Independent record labels are the way of the future!
I believe it’s important to take notes in an ever-evolving landscape that is the music industry of today. With the recent release of “Slime Language 2” and being Young Thug’s latest release since “So Much Fun” back in 2019.
I view this project as much more than a “compilation album”. The Slime Language Series is a great example of what’s possible when you have a leading artist who can also play the role of Rapper/CEO/Music Executive.
If you’re an artist or want to start a record label in general. Now is the time to pay attention. This is a formula that can — definitely — be repeated and expanded upon (Local, Regional & National).
For example, on “Slime Language 2” you have:
- Main Artists Under The Label — Young Thug, Lil Duke, Gunna & Lil Keed
- Featured Artists Under The Label — Karlae, Yak Gotti, YTB Trench, Yung Kayo, Unfoonk, T-Shyne, Strick, FN Da Dealer, HiDoraah & Dolly White
- Featured Major Artists — Drake, Nav, Rowdy Rebel, Lil Baby, Lil Uzi Vert, Coi Leray, Big Sean, Skepta, Future, YNW Melly, BSlime, Yung Bleu, Sheck Wes, Kid Cudi & Meek Mill
- Partnerships — Cactus Slatt (Travis Scott & Young Thug)
For everyone that has listened to the project — we can all agree — Young Thug and YSL Records can make some great music. The follow-up release not only speaks to the “tangibles”, it draws upon the “intangibles” as well.
It’s like any system of making money in American Capitalism. It’s not what you see, it’s what you DON’T see that matters the most. How can you bring — the best — people together to execute a goal?
Being from Atlanta and being able to witness so many rises in Hip Hop from Ludacris & Incognegro to the present-day release of Young Thug & Slime Language 2. The music industry has evolved into a business that embraces the Rapper/CEO.
As we’ve seen with Gucci Mane, Young Dolph, Nipsey Hussle, Westside Gunn & Many More. We are witnessing the “Franchising” of Hip Hop. It’s time for artists to start moving like Investors and approaching the music business the same way. Investors associate with other Investors and “INVEST” as a group. This is we’re seeing with “Slime Language 2”.
Do you have a system? Does it work? Can we expand upon Market Share?
6 Ways Russ Leveraged The Internet To Come Up In Hip Hop
Do It Everyday, Music Or Nothing: Check Out How Russ Used Consistency To Build A Fan Base — Music Marketing
That is what makes Atlanta great when it comes to the music industry. With the undeniable presence of other labels like Quality Control, Love Renaissance & The New 1017. The competition only produces a better product.
Like any system in business, the success of your operation — solely — depends on the people running it. In this article, I am going to discuss the intangibles that needed to build a successful independent record label.
Let’s check them out below.
No matter what genre of music you make or produce. Having a vision is key when it comes to building an Independent Record Label. Vision begins with leadership and being able to guide artists to where they want to be professionally and financially. A crystal clear vision provides clarity and promotes growth.
As an ‘Independent Record Label’ you’ll be in position to:
- Reiterate the record label’s purpose, standards and values for the future, as well as for the present.
- Determine which avenues to take when developing businesses around their artist’s brand.
- Remain agile, while keeping the focus on “The Outside” (fans, markets, media outlets and networks).
- Create a sustainable environment that fosters growth and ensures that the business wins on all fronts.
In order to achieve any vision, you have to build a culture that is backed by leadership, values & standards. A strong set of values will help to develop an Independent Record Label’s identity.
More than anything else, values are about shaping the culture. Forming strong values will help to move the business forward and create a sustainable future.
“In the absence of explicitly defined standards, people will develop their own; that’s human nature.”
3. Principles (Focus On Strength & Competencies)
The third intangible key is that Independent Record Labels can decide which competitive spaces to enter. While also determining what endeavors to stay away from and not waste resources. This allows artists to not only compete, but to win.
Labelss help to develop core strengths and competencies, grow an understanding of fan bases, build brands, innovate and develop market scalability.
Overall, creating value and opportunities through deciding what is an attractive business to enter.
Key Factors include:
- Always build from the core out.
- Always ask what is authentic?
These key factors will raise a number of questions.
What is the core business? Where should the focus be?
What is not the core business? Where should the focus not be?
4. The Ability To Prioritize
One major benefit of Independent Record Labels is that they can help artists gain perspective. By nature, artists live in the moment and create in the moment. Labels can help artists create flexible short-term goals, sustainable long-term goals while developing a realistic end-game for the future.
Labels assist in planning out 3–5 year plans, as well as 10–15 year plans. Executing ‘Perfect Timing’ is as much as an art, as it is a science. Keep in mind, that too strong of a focus on the present, can take away from opportunities presented in the future.
5. The Ability To Build A System
The most important aspect of an Independent Record Label is a having a winning system in place. To be successful in music you need to define what “The Outside” is to “The Inside” and “Who matters the most?” The CEO clearly defines and reiterates a clear perspective for the record label to follow.
Without an “outside”, there is no “inside”.
‘The Inside’ being defined as the overall record label (supporting team), executives, artists, producers, etc. and ‘The Outside” being fans, markets, media outlets, networks, etc.
“Other labels have these A&Rs and CEOs and chairmen, sitting in an office looking on the internet at numbers on SoundCloud and Spotify — they’re just into the analytics.
That’s part of it.
But if I’m being honest — and it might sound ignorant — I don’t own a computer. I’m really out here in it.”
In my opinion, Independent Record Labels represent the true nature of American Capitalism. Leveraging influence (music) to secure funding, increasing revenue — in order — to secure more funding.
Rowdy Rebel said it best, “No Pressure”. Rinse & Repeat.