by Richard Rogers, Ncompass Music/Silverscope Records
New post in the A&R Topics group on Music2Deal
This week I spoke to a couple of A&R colleagues and I asked them what they felt was one of the biggest changes in the last ten years. The answer was tie-ins, link ups and more marketing deals than ever before but cross merging from music into other creative areas rather than selling packets of crisps a la SpiceGirls. So artists have gone for more kudos and collaborated in areas such as art, photography, installations, sculpture, film making etc. Basically music is working in tandem with other art forms. Why?
Because the amount of money has dropped significantly from selling music only. The physical formats are making a pittance in the short and long run and obviously the world and his wife have been downloading a majority of music for free particularly these last ten years. Therefore artists such as Coldplay, Kate Bush, David Sylvian have led the way for UK artists by working with other creative artists to form a different revenue stream. Recently Lady Ga Ga and famous artist Jeff Koons have worked together on her Artrave evening where a statue was unveiled of her by Koons.for her Artpop album. Jay Z worked with Serbian Marina Abramovic on her instillation of ‘the artist is present’.
By working with an artist in another creative field you are addressing two audiences, firstly your own and secondly those of an artist in a different creative area whose own fanbase will undoubtedly in some degree or another be interested in what you are producing musically thanks to the collaboration with one of their favourite artists.
In my opinion this has all been done to some degree over the last 50 years, think of the graphic designers doing monumental sleeves in the 60’s and 70’s. The dancers and choreographers, video directors used in the music videos of the 80’s and 90’s. The list goes on, For A&R people this has been creative license for those 50 years but in the last ten years this has changed to the fact that now the artist needs to make money in different ways therefore the onus is on ensuring that the A&R is still creative but money can be made at the same time so the goalposts have moved to a degree. So more tie-ins and link ups are needed. More pressure for the poor beleagered A&R person. I went to an exhibition of paintings in 2002 in the UK, saw an amazing painting of the Easter Islands in vivid gregarious colours and attempted to buy the painting (5 people had already done the same). Although I didn’t buy the painting I did buy the rights to use the image and used it as a cover sleeve for a promotional album called Shallow Vessels that featured four artists each performing 4 songs apiece. One of the acts were signed up via Music2deal to City Canyon Records in New York, a good Music2deal user and two of the other acts were signed through distributing the promotional CD at Music seminars such as SXSW and Popkomm where the cover sleeve caught everyone’s imagination. I still believe the sleeve was fundamental in acquiring people’s attention in the first place and to an extent getting those acts signed to deals. After all there is nothing worse than a boring promotional or demo sleeve.
On a personal note I went into a secondary area a number of years ago after lecturing for the PRS that artists needed more than just music and required a second bow to their strings through collaborations because simply put ‘music itself wasn’t selling’. After studying art, it took me another 6 years to devise a 6 formula system called ‘Canvas Music’ of painting any song ever written in any style and each painting would be unique (checkout http://www.bourneart.com for more info). Artists such as Muse and OMD have acquired ‘Canvas Music’ paintings of their own songs. Apologies for a bit of self promotion but if anyone would like to commission a song to be painted either a song written by themselves or any other song by any other artist then please contact me.The song is painted on 12 inch square (old vinyl size) stretched canvas and I am offering them at a discount of only 450 euros each (plus postage) for any M2D member that uses the code ‘Link Ups’.
My advice to music artists and managers is find people to collaborate with at an early stage, find an artist, photographer, installation artist, sculptor, anyone on the creative side that a) you admire and like their work b) are at basically the same stage of their development and career as yourself where you can work together for the mutual benefit and development of both creative artists despite being in two separate creative areas. They say two heads are better than one.
Possibly Music2deal is the best launchpad for finding that creative being?