What do you think of 360 deals?

Before I dive in, here are a couple articles I read and liked. One from the New York Times, and another commentary piece I just happened to stumble on via Google which I wholeheartedly agree with.

I think I'm going to do this blog a little differently. No rant...I'm gonna just make my key points...maybe expand on some.

Why I think they can be bad:

  • Labels are taking a cut off what used to be an artist's sole source of income; especially if the artist was still recouping the label for advances and any other costs that were fronted.
  • Majors claim their PR, promotion and name association will help break new artists; so they deserve a cut. If you're a dope act, the music will speak for itself. Why not eliminate the middle man and just hire a PR firm and a publicist? This could potentially be the end of the crucial role a label used to play.
  • Due to the ignorance of dated label execs running corporate music, they didn't adapt to change. Rather, they attacked the consumer who was downloading music "illegally" instead of learning how to capitalize on the new markets and methods of distribution.
  • 360 deals are about branding. They use the image and name of an artist to build a following. This is probably a major contributor to the death of the album and why majors are slowly becoming JUST publishing houses -- finding success with/investing in singles rather than albums.
  • 360 deals haven't made better artists, musicians...or music (and probably won't because of poor execution). It benefits the trend; whatever is hot now will get shoved down your throat (currently that is what's over-saturating the market; pushing more and more people away from commercial music seeking something fresh). What this has done is capitalize on people who are adept recording artists...but that doesn't translate to being a performing artists!

Why they could be good:

  • 360 deals are supposed to be seeded in artist development.
  • Majors don't always have the ability to provide 1 on 1 treatment to up-and-coming acts because all/majority of the resources are going to the already established revenue generating acts. This is why so many new/established artists are going indie.
  • Chance for indie labels (who are actually operating as such and not just as a mini major) to start rising up--music revolution. Re-establish the art of artist development, musicianship, and theory. Bring forth and cultivate that rare "musical genius" that is so far and few between these days. (Anyone with Internet access can download a program and become a beat maker...)
  • It's a form of progression. Majors realizing that new talent needs to be cultivated, and brought into the light because people are getting tired of the same old thing--simultaneously minimizing risk of investment. No major wants to take a chance on an unproven act, and unproven act just needs an opportunity--it's a compromise.
  • It relies on artists performing and creating a following because of dope shows and dope music; straying from the dependence of radio play.

Although the intent on paper may be to restore the art and culture of being a "professional" musician, performing & recording artist, producer, etc. I do believe the idea and concept are there, and this could be very beneficial to the industry...however, right now to me its execution thus far is seemingly more of desperate attempt to capitalize on locally, regionally and sometimes nationally established artists while not having to fully invest in their development nor take responsibility for producing longevity or establishing their careers.

This is my perspective as not only an artist but as a label owner as well. I do look forward to hearing your feedback--let the discussion begin!