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), 14 May 2012 @ 10:53pm

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

    It is now possible to "make it" - or at least make a living - without having to deal with that cabal. And that deserves to be trumpeted.

    That's what I don't think people who haven't been a part of that music culture don't understand. I've been around unsigned musicians for 30 years. The ones selling their own cassettes and CDs at shows were "making it" as much (or even more) than those who are "making it" now without a label. People who have only known the music business since the Internet days are assuming that the Internet has transformed life for DIY artists. The ones raving about their great success now tend to either be those who used to be signed and are now keeping more of the money, or those who have only known life as a DIY musician in the Internet age and don't know what it was like pre-Internet. Some of what they think is new is the same thing unsigned musicians have always done. People have played gigs and made money from gigs for as long as there have been gigs. Artists who couldn't get radio play still found ways to find fans. It was done even before the Internet.

    What I am saying is that there has always been a vast subculture of music that wasn't associated with a label. And the Internet hasn't changed things that much. There are more people who "feel" famous because they get a lot of people checking them out on YouTube, so yes, there are more people who are famous in their own minds. But in terms of making a living at this, I'd say that hasn't changed that much. The conversion rate from being seen/heard online and actually sales isn't all that great.

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