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. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, 14 May 2012 @ 3:20pm

    The Celebrity Mentality

    A Priori, the odds against becoming a Rock Star, or a Movie Star, are about a hundred thousand or a million to one, much the same as the odds of those of becoming a Football Star, a Basketball Star, or Miss America, or winning millions of dollars in the state lottery. Nothing, but nothing, works consistently for ordinary schmucks. That is the nature of the lottery odds. The underclass tends to spend too much time fantasizing about these unattainable lotteries.

    I simply cannot imagine a teenager who is fairly good at math and science, better than nearly everybody at his school, worrying about whether or not he's going to get a Nobel Prize in Physics or Chemistry, or a Field Prize in Mathematics. What such a teenager is thinking about are achievable intermediate objectives, things like AP exams, and being allowed to take courses at the local college while still in high school, which have their own reward in terms of college admissions. Okay, so maybe you wind up as a mechanical engineer, instead of a theoretical physicist, but that has its own compensations. The whole notion of "star-ness" is defined by the immediate un-profitability of certain pursuits in the short run, the foreseeable future.

    For someone who is working behind the counter at McDonald's, ownership of a taco vending truck might or might not be an attainable goal. It depends on the local licensing regime.

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