Emily White: How Niche and Mainstream will Intertwine in 2013… and Beyond

From MIDEM’s Blog:

The digital revolution of this millennium has led to an explosion of new artist careers both big and small, says DIY artist manager White, as well as established artists adapting to the new music industry. Artists like Sydney Wayser have been able to go from a local New York artist to touring globally, performing on US national TV, landing syncs and extremely strong press pieces, all without a label. This would not have been the case a decade ago or earlier.

Established artists such as Brendan Benson were sick of changing labels with every new release throughout his career and instead formed his very own Readymade Records for his 2012 release.
The modern music industry has seen the launch of countless new artists finding fans with the free and cheap tools of the internet, as well as major labels having success churning out large pop and mainstream rock acts. A middle class of artists has formed, due to the sustainability of new artists being able to continue to record and release music while growing their fanbase for careers that can last as long as the artist wants it to (hopefully forever!).

Artists who may have been previously signed, and are neither new nor smash hits, are now able to maintain consistent careers even if their labels have dropped them, forging their own path and building direct relationships with fans for again, what is hopefully a long time.

However, we’re always after that elusive ‘hit.’ In Brendan Benson’s world, we have built a sustainable release platform via his own Readymade Records. The great thing about the artist having control is that we can evolve with the public’s demands and not be beholden to asking permission as to how and when we release music. I’m not quite ready to announce how we are releasing Brendan’s music in 2013, but I can say we are catering to how music fans beyond his hardcore audience consume music in this era.

But if that radio or buzzy blog hit isn’t there, if an artist has built their fanbase correctly and collected as much data as possible, their base audience will still be there (assuming the artist is continuing to make great music). Therefore on one hand, our industry is growing into more and more niches, which benefits more artists than ever. However, because the playing field is so wide open in addition to fans being distracted by other media forms, the competition is fierce. So a new artist who has built a niche audience, even if it’s 100 or 1,000 fans, needs to cater to that niche throughout their career and continue to grow it if possible. If and when spikes happen due to radio airplay, a sync, the right support tour, and/or a combination of such things, the artist must keep retaining the data of their new fans and hopefully they’ll hang on for the long-term ride.

Continue reading the rest of the story on MIDEM’s Blog