Major record label Warner Music Group have partnered with Shazam in what is a revolutionary idea to discover underground hits. Is this the end of the A&R industry?
As an A&R Scout your job is to find the next big talent, find what artist or record is trending and try to predict the next big hit. It seems as though this partnership with Shazam will somewhat negate this traditional requirement. Through the deal, Warner will gain access to a huge database that describes what people are listening to and by using this data, Warner will easily identify break-out artists. In an ever changing market, labels are ever reliant on technology and it seems as though Warner are heading the pack in a completely new method of uncovering those obscure artists that pop up, through Shazam, all over the world.
Warner will sign these artists as part of a Shazam-branded Record Label. The artists will in turn reach back to Shazam for marketing purposes. It’s a really clever partnership – knowing at the press of a button where an artist is trending to target marketing campaigns.
Personally, I think the next step will be YouTube. It will literally be a race for their data stats as YouTube is a medium that is more widely used all over the world. Spotify and Pandora will also helm as the next step for Major Labels to get a leg-in-front of their competitors. For now, let’s just see what Warner do with this new and exciting partnership with Shazam. Let’s remember that it’s still a work in progress, who know what is happening behind the scenes.
At the end of the day, to answer the proposed question of whether the A&R service is depleting in demand – no. It’s easy to see that an artist/record is trending but incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to foresee talent, both creatively and within a live setting. Lets take that Crazy Frog phenomenon that swept the nation for a few months, yes it may trend on Shazam, but it unequivocally will never reach beyond that first hurdle. Hence, the grass rooted positions within a Major Label will not be affected, at least not for a number of years.