio being fresh, I’m really feeling quite at home. Two of the other guys have stood up to showcase their Rapping abilities to the unending supply of Instrumentals. I’m not gonna say if they can rap or not but the rate at which these two are throwing out words, they’d probably finish a Mixtape in half a day.
So why aren’t they in the booth right now recording these songs? Why are they freestyling instead of making music?!
You see the management of this setup don’t really “see” these guys showcasing their talent, what’s in their interest is if one of them can pay for the total package. That includes beat production, recording a track and sometimes at extra cost, promotion of that one song. If that requirement is not met, I’m sorry but all that freestyling doesn’t end up as mp3.
In the mind of one of the Rappers, he sees the free time he gets at the studio everyday to hang out as an opportunity to get discovered. He only has to raise money to record that one hit song, which in his mind would catapult him to instant fame. Perhaps, he comes across this money and pays the management for its package. The result is he has one song he must then begin promoting on the blogs, distribute to Djs to play at the clubs, push for radio airplay because logic says the song with the most radio airplay is a hit. So you have Artists coming to the lunch hour shows on radio to promote singles and you hear mind-boggling conversations like this.
“Your song via all the “promotion” has gained momentum and it’s being played on the radio, in the clubs and you finally have a Hit Song on the airwaves. Now you’re a ‘superstar’ How fantastic is that?”
“Quite fantastic I must say cause I now get called to perform my Hit song at events and you know life’s good and ……….. ”
This new artist becomes the one with the Hit Song that’s being played on the radio and you, well your song is old now so what do you do?
Rinse and Repeat. The vicious cycle called the Music Industry feeds itself. You go back to the studio and all that money made performing your Hit single at shows gets re-invested in trying to replicate your initial success. You now run a race of trial and error trying to get that one Hit Single that will pay for all the other songs you paid to record but amounted to nothing.
A man keeps buying Lottery Tickets because he is in the illusion that one day he’ll get lucky, strike it big and all his past “efforts” will be rewarded. In the Music Industry, this illusion has being stretched further it’s perhaps the most blinding in our society today.
Record Labels have Artists who are “signed” under them. Artists with special privileges like marketing teams and all that. They also put a price on the creativity of artists who are signed to the label and given the job title “Music Producers” to make the price of instrumentals uniform in the industry. Wonder why as a “Music Producer” your beats can’t cost more than the other guy making beats at the end of the street?
Record Labels also sell studio time to other unsigned artists who want to break into the industry. Perhaps after investing in the business you have an arsenal of Hit Songs they might recognize your talent and offer you a contract signing you into the label where you are further under their control. The money generated from the sale of the total package to the unsigned is “invested” in the signed artiste while the unsigned keeps looking up and paying to get signed. An unending cycle.
In conclusion, the music industry is rich, while we have Artists who are filing for bankruptcy. The Music Industry never goes broke, after all there’s no shortage of Artists who want to breakout so there’s enough for it to feed itself using this simple Lottery System.