Every so often, a seismic shift happens in the music industry that turns everything on its head.
The last time this truly happened was with the introduction of streaming services. This was poised to be a great alternative to the reality of illegal websites like Napster and Limewire, which allowed people to download music from their favorite artists completely for free.
It was not long before streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music would take over the music scene.
Now, these platforms are the primary way people interact with music. But there’s a big problem that has yet to be resolved: It is nearly impossible for an artist or songwriter to be paid for their music based on streams.
There are “too many hands in the pie,” and pardon my pun, but the pie was already half-baked.
What is needed is a new seismic shift—one that recognizes the importance of the songwriter in the process and honors their commitment and continued investment into their craft.
The Power of Brand
Artists are very upset that there is little money to be made from music streaming royalties. And rightfully so.
However, what many artists don’t realize is that, for as small as their cut seems, they have the power to make money in many ways that songwriters don’t.
It all comes down to brand.
While songwriters are traditionally behind the scenes, artists are front and center. They have merch sales, event ticket sales, and a public persona that allows them to create alternative income streams to supplement the music.
Record labels already know of and harness this power. Frankly, it is this brand power which constitutes their existence in the first place.
Record labels are themselves a “brand” force that allows them to promote the work of artists as a collective and establish a sound reputation. A rising tide that raises all ships.
Some artists have decided to go independent, realizing that with a little bit of elbow grease (particularly using social media), they could do much of that branding work on their own without involving a record label.
And while we are passionate about artists and seeing them become successful as well, we believe the real heroes are the songwriters.
They are literally unsung heroes. They have limited revenue sources, have an even harder time breaking through than most artists, and many times have to front the expenses for their songs.
For example, many songwriters can’t get artists or publishers to consider their songs without a high-quality demo that they have invested in themselves, often for hundreds or thousands of dollars.
If they are fortunate enough to find someone willing to listen, their songs often get put on hold (sometimes for an unreasonably long period of time). The song is the songwriter’s only financial asset, and it may be months or years (if ever) that it sees the light of day.
And that’s after interest has been expressed in it.
The above reasons and many more are why the music industry needs another shakeup. The time is now, and it starts right here with something we call a “Featured Artist Release.”
Giving the Song Back to the Songwriter
From day one, BuyDemoTracks.com’s mission has been creating new revenue streams for songwriters.
Our original vision was to have a place where fantastic demo cuts could be sold to the public and placed on display so that artists looking for new material would have one place to find it.
However, our vision has shifted due to the reality of the music industry. To be clear—we still believe in our original vision. In fact, we believe it will still come to pass. But not the way we had originally thought.
What we realized was this: As long as we’re telling songwriters their only chance to see success in music is for an A-list artist to pick up their song, and that BuyDemoTracks.com can be the vehicle for that, we’re ultimately selling hopes and dreams.
We can’t make people use our website. And if you’re an undiscovered songwriter, people are not looking for your music. To make matters worse, most artists already have plenty of songs being thrown at them.
Even if BuyDemoTracks.com provides a better experience for finding songs—which it does—artists must still be convinced that this is the place to find them. Hopes and dreams. But little else.
So instead of this “hope and pray” method that someone would fly in from the other side of this giant mountain, swoop down to pick us up, and carry us over to the other side… we decided to go around the mountain.
An unconventional path struck us: What if we could turn the songwriter into an artist?
The Featured Artist Release
Available exclusively to our Songfuel subscribers, the Featured Artist Release is a powerful tool that allows us to put songwriters back in control.
There are a lot of moving parts that we walk our clients through, but here’s the essence of the process:
- You record a radio-ready, studio-quality demo here at BuyDemoTracks.com.
- A talented professional vocalist (who themselves have “brand” power as discussed above) sings on your demo.
- If they approve, the rights to release this song are signed over to you with their vocals, and are the “featured artist.”
- These songs are released to terrestrial radio, Internet radio, and podcasts through our distribution network.
- New revenue streams such as subscriptions, merch sales, SoundExchange, streaming royalties, performance track downloads, and more become available to you as the sole owner of the track.
There is an additional cost investment to getting started with this. However, we crafted a unique strategy that allows you to recoup and possibly exceed your investment (almost guaranteed) within just one year’s time… with just one of the revenue streams above.
The rest sit atop that revenue stream and only grow as your songs grow in popularity.
Before, songwriters were entitled to only mechanical licenses and radio play royalties meted out through BMI and ASCAP. And sadly, there is not much money to be made through those avenues for most songwriters.
Our unique process changes the game entirely and gives control back to the songwriter.
What Does this Mean for Artists?
You might be wondering what this means for artists. After all, if songwriters become artists, aren’t we cutting them out of the process?
No—not at all! In fact, this could be one of the best things to come along to not only bring artists more opportunities for income but also increase the quality and caliber of the music that actually gets played on the radio.
As I already mentioned, artists—despite having additional revenue channels to tap into as well—are feeling the effects of diminished income due to the popularity of streaming services.
Many artists were able to make a good living selling physical CDs at their product tables. Those days are all but long gone. Occasionally, you will find that die-hard supporters still purchase those CDs to support their favorite artists, but those are few and far between.
One of the “dirty little secrets” of the music industry is that artists work for hire quite a bit when they are not traveling, recording demos for studios. We have quite a few such vocalists who lend us their talents.
The more songwriters opt for a Featured Artist Release, the more we get to put artists to work and pay them for using their vocal talent. But it doesn’t stop there.
Our artists are able to make additional income when negotiating for their release rights on any individual song. As the featured artist on the track, they are also able to collect radio play monies due to them through SoundExchange.
This makes it a win-win all around! But there’s still more.
Because there is no middle-man commercialization going on (songs getting trashed because the label doesn’t think it is marketable, etc), the quality of music goes up, gets better, and becomes more innovative. New sounds start to take shape.
Plus, because of the power of brand, our songwriters will have name association with our vocalists, they will make a name for themselves as a songwriter, which will lead to more artists wanting to hear their songs, which will lead to more demos being recorded, more work for the artist, and the flywheel keeps on spinning.
This is the revolution the music industry needs.
We’re excited to be at the forefront of giving songwriters the power to write better music than ever and get it out there in a way that was never possible before.
If you’d like to consider this route, start by becoming a Songfuel subscriber today.
Shortly after subscribing, you’ll receive an invitation to schedule a Brand Vision call where we’ll help you see the possibilities in building your own brand as a songwriter and taking advantage of the Featured Artist Release.