REACH FOR THE STARS

Welcome to the weekly article looking at the current music industry, its challenges and overall why and how SHOUT4's RevShare model works so well for the independent music industry. Written by SHOUT4 Chairman, Ric Yerbury.

Any excuse to introduce Kanye West into the ‘place the lyrics’ competition is taken. The rest of that line is “Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud”. 

So much of the music industry is the management of expectations and I was reminded of this when reading an article at the weekend about Raye. A highly successful streaming artist that was released by Polydor. The main thrust of her interview was about the loss of control over her career and the continuing delays to the release of her album despite in her mind her own success and understanding of how her career should be directed. In her words “I’m angry, I’m raging.” 

What makes this slightly unusual is that the label did in fact release her from her contract. Far too often this is not an option or the release is so late that the artist struggles to pick up their career.

Why do I pick up on this now? Well, I am still being asked as to why I am opposed to the long-term assignment of rights, particularly at the start of an artist’s career or indeed their assignment at all. I am familiar with the argument surrounding risk and reward that is often given by labels and publishers as to why they take rights. However, this is actually an argument for the length of agreement not whether the rights should be assigned. 

I have spent quite a time on the question of an assignment before but in case you hadn’t heard it before and for one more time, there is no need. You can achieve the same financial return on the risk-reward spectrum through RevShare not an assignment.

SHOUT4

What stuck out for me with the Raye article was the fact that she had signed a long 4 album deal. Common in an era of vinyl and smoked-filled bars but entirely out of place now. The risk-reward argument is trotted out here again with the typical position that an artist does not achieve maturity as a revenue earner until the release of album 3 or 4. This might be sort of ok IF the label actually releases the product. This is quite apart from the fact that very often the artist is young and highly inexperienced commercially when they commit to this level of undertaking. Actually, this often proves a problem for both the artist and the label who often are left struggling to manage the changing expectations of an artist. (At this point I should point out that my co-founder signed to a major label a while back and waited 3 years for the album to be released so nothing much has changed). 

So what is the answer? Given that the artist is an evolving being and their art the same, the term of any agreement should be tempered and shortened whether RevShare or assignment. The lack of flexibility in the conventional record or publishing deal needs challenging, but so does what the reward for any investment made by them. Simply applying a factor of greed versus more socially acceptable levels would be a start. The silo thinking around individual revenue lines is both limiting but also does not reflect the changing face of the industry into which an artist is entering. They are creatives who generate multi-sided content which is disseminated across an increasingly diverse series of outlets and platforms. This is not just about selling a record or promoting a gig.

person playing brown and white acoustic guitars

My increasing interest is in addressing the risk-reward balance through the wider share of revenues over a contained period and considering a reducing share over a longer period. This would maintain incentive while spreading the risk and allowing the artists and their career ‘roadmap’ to change

An underlying requirement in all of this debate is education and a decent level of openness within the industry.  We will be announcing shortly the first of a series of partnerships within education as  SHOUT4 and its RevShare model offers the next generation of artists, managers, labels, and professionals a real alternative way of growing new talent.  More artists can prosper while making good returns for the team that supports them. In other words, this is far more about ensuring the models for the future properly reflect  a collective process than at times it seems to be at present

To sign off here is a reasonable couplet to offer from Mr. West:

“We are all here for a reason on a particular path

You don’t need a curriculum to know that you’re part of the math”

I guess we need to see if we can all make the ‘math’ all add up. More next time

#recordlabels #streaming #DCMS #livemusic #majors #musicindustry #music #entrepreneur #musicbusiness #contentcreator #musiclover #musicproducer #musicpromotion #independentartist #musicianlife #musicartist #musiclaw #independentartists #newmusicdealstoday #invest #technology  #money  #funding  #SHOUT4 #copyright  #retainyourrights #revshare

Ric Yerbury

Ric has a background in music as an artist, manager, label owner and promoter. He has combined this with a career away from music as CEO within SMEs and PLCs. As the architect of SHOUT4's Revshare model he is a strong advocate for artists retaining rights and providing legal and financial solutions to the DIY market which reflect the way the world is now and not the past.

Ready for the Revolution?

Let’s get your RevShare deal started now - protect your work, reward your team.