Will.i.am has teamed up with Amuse, a new service that boasts it is the “world’s first mobile record label.”
But, aside from a savvy tagline, which does this actually mean? Basically, Amuse offers free digital distribution and audience and income analytics, which are then used to launch the artist using Amuse’s A&R tools – should the label like how an artist is tracking. The contractual side of things seems a lot looser, which appealed to Will.i.am – an early consultant with Apple Music.
Billboard spoke to will.i.am and Amuse co-founder and CEO Diego Farias about the new label plan, and a few interesting ideas were revealsed, such as how Farias sees the future of deal-making.
“We don’t foresee a future where we outright buy rights”, he explained. “We don’t think that’s the future, we don’t think that the younger artists are connecting with the idea of selling their rights to someone else. So the first part is removing that part in the equation. The other part is in the true spirit of transparency and artistry, being a partner of the artist, and I think that’s what a lot of artists are seeking nowadays. So it’s about reinventing the relationship between the label and the artist and it fits perfectly into how society works nowadays — a lot of the creative process has moved from labels into smaller groups closer to the artist. A lot of decisions are being made around the artist or by the artist, him or herself, and it’s a very natural progression in how labels have operated in the past. We don’t have all the answers right now, but I think those two points speak to the power of philosophy in this area.”
“Nowadays, everything’s been opened up”, Will.i.am explained later. “You can record on your phone, you can record on an iPad and a laptop, you can publish on Soundcloud, you have access to uploading videos to YouTube and getting in front of millions of people, you can put your photos up and talk directly to people, you don’t necessarily need a traditional publication to get the message out there.
“Think about all the things that offer freedom to artists and thinkers and collaborators, you know. Except for finance around your art — that’s the only thing that’s still foggy, right? ‘How do I get paid, though? And when do I get paid? And can I draw down whenever there’s money there?’ That still was this very gray area up until Amuse…. That, to me, is revolutionary, because record companies don’t allow that.”