A variety of executives, young professionals, and college interns were present for the Young Entertainment Professionals (YEP) afternoon discussion on Thursday, March 22 with former Sony Music Nashville chairman and T.J. Martell Foundation honoree Joe Galante.
The conversation took place at BMI’s Nashville offices and featured a short interview hosted by MusicRow founder, David Ross. YEP supplied Ross with pre-selected questions and audience members chimed in with their own questions, mostly centering around technology and advances in the industry. After the conversation, a business pitch for the newly established Artist Growth platform was given.
Ross kicked off the segment by asking Galante’s opinion on the state of the industry. Galante replied, “Surprisingly, stable. We have to settle to low sales, although we are not declining. I’ve been in the industry long enough to have seen the shift towards singles before. Major labels are in the industry to move tonnage. Decreasing album sales have resulted in a changing marketplace.”
Ross mentioned the positive sales of Lady Antebellum’s album online earlier this month for 25 cents, and Galante was quick to clarify. “The label was paid the full rate for the album,” he said. “The retailer made up the shortfall, lest people think that’s the right price to pay for our music. Still, the album sold a significant number for a week.”
The young audience also asked about YouTube. Galante remarked, “Every label has their own agreement with YouTube, and I have seen some numbers, and ad revenue does not yet compare to that from radio. Of course, publishing is a whole industry derived from pennies, and pennies do add up. Maybe YouTube will become a revenue stream in the future but at the present, it is not.”
As far as picking the right artist to sign and support, Galante advised, “I would look for something unique, driven, good listener and that they have surrounded themselves with a strong team to support their career. One of the best questions for figuring out if the artist has star power is to ask, ‘what is the artist doing live?’” Finally, he added, “The artist should be willing to pick outside songs to record.”
After the conversation, Galante’s new business partner, CEO of Artist Growth Matt Urmy, gave the audience a preview of his cloud-based dashboard that allows artists and their team to manage a career on the road. The service is designed to help artists try to work in a new marketplace without feeling like their creativity is being strangled trying to understand the business. For more information, click here.
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