In a post-internet world, the music industry might've been democratized but, as The FADER's Emilie Friedlander explored in her latest Social Anxiety column, that throws up a bunch of other issues. Chiefly, getting heard amidst all the other online noise. While major labels can afford to dip their hand in their pocket to secure exposure, independent labels and musicians are often left shouting into the void. Step forward global rights agency Merlin, which represents more than 20,000 indie labels, and music streaming service Pandora who have announced a licensing partnership to help artists in the U.S. reach out to their audience. In essence, the deal means that the indie labels Merlin represents will get more of a presence on Pandora, the musicians on those labels will be able to get their hands on metadata about which of their songs did well on Pandora—and in which States, which will be handy when planning tours—and lastly, Pandora will help those same musicians set up direct communication lines to interact with their fans (although surely that exists already and it's called Twitter). “These are hardworking artists – many of whom have never received promotion or airtime on terrestrial radio – and their music deserves to be heard,” says Pandora founder Tim Westergen in a press release about the deal. Bottom line: up-and-coming musicians can now figure out what's working and what's not, and what their fans are thinking, which means that's one less hurdle on the road to making it.
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