Indie Music

How Artist Development Is Dismantling Music Stereotypes

In this piece, we delve into how the newly reorganized rock/alternative label Better Noise Music is working against industry stereotypes to develop a diverse roster of artists.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

Better Noise Music is developing a powerful roster of diverse musicians who are taking the world of rock by storm.

On the heels of the 2020 Grammys, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs said that the lack of diversity in the music business is “not a revelation.“ 

In a music industry that continues to stereotype artists, there are exceptions. Better Noise Music, home to Top 10 Active Rock artists Bad Wolves, Fire From The Gods, Mongolian rock band The Hu and Just Loud, have developed one of the most diverse groups of artists to ever reach Top 10 simultaneously.  With the support of major radio partners like iHeart, and Cumulus, the label is able to bring their roster to ever-expanding audiences.  “With the support of these radio platforms, we have been able to diversify rock.  There are many other genres that need to take this lesson, whether Country, Alternative, Rock or Pop.  The more diverse the music, the more your audience will engage,” said Allen Kovac, CEO of Better Noise Music.

Better Noise Music COO, Steve Kline, added “It is our label’s mission to evolve not just sonically, but to also move forward culturally.  As she leads the industry in rock radio market share, Jackie Kajzer (SVP Promotion) embodies these critical elements when partnering with radio to develop a broad range of artists telling their unique stories and engaging listeners.”

In the world of rock music, a genre whose “whiteness” belies its black music origins, some of the fastest-rising artists reflect a new sonic and racial diversity.  Fronted by Tommy Vext, Bad Wolves has dominated the Rock radio charts since their inception, with the band’s first four singles shooting to #1 at the format. 

SiriusXM/Pandora’s only Rock genre Artist to Watch for 2020, Fire From The Gods serves up music with a message of unity.  Lead singer AJ Channer, who was born in the Bronx and moved to Ghana as a kid, says “With this record what we’re trying to drive home is that our differences and where we are from doesn’t need to define who we are moving forward.”

Not only does the label take great pride in these artists, so do their contemporaries.  William DuVall of Alice In Chains sums it up well saying “I’m very happy for the success of Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods. Tommy Vext and AJ Channer have such unique and interesting stories to tell. That’s what playing music is about: getting to tell your story, being seen so that you can hopefully make other people feel seen. For that, we need diversity in the landscape. It’s essential.”  DuVall, Vext and Channer represent a type of success that is not ‘traditional’ or ‘expected’ and is certainly not “urban.”

Want even more Bad Wolves content? Here are lessons every artist should learn from the band’s tireless work ethic:

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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