Quoting liberally from Jeff Stern’s tumblr in a response to my “big fan approach” post:
I think that the “big fan approach” may be best accomplished by a new position in the industry. Somewhere between manager, booking agent, record label and publicist, there seems to be an opportunity for a new position or business that may make one or more of the aforementioned positions redundant.
So while I, like Scott, want to give some of this stuff a try, I’m not sure that doing it by starting a record label is the way to go. Perhaps it’s taking your coaching background and working with musicians to identify what they want, what they can do, and what they need to farm out (and then connecting them with the right people to farm out what they can’t do)? Perhaps it’s something else?
Responding on the fly. I absolutely agree with Jeff. When I mentioned starting a label, it was perhaps for lack of a better term. The term “label” is the wrong one, the term “manager” implies the wrong things. There is something here, definitely.
I also appreciate Jeff specifically pinpointing my coaching background, as a lot of my thoughts around adding value to the music business, and business in general, stem from my thoughts around coaching, and specifically helping entrepreneurs zero in on their strengths and ideas, taking action, tweaking the process. Musicians are entrepreneurs. I feel like this kind of direct advocacy is becoming ever more valuable in business in general. (Why not hire someone who’s primary job is to consider the best interest of the client? For decades musicians have freely hired people who have very little of their best interests in mind.) A constant refinement of ideas, processes, and awareness, challenging assumptions, capitalizing on what’s working as the speed of doing business continues to accelerate and accelerate.
The term “label” has always meant “hub” for me anyway, at least in reference to the labels I’ve loved unabashedly, a signpost for quality and the center for a community of like-minded, if not like-sounding, bands. And, truly, maybe this isn’t important anymore as any musician/band can be a stand alone business. But any evaluation of “tribes” suggests there’s some genuine value in a hub, especially as a means of communication.
And my thinking on this stems further back to an e-mail exchange I had recently with the photographer Peter Gannushkin (who commented on my blog post about live music in NYC,). There’s no real center, no collector of information, no common calendar, which makes the scene fragmented and tough to follow from a fan perspective. Here I’m talking specifically about live underground jazz, et al., so it doesn’t necessarily apply to the general argument. A “label” or whatever it will be called in the not-too-distant future, could be a ground for these musician-led satellite businesses, who may have no affiliation otherwise, a connector to share resources and suggest collaborations, provide information, who knows what else? Again, not especially new, but there ya go.