Convergence In Music Industry as Managers Become Labels, Distributors Become Marketers and More

4In this piece, Jake Udell reflects on the how music companies are increasingly converging to become the same thing as they try to wear a growing number of hats in an effort to remain relevant in a rapidly changing industry.


Guest post by Jake Udell of Art of Manager

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed a convergence amongst music companies and their suite of artists services, especially between managers and labels.

This trend was summed up perfectly by Tim Ingham in an article for Rolling Stone published at the end of last week – Every Music Company is Morphing into the Same Thing:

Streaming services are becoming distributors and, in some cases, record labels. Record labels are becoming streaming services and, in some cases, talent management companies. Talent managemenmst companies are becoming record labels, while distributors are having a go at becoming managers. (All of these companies, it appears, also want to become video and/or podcast production houses, but that’s a topic for another article.)

This movement stems from certain parties desiring to partake in another segment of the industry’s revenue stream – Labels want the tech money aka to become streaming services, while managers and labels want copyright ownership, or at least a bigger share of the pie. Not coincidentally, artists, more than ever, are craving independence. They have more access to information and tools to create their own destiny than ever before.

6As more and more artists are becoming multi-hyphenates (fashion designers, label owners, etc.), industry executives are stretching themselves as well to offer deals based on the artist’s needs and availability (i.e. if an artist has a manager already, let’s become the label).

Managers are usually a bit more hands on with an artist’s direct needs and touring activities… Labels tend to be slightly more focused on the records themselves (i.e. radio and streaming). However, these groups are often tag teaming on key initiatives more than ever, rather than segmenting responsibility as they used to. And many of the individuals at these companies can easily interchange roles (and at times do).

What this means for the industry is to be seen… However, one thing is for certain: there are no rules. You can be whoever you want to be and get as much for your services as anybody is willing to pay… But the competition for any role is fierce… And coming from all sides.

More than ever, you must create added value if you want to be a recipient of it.

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