Legendary music executive L.A. Reid, chairman and CEO of Epic Records, led an all-star A&R panel during the 2014 Revolt Music Conference at the Fontainebleau oceanfront resort hotel in Miami. The panel featured producer DJ Khaled; Sickamore, A&R at Def Jam; Larry Jackson, Back of House (BOH) Specialist at Apple; Daniel Glass, Glassnote Records CEO; and Craig Kallman, chairman/CEO of Atlantic Records.
They discussed whether the art form of artist development is lost as well as where the record business model stands in terms of technology. Jackson points out, “I think the hubris of music business of yesteryear is no longer relevant, personally. What you see in the tech space is a real democratization of goods and services,” using Airbnb and Uber as examples. He adds that spaces like SoundCloud are the future and many past practices of labels are no longer relevant.
Sickamore offered tips on how to tell the difference between a transient single seller (one-hit wonder) and a career artist. “You have to first sit down with the artists and discuss goals with them. When you get an artist who’s been on YouTube and SoundCloud, you can’t talk about monetization and branding, you have to start with educating them. The conversation has changed. You have to be less of the big bad label. New artists don’t see the benefit of labels. Michael Jackson and Prince competed on who was going to be the best. We have to get back to the art.”