- May 2021
Record labels are another endangered middleman. They have historically taken care of turning a song into a hit, in return for an ongoing share of revenues. But more and more artists are going it alone. More than 60,000 new songs are uploaded to Spotify every day, most by bedroom-based rockstars who can use new online services to handle the logistics themselves. UnitedMasters, a music-distribution platform which bills itself as “a record label in your pocket”, recently raised $50m in a venture-capital round led by Apple. Tools like Splice make recording easier. Companies like Fanjoy take care of merchandise.And financing is getting simpler. One startup, HIFI, helps artists manage their royalties, paying them regularly and fronting them small sums to make up shortfalls. Another, Karat, extends credit to creators based on their follower count. Helped by such services independent artists took home 5.1% of global recorded music revenues last year, up from 1.7% in 2015, calculates MIDiA Research, a consultancy. In the same period the share of the three largest record labels fell from 71.1% to 65.5%.
The same sort of dis-aggregation and disintermediation that has hit the publishing business is also taking place to newspapers, magazines, and music.
The question is how to best put the pieces of the pie together in the best way possible. There's probably room for talented producers to put these together to better leverage the artists' work.