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RIAA's Mitch Glazier On Why Record Labels Matter In 2019
Interviews with more than 50 label leaders by Professor Larry Miller of NYU's Music Business program reveal a positive picture of the current state of labels, enough so to raise a response from the Recording Industry Association of America's new Chairman/CEO Mitch Glazier. In his Jan. 10 column on Medium, Glazier outlines his condensed perspective, distilling Miller's work, and asserts, "The most listened-to artists are backed by labels."
Glazier compares the old-fashioned demands of being a record label with the multi-faceted teams of experts today, engaged in everything from A&R to data analytics. He encourages readers to download Miller's report — Same Heart. New Beat. — for themselves, which provides additional details.
The wide scope of today's music business activities boil down to the success labels help artists achieve, year after year, and the passion their teams bring to make that happen. The RIAA also configured a Rebooting The Label web page on their site, tracking the analysis in the report, and they are encouraging use of the #LABELSATWORK hashtag.
Today's key players at labels are using "radically new means to support artists," Glazier explains. "The result is a growing, vibrant, and vital music ecosystem driven by label investment and action — one in which more artists are creating and more fans are listening. Labels have licensed hundreds of digital services around the world, delivering music to listeners virtually anytime, anywhere."
He refers to breaking, boosting and amplifying as independent activities, giving a sense of the perspective that draws labels' teams together toward the different challenges posed by new names, established stars, and artists with sustained followings. Larger labels means greater infrastructure to supporthe new marketing mechanics of the ever-changing music business.
Glazier goes on to cite the statistic of 658 new artists signed to major labels in 2017 as showing more than 12 percent growth from the 589 signed in 2014.
"As this report details, labels are seizing the moment," he said, "investing more in A&R, marketing and other artist support activities (like data insights) than ever before, and beefing up their teams to support a vastly more complex, personal, and fast-paced music economy."
Perhaps the key takeaway from today's perspective is "personal." Whether old-fashioned or newfangled, the challenges of being in the music business can distract an artist from what they do best, which includes being more personal than ever with fans online who desire personal access and connection. Keeping music business mechanics off an artist's back and helping with online communications is all ultimately meant to allow the an artist's art and artistry to break through.