Career Branding Reflection for Musicians: Independent Master P. Frenzy
In the mid to late 90’s we experienced an independent label boom as budding entrepreneurs equipped with the proper business savvy and an ear to the street was able to capitalize on the regional music void created by major label negligence. Of course once you started having independent labels selling in excess of 500 – 1 million records per release off of mostly word of mouth, the majors began to open their purses and resources to get in on the action. The flood gates came through once Percy Miller aka Master P was able to figure out that if you hold off on the up front bread and weigh in on the back end you can see the real bread in this game and he did it like no other. Here to revisit this phenomenon from a business perspective is writer Shanette Carpenter, M.Ed. Read on!
Indie labels are steadily maxing out corporate dollars to anticipate the possibility of successful ownership. Although there still remain so few indie labels that sought out the responsible route of legally forming a small business, swarms of these indie labels scratch at the doors for successful distribution deals. The aspect of distribution smells sweet enough to taste especially the terms and conditions that one could never obtain from a basic artist deal contract. Indie labels thrive on the thought of regulatory power and creative control. The indie label craze developed in the late 90’s when a creative yet business savvy mastermind decided to use insightful mechanics to captivate his target demographic “hands on” and independently without the financial support from any major record company. The craze was by far initiated by the media but Percy “Master P.” Miller was at the forefront.
Master P’s initial deal was with Universal and the inner workings of this deal in particular were far from a standard artist deal…it was a clean distribution deal. I shall break down the elements that lead to this type of deal. Master P. already solidified his brand in a populated market and his business entailed a recoup operation with substantial figures, and ample investment turnaround, it was quite clear that Master P. was on to something huge, and of course most companies want to get in on the ground floor. For major corporations the ground floor for investments leads to higher per capita income and corporate profits. In short, Master P. received more so partnership deal that gave him percentage power in the upper eight percentile. Master P. certainly left the negotiation table with a huge bargain on something that wasn’t even for sale…an imprint of a major industry powerhouse for less than half its worth. Needless to state, MasterP. made history, which created the “Master P. Indie FRENZY.”
Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of Indie labels itching to sniff the success of Master P’s first deal. As the world continues to go ’round with or without us a question arise “will the exhaustion of the copy-cat application ever make anyone realize that there will never be another deal where a powerhouse sacrifices its corporate integrity to be blasted in the media and challenged by a rookie. Consequently enough, many of these new Indie label owners never researched nor educated themselves about basic business principles and lose hard earned pennies chasing something that may not be tailored for their small business (because of course that is exactly what an independent record label is…a small business)…There is NO CONCLUSION because brand “Independent Master P. Frenzy” continues…….
Written by Shanette Carpenter, M.Ed.