Polyphonic - It's A Game Changer
From my perspective, the perfect model for a recording artist's business is to have a well funded team of specialist's working together to create a long sustainable career. To achieve such its key that all interests within the Artist's business are aligned. This allows for give and take within the business with the goal being "what's best" for the Artists brand.
For the past 50 years the Artist business has been fractured with multiple competing interests. A) Record Companies whose main interest was the exploitation of the artists recorded music (masters). B) Publishers whose interests are similar but share in mostly the same income pot as the Record Labels. C) Live concert promoters, focused on selling concert tickets and sponsorships. D) Merchandisers mostly focused on selling various clothing and souvenirs at concerts and traditional retail.
Mixed in with all this you have Business Managers, Lawyers, Agents and Artist Managers whose roles are to not only coordinate the Artists schedules and business strategies but also have all of the above parties cooperate with each other.
The Record Companies and Publishers are mostly in conflict with each other fighting over what is a fair share of the recorded music pie. These conflicts have been going on for decades and recently stifled much of the growth within the digital space. You then have Concert Promoters who are not interested in selling music, but tickets to a music event... hmm, what comes first the chicken or the egg? Then you have the Merchandiser who really benefit from the efforts of all the others.
So what you have is a collection of competing but interdependent interests. I have witnessed in my 25 years of being in the business more lost opportunities than one could ever imagine as these parties butt heads. Yet without the Artist they would not exist :
So along comes Polyphonic. It's a simple model; fund a well-run Artist business. You do this by bringing all income streams into one company (Record, Publishing, Live and Merchandise). Hire "best in practice" services to feed and support the artists business. Such services would include digital and physical music distribution, marketing, publicity, promotion, publishing administration, merchandise, film and TV placement, live touring and sponsorship.
We have been testing various versions of this model at Nettwerk since 2003 with great success, yet I believe Polyphonic will be even better as Nettwerk, like most companies, is good at a lot of things, but not all things. Nettwerk will offer up some of its "best in practice services" to Polyphonic, but to be clear using such is not a prerequisite. We want what is best for the Artist business. The success on ATC with Radiohead is well documented. The Mama group is a great collection of Managers, Promoters and Venue owners. So the founders of Polyphonic have decades of experience in all areas of this model.
So out of the sandbox we step, its time to play on the beach.