Rise of the Lean Artist — the birth of musician 2.0

Michael Cheng
Jan 21, 2014 · 3 min read

Some of the greatest musicians these days are hidden from the mainstream. You don’t see them on television, you won’t hear them on radio. These are the stars born on the internet. Youtube sensations like Megan Nicole, Tyler Ward, Tiffany Alvord, Alex Goot, and so many more.

Tiffany Alvord performing “Still Into You” by Paramore on Covr.ca

Just what sorcery is this? Traditionally, music careers take years to build. Yet, these internet stars have been growing at phenomenal rates. You can literally go on Youtube and watch their subscribers go up, minute by minute.

Megan Nicole—2.3 million subscribers
Tyler Ward—1.4 million subscribers
Tiffany Alvord—1.7 million subscribers
Alex Goot — 1.5 million subscribers

Indeed, we are witnessing the Lean Artist Movement.

Under lean principles, startups are moving faster than ever before. Entrepreneurs are racing to launch their Minimum Viable Products, ploughing through rapid feedback cycles, connecting with early adopters, and building awesome products within record time.

Such practice is not foreign to the millennial musicians who built their careers on viral cover songs.

Walk Off The Earth performing “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Goyte — over 150 million views on Youtube.com

So, why Covers?

It’s simple. Covers are the MVPs of music. With covers, you can connect with a huge audience through popular songs that big record labels spend billions of dollars marketing everyday.

Katy Perry just released a new track? Great, cover it and you have yourself an instant connection with her enormous fan base, all the while giving yourself an opportunity to express your personal flair (a.k.a. value proposition).

All this can be done without the trouble of writing music or lyrics. No agents. No record labels. Just you and your microphone. It is by far the quickest way to push out a “product”, gather “users”, and “iterate”.

Major artists like Katy Perry release one or two albums a year. On the other hand, internet stars like Kurt Hugo Schneider release several tracks a month. Such rapid deployment of fresh content has helped these musicians reach a level of fan engagement previously thought impossible.

By the time these artists produce their first original tracks, they already have millions of fans eager and waiting to buy. These musicians are going on tours, performing at concerts, and selling albums all without the help of Universal, Sony, or Warner.

Welcome to the Lean Artist Movement. For a taste of what the hype is all about, check out www.covr.ca.

    Michael Cheng

    Written by

    Cofounder @Sniply

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