Can Industry Veterans Shape The Future Of Music?

by moe on February 26, 2008

Musicwerks Online Label Group

I got an email the other day about this new company/website called MusicWerks.com, which I’m sure most of you already read about on other sites. To recap, industry veterans, Andre Harrell and Eddie Ferrell (hey their names rhyme), have just launched a new “online label group” that provides “digital distribution, marketing, promotion, publicity, video production, and other services.”

I went to check out their website, but they require you to register before you can even look at it. If you choose to go through with the registration, you have to enter your fake info every time you visit because the website doesn’t recognize you as a returning visitor.

Not really the best approach when you’re trying to get word out about your new site.

Anyways, I ended up taking a look at their site and honestly, even though parts of it are similar to my business, I’m not really feelin it. I think it’s okay, but it doesn’t seem to be anything too special – in my opinion.

Here’s why:

ITUNES/DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION PLACEMENT

They’re pitching themselves as an iTunes/digital distribution placement service. They offer other services as well, but online placement is their main selling point according to their website. Instead of taking a commission from your digital sales, they charge an upfront fee to use their service: $29.95/song or $78.95/album (max of 20 songs).

Online placement is fine and all, but that’s not really what I’d consider “the future of music” as their tagline reads.

A&R REVIEW SERVICE

They are trying to sell their A&R Review service for $99/song or $499/album. Pay them the fee for this service and in return, their “experienced A&R team” will send you a feedback form reviewing: song structure, lyrical content, vocal delivery, music production quality, vocal production quality & overall song rating.

How many of these types of A&R review services can there possibly be? I’m already predicting a bunch of artists/groups that don’t know any better, placing their “feedback form” on MySpace and sending copies to every A&R and industry cat they know, believing that it’s some kind of certificate that validates them as the next big thing.

INDUSTRY VETERANS

Andre Harrell, Eddie Ferrell and the others on their management team come from the old world. Don’t get me wrong; I respect the older cats in the industry, I’m not saying anything negative about them. They have a lot of experience and they still make most of the major decisions; but these are guys who’ve gained their experience and knowledge from the old model.

The reality is that we’re living in a completely new world. Nobody knows what will work and what won’t. So although industry veterans are very knowledgeable and deserve a lot of respect for what they have accomplished, the reality is that when it comes to this new “no model” model of the music business – they are just as clueless as you and me.

The truth is, we (the younger cats) have an advantage. We understand and adapt to technology quicker. Remember last week when I wrote about my first job at a major label? I mentioned that I took the job so that I could understand how the system works from within and then use that knowledge to my advantage. The same goes for playing in today’s world. If you want to change something or work in the same alley as something, you have to understand that something by being a member of it.

Today, the general audience base is all about torrents, online TV & movie streaming, blogs, MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Google, RSS feeds and a slew of others. These technologies and trends are created and embraced mostly by younger cats.

Who remembers the Tonos disaster?

So I respect their initiative on trying to participate in developing solutions, but how do these older cats believe that they are going to create “the future of music”, when they are on the outside looking in?

{ 4 comments }

Rosco G February 27, 2008 at 10:54 AM

I agree 100%. Guys like Andre Harrell are very intelligent but they’re just out of touch. It’s going to be a new person who changes the game.

Great site, I’m really glad I found it. Hope to see more.

veena March 1, 2008 at 11:51 PM

you are so right, especially your last line about them being “on the outside looking in”. your insights are really great, what do you do?

h williams aka hw3 March 11, 2008 at 3:36 PM

WOW! this a really good article. i’m with you on this. older guys in the music biz did their think but it’s time for them to leave it up to us to really take it to the next level. from this and the other articles on ure site i really believe ure a visionarry. best of luck and continue on ure path to succes

Nikolet March 19, 2008 at 4:47 AM

Nice site!

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