Ryan Leslie - A Harvard Lothario
Co-founder & CEO of Disruptive Multimedia, Ryan Leslie is a Harvard graduate and a multi-platinum artist and record producer.
He was nominated for the Grammy Awards (Best Contemporary R&B Album Category) and is also an avid technologist, with more than 560,000 followers on Twitter.
Here, the architect for Disruptive Multimedia Ryan Leslie, shares his experiences, including his decision to remove his latest album from iTunes and use an inbound SMS campaign, powered by DMM, to earn over $475,000 in direct to consumer (D2C) revenue from just 14,000 fans.
His album sold 180,000 copies and his royalties multiplied four times over.
His next album netted him 2 million in revenue on just 13,000 in record sales.
The artist Ryan Leslie stresses the importance of new and independent artists selling their music D2C to establish a close engagement with their fan base, and to ensure the highest possible royalty rate.
By remaining unsigned until they have the scale to justify a major label relationship, new and independent artists can create a fan base and fan engagement so they can sign with a major under unusually favorable terms. Direct to consumer (D2C) has numerous advantages, including establishing a strong interactive fan base prior to even attempting to sign a paltry record contract with a major label.
Without D2C relationships and revenue/traction, a major record company has NO incentive to sign a new artist to a fair deal.
The deal with a new artist will always be lopsided because they are doing you a favor, they being the big-time record company, and you being a nobody artist, but with a ton of talent.
A record contract is a loan. The major will recoup everything they ever did for you BEFORE they pay you the agreed upon royalty. ALL record contracts state this.
Ryan explains how to circumvent taking this traditional path and how to create significant scale as an artist PRIOR to signing with a major label, if you really feel you ever need to sign with them.
Ryan discusses how to make your brand, your musical artistry, ''scale-able" before signing with ANYONE.
For example, Ryan utilizes ALL the online platforms that sell independent releases directly for the artist. Not just one or two.
For example Ryan's Patreon followers have spent collectively $3,000 dollars for his music releases from only 84 Patreon followers.
He compares his Patreon engagement example to the random engagement on YouTube of his music that only nets him pennies per stream.
It is because YouTube video streaming has a low level of direct fan engagement. When the song streams on YouTube it is because of a simple action taken by a random YouTube user.
These users who click on a video are unknown to him. Thus it has a low revenue of pennies per stream.
Last but surely not in the least, this video is about Ryan Leslie's SuperPhone data collection device. Now in beta and backed by major venture firms, SuperPhone is the tool that will help new and independent artists engage more fully with their fans and social media followers, creating more thorough engagement and thus greater revenue per engagement.
Ryan's thesis is this; thorough engagement with your fans leads to significant revenue, and allows the indie artist to scale their brand on their own.
There is a clear correlation between random engagement and revenue, and thorough engagement; texting fans, collecting fan phone numbers, and etc. (not just email lists), and higher revenue earnings.
The video is below, from the MIDEM conference.
MIDEM is the international music event gathering key players from the music ecosystem to forge business connections and explore current music trends.