Musicians Realizing They Don't Need Major Labels Anymore

from the hello,-kickstarter dept

Music reality TV has become a key feeding ground for the major labels lately. Shows like American Idol, the Voice, X Factor and the like seem to be where the labels have been picking up some of their bigger name stars lately -- allowing the shows to help build up an initial following and then picking off the stars with typical record label deals. Except... it appears that some of those musicians are realizing that they don't need the labels any more. Jordis Unga, a singer who has appeared on two reality TV shows (Rock Star: INXS and The Voice), has decided that she doesn't need to sign a label deal. While she didn't win on either show, she did build up quite a following, and she decided that for her debut album, she might as well just hit up Kickstarter, and ask for $33,000. Which she got. In less than a day. In the first day alone her project on Kickstarter raised over $50,000.

Now, perhaps some will complain that she is now beholden to her fans, but that seems a lot better than being beholden to a multinational conglomerate who claims all ownership and control of your work. Others, quite reasonably, will point out that she built up some of this following by being on two prime time network national TV shows. That's absolutely true. No one is saying that the trick to being a successful musician today is to just go on reality TV. But the point is that if you can build up a following -- in any way possible -- the need for a record label diminishes. And there are more and more and more ways to build up that audience today. If the labels aren't worried about these alternatives, they're not paying very much attention.

Filed Under: american idol, jordis unga, reality tv, the voice, x factor
Companies: kickstarter


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  1. icon
    Suzanne Lainson (profile), 15 May 2012 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Celebrity Mentality

    We're probably seeing different realities. I know that email has made it a lot easier to contact fans. No more sending out show calendars via postcard. And now you can reach club bookers via email, which can be faster than phone. But sometimes it still works better to contact them by phone or in person and sometimes a physical press kit still works better than an EPK.

    As for gigs, I think it depends. I live in a college town and it used to be that every fraternity party hired a live band. Now it's a DJ. That has nothing to do with the Internet, but a major source of paid gigs dried up. Similarly, lots of clubs switched from live music to DJs or karaoke.

    There have been a number of paid gigs from corporations and cities hiring entertainment, and now that so many bands are competing for those jobs, the going rate has gone down. Weddings that used to hire bands now often hire DJs instead. Schools are cutting back on arts programs, so I would expect the demand for music teachers has declined (not sure how it has been for private lessons, though if you don't play in a school band, you might not be taking those lessons on the side).

    Technology has lowered the barrier of entry for musicians, which is good, but the majority will not make a living at this and they should understand that.

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