4 min read

Turn my headphones up 🎧: U ready?

Let's also consider this: artists today are essentially little tech companies. They need a team, they need to be data-driven, they need a roadmap...and they need Investors.
Turn my headphones up 🎧: U ready?
[Verse 1: Westside Gunn]
🎶A-Yo, the marvellous (The marvellous, ah), the gorgeous (The gorgeous, ah)
Twin Porsches (Twin Porsches, skrrrrrrt), the exalted (The exalted)
The archer (The archer), Prada parka with the shotgun, Every time the wind blow I wanna pop something (Boom boom boom boom boom boom booooom)...🎶
[Westside Gunn featuring Stove God Cooks: Jose Canseco]

It's clear that rap music steers my thinking more than a little bit. There're pros & cons to that. We're taught (students of the culture) that the ultimate position is to be the boss of bosses and play second fiddle to a dude named no-one. To have the most cunning rhymes, that it takes several listens to spot a quadruple entendre, and in some cases there're verses that still lay flooded with undiscovered landmines till this day!

But a boss doesn't just give their all, they collect too. And in this culture, artists are unapologetically braggadocios about what they collect. And why not?! Artists act like both player and president, on the front lines pushing their brands as far as possible and the value overtime is clear. 50 years or so later, look at Hip Hop. It's almost impossible not to see the influence on all forms of popular culture, retail, publishing etc. Goldman Sachs estimates that music revenues will more than double by 2030 to $131 billion, with Hip Hop and R&B music dominating music streaming sales.

So why aren't a lot of the most "🔥🔥fire-est🔥🔥" artists we've seen + heard not the Honchos they should be?

Because under the hood, they aren't really owners or bosses. Let alone majority shareholders or decision makers of their own products which were birthed from their God-given talents.

The music industry has been a roller coaster of disruption and evolution. First, we moved from physical products like CDs and vinyl to digital downloads, thanks to platforms like iTunes. The shift was groundbreaking; artists no longer had to rely solely on labels, manufacturing companies, and high-cost recording studios to get their music out there. The playing field was levelled, at least to some extent. Then came streaming services like Spotify, breaking down even more barriers. Anyone could now access a global audience instantly, and fortunes were made. But here's the snag: the power dynamic shifted from traditional music business giants to a shared space with tech companies. While this opened the floodgates for artists to be heard, it wasn't necessarily crafted with the artists' needs at the forefront. The model created a lot of noise but struggled to equitably monetize the incredible value artists bring to the table. It's the classic case of a gift and a curse. Artists gained some control but at what cost?

So! here's the thing — innovation in the music industry shouldn't be the sole responsibility of tech companies. Far from it. Tech shouldn't be the decision maker; it should be the facilitator. Take music streaming platforms, for example: a model that yields an average of €0.003 per stream. That's not just unfair; it's disrespectful to the artists who fuel these platforms. Case in point, Soundcloud's fan-powered royalties, a model that at least attempts to make payouts more equitable.

Let's also consider this: artists today are essentially little tech companies. They need a team, they need to be data-driven, they need a roadmap...and they need Investors. From day one, artists need to be ready to invest in themselves as businesses. Build your brand, your audience, and your revenue streams; operate like a startup that's designed to grow.

That's exactly why our mission at Bawse pivots towards introducing artists to multiple revenue streams outside of just music streaming. Because we believe the best music tech solutions should emerge from a place where artists are front and center in the conversation. Inspired by Kevin Kelly's "1000 True Fans," we've adapted the concept to "100 True Fans" specifically for artists. It's high time artists become the true "Honchos" of their own destiny. Let’s not just build; let’s build wisely and justly.

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I found myself founding again, sketching, prototyping and user-testing. We think we can create a level-playing field. In fact, we think we can make it an advantage to favour artists & creators. We build and destroy, now we're building again as artists, music creators and tech entrepreneurs. So - if you're interested in testing and helping to shape the future of the music business for artists, DM me, get in touch, download our Beta, give us feedback... for fux sake we could build this Sh*t together.

Yaw - Founder @Bawse