Has it become more or less expensive to break a recording artist in the social media / streaming era?

Digital distribution is obviously significantly cheaper than physical.

On the marketing side, artists can reach their fans directly now. Outdoor has become even less effective and the cost of music videos has decreased significantly too.

However, it’s also become necessary for artists to keep their brand turned “ON” and create more content than ever before.

In my limited experience, any decrease in cost on the marketing side as a result of technology has been replaced by the need for “more” moments in the marketplace.

Despite albums meaning less, cycles are longer than they’ve ever been. It’s expensive for an artist to be active, but in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace you have to be.

There are more and more artists and their teams interested in distribution deals and companies eager to supply those deals (in order to be competitive) at 10-35% of recorded revenue with “the plan” to break artists through them.

However, are these deals potentially lucrative enough for the company to fund the immense undertaking of actually marketing artists in a significant and meaningful way?

I believe most managers view these deals as an initial infusion of cash, flexibility, and playlist support.

If hypothetically the artist teams do not expect these deals to be needle movers beyond the aforementioned aspects, then in doing these deals of this nature, how many of these developing artist teams are prepared to fund the immense expense required to grow an artist brand across the globe if the distributor isn’t going to do it for them?

If you’re looking to learn more about budgets, feel free to refer to Amber Horsburgh’s case study for marketing budgets.

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