Peter Hollens is a YouTube star who emerged out of the a capella scene to build a careeer of his own based largely on posting cover songs to YouTube in which all the sounds you hear are produced "using only the human voice and mouth." This may just sound like a novelty act but the vocal backgrounds give a fullness to the songs that take them beyond what you might expect. In any case, he's built his own lane using YouTube, Loudr and Patreon and now he's got a record contract with Sony Music Masterworks and a debut album due in late October.
I'm rather late to this news but I think Peter Hollens is worth paying attention to. He's developed a consistent approach to music that would probably have not gotten him signed taking a traditional route. He focused on building a direction connection with his audience and now he's got a major label deal.
In terms of indie careers, he was already doing quite well with a stronghold on YouTube, support on Patreon and sales through Loudr. He's on Spotify, iTunes and other places as well but YouTube, Loudr and Patreon are key tools of his trade.
Lord of the Rings - Gollum's Song - Peter Hollens
Last week Sony Music Masterworks announced their deal with Hollens. His album is due October 28th on the Portrait Records imprint.
You can learn some of Hollens' story via Wikipedia or at least get an outline of some events along the way.
I spoke with Hollens last year about working with Loudr which was developed by folks he knows in the a capella scene.
Though Hollens doesn't relate the same tale of industry rejection shared by Lindsey Stirling, I do think their stories relate beyond their own professional connection in that they each took very individual approaches to building their acts and established their own lanes. In both cases that's led to major label deals but that was their choice. They could have built totally indie careers if they wished.
And there it is. These days the same things you need to do to make it on your own are closely related to the things you need to do to get a major label contract. Make your work and build your audience. Then you'll have something solid that's more than a demo and a prayer that you'll be the one in a million that someone else will decide can have a career.
- Making YouTube Central To Your Music Career
- Loudr's Cover Song Licensing and Sales Platform Opens To New Signups For VidCon Relaunch
- Lindsey Stirling Finds Her Audience Via YouTube After Total Industry Rejection