Once upon a time the music business was based on connections. It was too expensive for an individual to do artist development, quality recording, pro mixing & mastering, reproduction, distribution, street promo, radio promo, consumer marketing, etc. that was 40-50 years ago. Back then, talent finders kept their contacts secret and charged a hefty percentage of ownership to be “plugged into” the system. Artists almost always got raped on sales back then. Knowledge wasn’t shared at all.
As technology improved, the cost to create & record the music dropped exponentially. This was around 30 years ago when rap first started to bloom. Back then a solid contact with an A&R could make you into a superstar (who gets raped by a major label). As the 90s came around savvy drug dealers “bought” their way into the industry by spending large amounts of money to compete with the major labels or pay off A&Rs to “walk them thru” to the majors. A lot of these guys gained local followings and were eventually awarded record deals. Others paid their way in. Many got raped financially due to a lack of knowledge.
Over the last 10+ years the cost of recording has continued to drop. Major changes in the way that music is listened to & spread has led to a lower bar of entry for artists. The prestige and power of the A&R has faded and artists are signed based more on the fanbase they’ve built & monetized than their talent. But most importantly, knowledge of how business is properly conducted is freely accessible online.
My point is that the idea that an A&R can save u is a 70s & 80s concept. The idea of “shopping a deal” is a 90s concept. The entire “gatekeeper mentality” where certain people decide who gets to make money & who doesn’t is outdated by at least 20 years. And the practice of withholding knowledge from the masses is also a dated concept.
The 21st century is a time for collaboration and collective work. The knowledge is available to everyone. What’s required is a set of relationships with people that are willing to work together to reach common goals.
I’m saying all this to help whoever doesn’t understand or is stuck on the old ways that things were done. There’s no future in overcharging artists for useless services. Today’s services have to be inclusive & educational to investors & artists. Collaboration is key in these days & times. It makes prices for services more affordable and the services themselves more effective.
Learn to work well with others. It’s the only way to succeed in today’s entertainment industry.
Tony Guidry is Senior Marketing Manager for A Scratchy Throat. A Scratchy Throat – the brainchild of music industry mainstay Wendy Day – provides professional social media marketing specifically designed for today’s aspiring artists. Tony is also owner of Authentic Artists Alliance and exclusive booking contact for Trouble (Duct Tape Ent/2 Tru Ent), O.Z. Mr. 28 Grams (Fratt Boi Muzic Group) and Racked Up Ready (Bow Ent). For digital marketing services or booking inquiries email: OGTonyG@gmail.com or Tony@aScratchyThroat.com