Naxlo
Published in

Naxlo

An overview of the music industry — Part II— The Engineering Side

Our goal with this series is to introduce aspiring artists or people that are somehow interested in the music industry, to understand the main points that drive this US$ 20 billion market every year.

Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash

Summary

  1. Introduction
  2. Artist vs Record Label
  3. Home Studios
  4. Conclusion

1. Introduction

As an artist, when you think about Record Labels and signing a deal, you probably imagine yourself standing inside a studio booth, with your headphones, recording your next big hit.

Are you wrong? Absolutely not, indeed there is inevitably one of the places where you’ll spend the most time in. The recording studio plays a huge role in the process of making music, without it, Billboard’s Top 10 would probably sound amateur and overall bad quality.

2. Artist vs Record Label

It’s evident the value a traditional record label has to offer, for example:

  • Marketing: The biggest asset a record label has to offer to an artist is marketing, they have built a solid network that will support their upcoming artists, leading them to the mainstream spotlight.
  • Equipment: Back in the days, it was inviable trying to record a professional track without a professional studio. For those who are not signed to any label (a.k.a. Independent Artists), they often had to get in touch with “indie labels” to rent their studio for their recordings, spending a considerable amount of money doing so. — fortunately, thanks to the advances in technology, these artists, can record their songs with little money, in their home studio — we’ll talk about the following section.

As for everything in life, a record label also comes with its cons, for example:

Imprisonment

As for any labor work, for it to healthily sustain itself for any period of time, both parties must agree on a contract.

A contract is a legally binding document that recognizes and governs the rights and duties of the parties to the agreement — this is the Wikipedia take on the definition of a contact.

It is important to note here that, the Artist is (in most cases) are an employee of the record label.

— Although this statement will not legally hold in court, because technically the artist is a client (e.g. legal entity) providing services to a record label, and as a legal entity, it is not entitled of any benefits (e.g. medical insurance, and etc) as stated by the U.S. law.

With that being said, the reason I say the Artist is an employee of a Record Label is that you will often find that the label’s terms are much stricter than yours.

Evidently, the label must also agree with your terms, although, if you are not an (at least) gold-selling artist, your terms will most likely be outshined in favor of the label’s terms.

Now, what does all this have to do with being Imprisoned? Well, you might have noticed already, that after signing such a contract, it becomes very expensive for you to get out due to any problems you might face along the way.

But, the label is helping me record and sell my music, what problem could I possibly have? — you ask, well as in any work environment, you’ll maybe have to work with someone you don’t particularly like, although that situation can be easily remediated, the real problem begins when the label starts interfering in your creative process.

Quality Control

Having someone more experienced than you, assuring that your song has a certain quality degree is more than welcome, although, with record labels, sometimes it goes beyond acceptable, where they end up dictating most of what goes in or out the album, or how a certain song should sound.

DISCLAIMER: We don’t intend to hate on record labels, there are plain of really nice labels out there, that are very flexible and willing to cooperate with the artist, our intention here, was to explain some of the hustle artists have faced in the past and eventually still face with some labels.

3. Home Studios

Nowadays, the number of Home Studios is growing faster than never, due to highly adopted DAWs and Whitelabel services (e.g. Tune Core, Ditto, and etc).

In 2018, the professional audio industry generated $1.2 billion in gross revenue.

For independent artists, that opened the door as an alternative to label deals. With little money, they could have their own home studios.

It is not uncommon for popular artists to have their own Home Studios in their houses, so they can actively work on a new idea, then if it is worth a shot, that idea is sent over to the label’s studio, where it would then get produced, mixed, and released.

Although, these same artists are also getting specialized in working around DAWs — after all, knowing how to operate a DAW is just as important as playing an instrument in your track.

The advantage of being an Independent Artist and owning your own studio and releasing schedule:

  • You become your own boss
  • You get to keep 100% of your royalties
  • You have full control over the creative thinking and execution of your tracks

In the beginning, you might have to work a little bit harder to grow your network and fan base, but in the end, we can guarantee you that you would get more rewarding results.

Most recently, Billie Eilish won five grammies, while two of them were for the “Bad Guy” track from the album “WHERE WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”, while she recorded it in her brother’s bedroom.

Billie Eilish showing the studio where she recorded her grammy winner track “Bad Guy” from the album “WHERE WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?”

Artists such as Billie Eilish, have completely taken over the production of her tracks, adding her own signature to it. In her case though, she was still signed to a label that helped her promote and sell her album.

Charlie Puth is another example of a self-producing artist, as debatable as it might be to say, he is considered to be one of the most gifted artists in the last decade.

Charlie Puth’s point of view on music production

In the hip-hop scene, artists such as Jay-Z, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg, have not only taken over the production but the entire process, from song-writing to marketing their own material.

Conclusion

We believe that in the future artists will prefer to go via the independent route, due to the flexibility it gives to them. For many artists, as skilled as they are on their craft, it’s still hard to properly market and sells their music by themselves — especially when they are still growing their fan base.

The truth is, there is no service which is friendly enough for these artists, and yet keep artists and fans connected and engaged.

At Naxlo, our mission is to help artists to not just overcome the current pandemic, but also empower them to become more independent by freeing them of the burden of dealing with record labels and royalties, to instead focus on their craft and passion.

If you’re an artist you can fundraise the money needed for your next album, single, or EP release and get your song released with us.

If you are a fan, imagine if you had the opportunity to invest and make money with your favorite artist, who would it be? As a fan, you can help your favorite artists’ fundraising campaigns by investing in music royalties — you and the artist get paid at the same time.

Alternatively, you can also stream up to 90 seconds of any song in our catalog for free or subscribe and gain unlimited access to it.

We are offering 3 months free trial subscription for everyone signing up on our landing page on Product Hunt.

Sources

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store