Atlantic Records just signed Danielle Bregoli, a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie, a.k.a. The “cash me outside” girl.
She got a deal but you haven’t yet.
That sucks, doesn’t it?
It certainly isn’t fair!
I mean after all you’ve worked (or feel you’ve worked) so hard on your craft but this seemingly talentless hack gets a deal?
Yes, because regardless of her talent, she has an audience and it’s a big one.
11 million followers on Instagram.
I can hear you. I’m inside your head. You’re thinking this is BS because the record business should be about talent (maybe specifically your talent) and this is egregious as it gets!
It’s not egregious. This has always happened throughout the history of the record business.
In the old days, the labels were responsible for developing you artistically. They would help you find your audience because artist and market development were cost prohibitive to an indie artist. Financially impossible would be more accurate because we’re talking millions.
In the old days, an artist couldn’t really reach a wide audience, outside of their local or regional area, without millions of dollars and a marketing machine behind them.
Although, many found a way to do it back then without a label…but I digress.
Bhad Bhabie did it with one freakin’ TV appearance.
I can’t be positive on this, but it would seem Danielle and her mother were broke because it would be hard to understand her behavior if she comes from even a lower-middle-class family with her disastrous lack of communication skills.
They didn’t pay millions of dollars to make her famous.
Think about it, there have always been artists that were signed that you thought didn’t deserve to have a deal.
We all subjectively judge the talent, don’t we?
Here’s the harsh reality with a real, tangible silver lining.
Bhad Bhabie wouldn’t have been signed back in the day because they were looking for talent they could develop into an artist that can make money. I just don’t think she’s a player. I don’t think at 14 she’s an operator (if she was older I might suspect a hustle or Schtick here, but I genuinely think she’s this stupid). I don’t think she has any talent let alone enough talent to outweigh a lack of intelligence.
Labels had to play the long game in the old music business. They set up systems for scouting and cultivating artists because it was so expensive back in the day.
The labels could AFFORD to do that because they were making the 2017 equivalent of $16 per CD selling through distribution. You and I were paying the 2017 equivalent of $30 a CD at the record stores.
Do the math, a platinum record costs maybe two million to three or four million dollars to create and promote it with a return of 16 million dollars. But then if you sell 2 million records…
See my point?
The labels had a reliable marketing pipeline called radio, music television networks (in all genres), and magazines with circulation to expose these artists to a promising audience. They had a direct pipline right into consumer heads.
Now they don’t.
This is the reality you have to get through your head.
THEY DON’T HAVE THAT ANYMORE. They don’t have it to give. Wishing and hoping they do isn’t going to change that.
You’re on your own in the beginning.
Today, labels are forced to play the short game. Or at least a shorter game. They can’t afford to develop you, so you’re not going to get a deal because you have a life-changing demo tape. If by some chance, you do get a deal solely based on your talent, you’re not going to get any label-love or a budget because they can only afford to focus on the artists that are making them money.
This is how a record deal becomes a curse.
But Danielle Bregoli was signed in today’s market because she has an audience.
They don’t really care so much about her art. She didn’t get signed for her art!
Labels are acquiring small businesses and she created one. Whether you approve of the way the business was created is irrelevant.
Riddle me this, Batman, why is it that your default response is to hate on this situation because you feel she has no talent?
Why do you sour on the music business because she got the deal with zero talent and you haven’t yet?
As if she somehow took the last record deal that was meant for you.
My knee-jerk reaction is that this situation provides concrete proof that any artist can create art on their own terms and get a deal provided there is an audience that wants to hear it. Create the business and they’ll come-a-calling.
Trust me, in the old days, the lucky artists who got into the label system were met with a TRUCKLOAD of artistic compromises.
But that can be different now if you want it to be.
If the labels only care about the audience, the pure artist with a viable business gets carte blanche on their art.
That scenario was an anomaly in the past. It was the exception to the rule.
Now, you may be thinking that it came easy for her after one horrifically daft Dr. Phil appearance. I think you’d be correct on that.
But she got the audience!
Your next thought should be I need to start building my audience immediately. I don’t have time to waste!
Because yours probably isn’t going to grow that fast. Sorry.
But it will grow consistently if you want it to (think “The Tortoise and The Hare”).
If you’re an artist who cannot afford to pay a team but still desire to make a living in the music business, then you must learn to market. Period.
No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
It’s not OK to state that you don’t understand marketing, you don’t like marketing, or you think marketing is beneath you but complain about a lack of market attention.
This is the way the game works now. Play it or take your ball and go home.
The labels CAN’T AFFORD AND WON’T AFFORD TO DEVELOP YOU.
You must do the work.
Get THAT through your head.
I understand you don’t know how to market, but you must learn or face the fact that your music will never be heard.
Any artist who says they make their art for themselves and nobody else cannot contradict that statement with any manifestation of frustration because they can’t make a living doing it.
Art for you is art for you. That’s fine, but that definition means nobody else needs to know or care.
If you have any desire to make one penny playing your music then you’re going to have to become a marketer.
Too many of MY artists feel they are somehow above marketing. We do a ton for them but they still have to play in the sandbox with us to make it work.
Too many of my artists want to play the rock star game. Many are seriously rock stars, and some others are developing quite nicely but not there yet.
But if they don’t adapt, nobody will ever know.
My final thought is that if you’re pissed about this signing, you’re entitled. You feel you deserve the deal and she doesn’t. That’s entitlement.
Entitlement is the gateway drug to a victim mentality.
Victim mentalities presuppose that your success, your livelihood is somehow out of your control.
Victims get to pass the buck because it’s not their fault.
It’s ok for victims to fail.
You have everything you need to significantly ratchet your career up.
Don’t be a victim.
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