The Advent of Digital Fully Exposed the Known Flaws within the Music Industry.
“It was a hugely labour- and capital-intensive business, which was to be expected when dealing with 78s made of shellac,” says Paul Campbell, founder and CEO of Amazing Media Group (AMG).
“The record company would choose the artist and record them, then the albums would be pressed and put in boxes and spread around the world, with the radio industry a separate entity altogether. All parts of the chain were segmented, and the musicians were regarded as the least important part of that chain. They invariably ended up screwed.”
When music could be produced and distributed digitally, much of that logic was destroyed. All of sudden £10 for an album became questionable without a physical product to justify cost, and the economics of the music industry started to look uncertain.
As a result, record labels, much like venture capital firms, that bank on a handful of successes to cover the large amount of failure, grew cautious. Campbell says what occurred was a “flight to tedium”, where the music industry adopted a Simon Cowell approach of bland and mass-marketed music that was safe to sell.
Campbell – a musician with a lengthy career in media, in part with the BBC – launched the Amazing Media Group in 2007 with backers such as AOL’s Steve Case and Sting. Its first product was Amazing Tunes – an online platform where new artists could upload their content, having the choice to offer their music for free or at a charge with 100% of the proceeds reaching the artists – a business that Virgin attempted to buy.
In 2009, AMG launched Amazing Radio – that, based on popularity within the database and using seasoned DJs to select the content, became the first radio station both online and terrestrial to play only music from new artists with no commercials.
“It is a hark back to the era of Wolfman Jack and John Peel,” says Campbell, where DJs were trusted and respected, and could choose their own music.”
Among the new artists who have debuted on Amazing Radio are alt-J, Chvrches, Bastille and London Grammar.
Now AMG has expanded to include revenue-generating businesses such as Amazing Artists, which produces and promotes artists, and Amazing Instore – its main revenue source – which compiles instore playlists helping stores with branding and ensuring music licensing costs are met. And this year and next will see the roll out of Amazing Radio NYC across North America.
[by Helen Avery - 17 September 2014]
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