Friday, August 7

Milkbox Search: Artist Development

I always hear people saying that they could be an A&R for a company and their ear for music is what the game needs. Yes that is all fine and dandy but why is it that no one wants to assist the artist in developing their skills? I'm always excited when I open a professional looking, five colored printed CD with the lyrics and hot artwork. Once I unwrap the package though, I couldn't be more disappointed in the minimal songwriting, inconsistent music style, focus of the album and crappy production. All the money an artist takes to record, package and mail out the work to a industry that won't build on their strengths and weakness.

A&R's don't want to work with potential anymore. They need to find what is selling elsewhere and grab market share. If you’re a singer on American Idol with millions of fans already they will take the time to find you great songs and a great producer but that’s because you come to them with a fan base. So much of A&R today is reading soundscans instead of developing talent. A band sells a few thousand records in the southeast states and the A&R man jumps on a plane. This sends the wrong signal to artists and even shuts down artists who just sing and don’t have the ability to create a following.

At one time A&R's went to bat for the musicians they believe in. They would convince other execs the music had potential and risk their job to get the point across. This mentality is gone today. The days of having three strong singles then dropping an album are non-existent. There isn't any connection with the fans to the artist anymore.

Now comes the freedom of music on the Internet which is a blessing and a curse. Rushing a website and a CD release is not going to build your career. If anything it will hurt you because so many people can now see and hear you online. The competition is not so much the talent itself, but the amount of music occupying the marketplace. Believe me the labels will listen to your Mp3 and move right on to the next band site. That was your chance and you wan't on your game.

As an artist, singer or songwriter you must find people who you respect to bounce ideas off of. Attend ASCAP, BMI & SESAC seminars. Become active in the various music events in your city to build relationships with the talent! Yes that means find an I dO MUSIC in your area! Find the best songs or write with people until YOU start writing the BEST songs. Find websites for music producers and listen to their productions. Producers are doing most of the development these days. If you like their work, pay them and take your music with you! Study the past!!!! Understand everything about the music style you want to make. Listen to the singers and their vocal inflections and how they feel certain words. Pay attention to their phrasing. Roll all of these influences into your new vision.

Artist today need to get creative and real because once you go through the process people don't want to mature you. Focus on your positive growth!

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  1. Get at Toya Elise for some Artist Development Tips

  2. Strong article...

  3. Let me tell you how RIGHT you are. Hey...can't nobody complain about the crappy music you hear on the radio now b/c no one is willing to take the time to develop anymore.

    And people wonder why the best artists came from the 70's, 80's and early 90's...

    JD //ShoNuffWRITE

  4. Excellent article Oz!


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