To share or not to share?

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.

Time was when doing the decent thing in business was seen as a wild aspiration at best or perhaps a sign of weakness. Now thankfully we live for the main part in more enlightened times, or at least are paying lip service to it!

I know that some feel we are still a bit in retro land with certain aspects of the music industry but regardless, the increasing number of artists wanting to retain their rights demands a better and more appropriate way of conducting business. This is driven on by the massive developments in technology including the way people consume music and the opportunity for artists to take their music to market via the likes of Distrokid, Tunecore and CD baby for minimal cost. Through the introduction of ‘splits’ this now means you can create your music and send it to market (digitally), get paid and share payments to all parties without leaving the platform. Of course simply launching music into the ether to a wider public without any quality control (producers etc), logistical support (label services/management) and visibility (PR/Marketing etc) is likely to limit its success. So the artist needs teams, people who make a difference and provide key services to help them. Trick is to get these people on board more as investors rather than simply taking a fee with little care for the result.

As you may have read in my previous article, I am a strong advocate of artists retaining their rights. There is no need for them to be assigned. Clearly if someone is offered life changing money to do so, they might think otherwise but I recommend they check the true price to be paid before accepting.

The flip side of this is that you can not expect people to work for little reward if you go on to make a good return from collective efforts unless they have been paid well at the beginning (expensive and potentially difficult to finance at an early stage) or are cut into future earnings. So yes in answer to my original question, it is a good thing to share!

If sharing, not assigning, is seen to be good, then what happens next? Well the artist, manager, label or other professional has to decide what they want to share, how much and how long for. This is potentially a key point in the process. Thinking like a traditional deal would mean sharing revenues linked to songs, so an amount of tracks, such as an EP or an album etc. 

However it really doesn’t need to be this way. An artist generates revenues from a number of sources so why not share revenues for a set period of time instead? So instead of a royalty on track 1,2 & 5, replace that with a percentage share across net revenues derived from a recording for a shorter period of time. Include a share of publishing, live, merchandise etc. 

By making it interesting for people to work with the artist, you can increase the incentive to build the right team and if they hit out the park, everyone wins! (SHOUT4 will be moving to this as its default position. You will still be able to do the traditional project related share deal but user feedback tells us that this is possibly part of the past not the future). 

To conclude, share some of your future to reward fairly those who ‘invest’ in you by forgoing some, not all, of their normal upfront charges and please don’t give your heritage away for too little true upfront gain.

Until next time when we will be ‘Back on the Blockchain Gang’

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.

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