Hey Biz Talkers!
The recent and ongoing civil unrest in our country involving racial division and hatred has had a radical impact on the music industry. BMG has stated that it is now going to review historic recording contracts with black recording artists to address what they describe as the “music industry’s shameful treatment of black artists’. Several high level music executives in the UK have signed a letter calling for the removal of the “urban” descriptor at major UK music companies as well as anti-racism training for label staff. Rap veteran Phonte from the group Little Brother recently railed on the music industry practices by stating :”The entire music business was built on predatory lending. A record deal is just a glorified payday loan.”
These recent events have made it clear that black artists have not received a fair shake in their business dealings with major record companies. But, what is also clear, is that while this mistreatment has occurred since the beginning of the recorded music industry, the black recording artists who have created the music that has generated billions upon billions of dollars for the record labels they have been signed to have only received a tiny fraction of the revenue and wealth received by the labels that have monetized their creativity.
While admitting that black artists’ have been treated shamefully by the music industry, signing letters to address the use of the word urban concerning black music and instituting anti-racist training for record label staff are all steps in the right direction, what is not being addressed is ensuring that black creators and performers of recorded music control the distribution of the music and receive the lions share of the wealth generated from their music.
In my opinion, the admitted abuse and mistreatment of black musicians makes it obvious that INDEPENDENT, wholly black owned music labels and INDEPENDENT, wholly black owned music distribution companies are the only real solution to this problem going forward. The black creators and performers of music now have more collective finance and technology at their disposal than ever before to make independent black music and distribution a reality right now. All that is needed is: 1.the realization and understanding of the power that exists within the black music community, 2.an understanding that music is a business and it must be approached from a business minded standpoint regarding exploitation and monetizing of music, and 3.the pooling of existing finances in the black music community to organize talent, and create and distribute the music. Not only will this approach signal generational wealth for the black recording artists’. creators and their families, but will also prevent the abuse of the black music community by the present record label system that clearly and admittedly does not have their best interest in mind.
The time for change in favor of the black music community is NOW! As a black music industry professional, I am looking forward to using my legal skills and influence to generate wealth and true artistic freedom for those who have such great gifts, expertise and talent to provide for the expansion and enrichment of the modern music industry. Until next time, peace and blessings!!!