Music Business Worldwide’s podcast this week features an interview with Mike Caren, the founder of APG – the only label in the US to break two debut artist albums to Gold in the first half of 2016.
It’s not easy breaking artists right now – especially when you’re committed to building careers.
Just two debut artist albums went Gold in the US in the first six months of this year: Nine Track Mind by Charlie Puth and Islah by Kevin Gates.
Both of them happen to be on the same label: Mike Caren’s Artist Partners Group – an ‘independent major’ imprint of Atlantic Records run out of Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Islah has since gone Platinum, in a year when others are struggling to gain traction for emerging artists in the US and beyond.
So what’s Caren’s secret?
Caren partly puts APG’s success down to its determination to keep its roster manageable, and therefore dedicate creative resources to each artist than other labels can muster..
“We [at APG] believe that, if you are a star, you still have to essentially work harder than all your competition,” he says in the reborn MBW Podcast, available to listen to above. “We don’t sign [acts] who don’t have that.”
He adds: “Very few people have really studied the business [enough] to understand that the A&R timeline people have in their head of signing and being successful in 12-18 months is unrealistic.
“Possibly the reason why a lot of artists are successful on their second record deals is that the first team wasn’t patient enough.
“The real lifetime [to break an artist after signing them] is two years-plus. Advances are going to burn out before then – you need a business model that can make it to that point.”