Pictured L-R: Gizzle, Pricilla Renea, Betty Who, JoJo, Lindsay Stirling
The idea of making it within the music industry as an artist has been an intimidating goal for decades. For many, an artist’s success was dependent upon getting their “big break” or having that one hit that would catapult them into stardom. Technology, and more specifically, the internet age, has opened up the landscape of the music industry for the better. Having recently attended the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, MiLLENNiAL learned of the many new opportunities for aspiring artists to make a living from their music.
What ASCAP Brings to the Table
The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) is an organization that provides support for songwriters, composers and music publishers. Their 3 day ASCAP Expo, taking place in Hollywood, CA, has become a ground for aspiring artists to gain the knowledge and connections to improve themselves in the realm of the music industry. Many notable names (Jason Miraz, Megan Trainor, Lindsay Sterling, and Ne-Yo to name a few) took part in the various keynotes and industry panels throughout the expo and have provided first hand experience on the various paths one can take to achieve musical success.
Since the internet age, more and more people are consuming music now than ever before. Social media has become an integral part for an artist to be discovered. YouTube sensation, Lindsay Sterling, brushed on this topic in the Renaissance Women In Music panel stating that “new platforms create new stars” in social media. In the panel The Eyes have it: Art of the Music Video, music video director Hannah Lux Davis, pointed out that social media is a major influence for releasing videos and that Instagram has been a great tool for finding talent for her productions.
Earning a Living in the Digital Age
Another panel, New Industry, New Rules: The Songwriter’s Guide to Earning a Living in the Digital Age, covered the many new and innovative ways music creators can generate revenue. One such example is an online platform called Royalty Exchange, where artists can connect with investors for selling a percentage of their royalties or a right to fund advances. Within this platform, investors bid against one another on terms set by the artist. For example, an artist with a back catalogue generating $18,000 a year on publishing sold their future royalties for nearly $110,000, which was then used to fund the artist’s future projects.
The realm of cryptocurrecy has been a buzzing subject since the exponential rise of bitcoin. Many artists have begun accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for record sales, but some artists have utilized the block-chain model by turning an artist’s intellectual property (music) into a financial asset. This model allows for a large amount of people to invest in an artist’s work while providing the artist the funds to keep on creating content, similar to what a record label advance would be.
The 3 days we spent at the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo was filled with inspirational stories from top music icons. In addition to the many panels about what it takes to make a hit record, this year’s ASCAP Expo provided much insight into what music creatives can do to make money off of their work once the tape stops.