How do you promote yourself? The only real way to do it at that time was to tour. There were very few "indie" artists. It was mostly major labels that had control of everything so the need for that was there when the major labels started to falter a little bit. People were starting to trade things online and they were starting to lose money from it. From my perspective, they started to panic, mistreat artists, and grab ahold of what they could.
What it's going to boil down to is the relationship between the artist and the fan. That is the music business -- it's always been the music business. Technology has changed, it's allowed certain people to hold certain positions of power or regulation, but what I love about the internet and technology is that it's completely demolished that at this point. There are some companies coming along that are trying to reestablish that type of power, that gatekeeper go between type of thing. But I don't think they're going to last, I don't think that's going to work. Genie's already out of the bottle here, people know how to connect with each other and I don't think the music industry itself will ever be the same. I think it's going back to it's roots - which is the original one person sitting in front of another person while that person performs music for them. That's the essence of the music business.
So it worked out to be a relationship where we have a joint label called Blue Note/ArtistShare where either ArtistShare or Blue Note can propose an artist. We both agree on it and put them through the ArtistShare system. Blue Note provides support and publicity, and ArtistShare does the fan-funded campaigns and distribution. Blue Note will have the option to (at the artists's discretion) to sign the artist to a Blue Note record deal at the end of it. And it's kind of a very innovative first step and I really gotta give it up to Bruce for really pushing that, really seeing that. I think that Blue Note is an amazing company, amazing brand, a lot of history. They've got so much to give as far as being able to get artists out there onto the map. ArtistShare, I'd like to think, is one of the best mechanisms for artists to be able to connect with their fans and be able to fund their projects. So it's the perfect marriage between two companies.
Read more about Blue Note/ArtistShare here.
And to this day, I'm so incredibly thankful to the fans who participate in these projects. We definitely don't take it for granted. Neither the people at ArtistShare nor the artists. It's a great privilege to be able to present this to you and we know it's a leap of faith to go and support a project that you haven't heard year or contribute to a project of an artist that you don't know very well - or if you do know them, you're not sure what they're going to be doing for that project. We just have a huge amount of gratitude for all the ArtistShare participants and I do my best to thank each and every one of you.
Interview by Jana Dagdagan