Money is what it’s about… until it isn’t (Dark Beauty at ADE 2017 pt.5)

It’s few hours later after the most amazing party ever. Martin is already gone and a lonely can of RedBull is staring at me from the hallway. I am due for a meeting early on, but luckily – the sad alarm clock sound is soon followed by a happy mail notification. My counterpart cancelled the meeting, so I can sleep more, and dream more, about today’s topics: Brands and Money.

The meeting cancellation was most appreciated, but still didn’t get me my 8 hours of sleep. Way past noon, I’m making my way to the DeLaMar Theatre, in a post apocalyptic state of mind. Cheeseburgers didn’t make me feel better, but a triple espresso did. Yep, the coffee at ADE venues was amazing. I get a text from Martin and follow to the main panel room to hear about…

Marshmello and Alan Walker

I learned about Marshmello not so long ago thanks to the parodies of CVNT5. Obviously, the brand for him is mostly represented by the bucket on his head 🙂 I was not really sure about Alan Walker, though. Until I heard his track, Faded.

How much money does Marshmello make?

I have to kinda admit – I was not the best in paying attention to the panel, still trying to shake off past night. What I can tell, though, is: you can build a sustainable brand with something special, or something really authentic.

“I need to start doing shows, making music no longer provides enough money for my living”

A panel called “Best and Worst of how to run a record label in the 21st century”  started with a very obvious statement: Doing music and selling tracks is not going to cut it. It possibly does not ever since the end of 90’s. As a specific example, Stephan Bodzin was brought up as a producer, who needed to start DJ-ing and doing live shows to be able to live off music.

Need income? There’s a ton of opportunities out there. Writing music just isn’t really a viable one, if you’re not Maarten Vorwerk. You can still build empires of your own, but as business 101 states very clearly: don’t focus on just one revenue stream.

The final panel for me at ADE 2017 is very interesting, because I’m facing the people I look up to with huge respect – especially Nadine from Armada. What they say makes perfect sense: You’re an Artist, and Art needs to come first. Of course, Music is not a non-profit industry, but there’s people who can help with business if your Art is perfect. Heck, Business is an Art in itself for many of them – and I proudly include myself here.

Having watched the Deadmau5 Masterclass (a million times) recently, I did have that itch. To reach for the mic and dare. Dare to ask the most influential people in the industry:

“Are demos the only thing you consider when signing an artist, or do you look for an artist with a brand already built?”

The panel responds (also including Tommie Sunshine, Austin Jacobs, Luke Solomon, Jennifer Cardini) almost identically: We live in exciting times, where music is just enough to get signed to labels, even top ones like Armada. To be honest, I was surprised. Mau5trap, based on Joel’s words, does look for the whole package. A big pile of money. Is Mau5trap missing out?

No time for any more talks unfortunately. My alarm rings. I need to leave in order to meet the other 99 brightest minds in today’s music industry.

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