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The Problem with Record Labels (and How SingularDTV Does Better)

Find out why independent artists around the world are moving beyond record labels to join the SingularDTV’s sustainable entertainment economy.

At South by Southwest this year, captured attention and imaginations. Led by projects like SingularDTV and apps like and , blockchain-based projects are changing the way artists and listeners alike think about the way they engage not only with technology, but with the creation, distribution, and social/networking tools that comprise a functional music industry framework.

SXSW was also a time to re-address the problems with the way that the music business currently functions, and the outmoded ideas that are holding the industry back. One notion that was repeated often in various panels over the course of the week was recording contracts. Despite the collapse of the traditional record selling business and the ascent of streaming giants like Spotify and SoundCloud, record deals are still considered the height of achievement for aspiring artists looking to make a career out of music.

However, , though, that the relationship between record label and artist is often adversarial, and the record contract itself can be a detrimental instrument to the creative capacity and well-being of the artists involved.

Here are some of the problems with record labels, and how blockchain-based platforms like SingularDTV can do better.

Even legends like Elvis Presley claim they were exploited by their labels // Photo by

360 Deals Are Predatory

360 Deals are contractual arrangements in which record labels, or in some cases management companies, own the rights to all revenue created by an artist — often with very little or none left over for the artists or creators themselves. Lured in by large signing bonuses or surreptitious deals, scores of notable artists have sold millions of records, only to find themselves broke because they don’t own the rights to any of their music. The much-maligned practice of 360 deals is still in play by many major labels today, and has ruined the careers of many talented performers.

How Does Better

In SingularDTV’s decentralized entertainment economy, it’s all about rights. Artists who launch their projects with SingularDTV maintain complete control of the rights to their music. When creators fundraise projects through Tokit, they tokenize the intellectual property. This empowers artists not just with agency over the rights to their artistic output, but the ability to fundraise with and share in the process with fans, providing a sustainable model for creation that cuts out the costly middleman of the record label entirely.

Artists Need Creative Control

When artists sign to a record label, they’re often signing the entirety of their creative output away to fit the whims of an organization that views them as an asset and operates with a bottom line mentality. There are thousands of examples over the decades of artists being locked into long-term, multi-record deals that don’t let them create outside of their contract, restricting them to releasing music that fits the agenda of the label itself. These deals often take years to work out of, resulting in a form of indentured work that no human being — let alone a cherished artist — should be forced to endure.

How Does Better:

With control of intellectual property and a direct, symbiotic relationship with fans, there are no rules, censorships, or contracts to inhibit an artist’s creative freedom. Create the work you want, distribute it how you wish, and share with your fans. And it’s not just music! Projects launched on Tokit range from music to film, art, and even philanthropic organizations.

The relationship between artists and fans is the most most important in the whole music industry //

The Artist-Fan Relationship

The underlying relationship in the music is that between creator and fan. Beyond all the bright lights and big sound systems, it’s the way that an artist’s music makes another person feel that makes magic happen. It is unfortunate, then, that record labels play the role of intermediary and manage every single instance of connection between those who make the music and those who love it. These days, every single, every appearance, every tweet by major stars is managed by a record label, and is that an artist-fan relationship at all?

How Does Better

A decentralized entertainment economy offers artist and fans a way to connect directly, with no intermediaries blocking the path. Instead of fans spending their money on albums and merchandise and concert tickets, only to have intermediaries take the lion’s share, SingularDTV offers artists and fans a way to share a relationship that can lift everyone involved.

People Should Be Empowered

The very notion that a corporation is needed to manage the creative work of an artist is a holdover of the aging legacy music industry. It used to be that artists needed a manager, a booking agent, a label, a distributor to even get heard. That’s not the case anymore. This generation of creators is savvy enough to create on their own terms.

How Does Better

Web3 technology gives people the power to be their own economy. The role of managers, agents, distributors, executives can now be tackled head on, and apps like Tokit empower creators with the ability to fundraise, create, and distribute their work however they choose. The world is democratizing and decentralizing, and blockchain can help the music industry achieve a more sustainable entertainment economy for everyone involved.

Learn More about SingularDTV’s decentralized entertainment economy in this SXSW Panel featuring CEO Zach LeBeau and Gramatik:

Wanna learn more about the future of the entertainment industry?

Check out , read our , like us on . and take part in creating a decentralized entertainment economy…



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