Unless you’re Katy Perry or Taylor Swift or Post Malone or Billie Eilish, the stoppage of live shows and music concerts put a severe dent in the economic status of indie musicians, who depend on live performances for the bulk of their revenue each year.
Streaming platforms only generate income for mega-artists, who rack up tens of millions of streams. For example, an artist or band that amasses one million streams on Spotify receives next to nothing by way of royalties. Depending on who you talk to, one million streams yields anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Even if it’s the latter, it’s not enough to live on.
Writing in The Atlantic, singer-songwriter Torquil Campbell of the band Stars summed it up eloquently: “For musicians, the arrival of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, came as a second cataclysm, the first being music-streaming services’ final triumph about five years ago over other ways of delivering music. Within a year or two, the 40 percent of our income that once came from radio royalties and music sales had vanished, as sites such as Spotify exploded in popularity. These sites pay us an abysmally low royalty rate for our music. My band, Stars, had more than 9 million streams on Spotify last year. Our royalties from that service amounted to less than $35,000. And we split them six ways. Minus management fees. Minus taxes. For 9 million streams of our music. So we had grown accustomed to the sky falling.”
Almost overnight, Campbell’s manner of paying rent and putting food on the table disappeared. And until an effective vaccine becomes generally available, it doesn’t look like it will reappear any time soon.
So what do indie musicians do? Drive an Uber? Frankly, most probably aren’t qualified for the job or are disinclined.
Enter California-based Verticals Agency, a music and lifestyle marketing agency dedicated to offering alternative services to aid artists during the COVID-19 era. As the founder of Verticals Agency, Nima Fadavi, explains, “The new normal, caused by the now infamous contagious respiratory disease, has created a heavy interruption to the way of life of many entertainers. Artists outside the Top 40 rely heavily on live performances to make their living. With a main source of revenue cut out, maximizing digital presence and income opportunities has become essential. Verticals Agency aims to be a guiding light through this time, providing the music industry with services built to help artists survive without live shows.”
A producer and DJ and former Apple App Store employee, Nima Fadavi perceived a need for transparent, reliable, and honest marketing, resulting in the creation of Verticals Agency, which works with artists rather than simply functioning as a third-party consultant.
Grit Daily caught up with Nima Fadavi to ask three pertinent questions.
What motivated you to start the agency?
I was motivated to start Verticals Agency because I saw a serious lack in marketing agencies in the music and lifestyle space.
What makes Verticals Agency different?
We bridge together data/analytics with culture. A lot of agencies have trouble merging the two.
How does Verticals Agency make money?
We charge an agency fee (depends on the work).
Fadavi went on to explain that Verticals Agency erects an ongoing digital infrastructure revolving around data points intended to take full advantage of profit streams, while providing direct-to-consumer solutions, steering clear of middle-men if at all possible. The agency focuses on brand alliances and partnerships, initiating applications outside of live performances, including but not limited to online stores, placement and synching of music in commercials, on television, in video games, and in films, along with other innovative ideas.
Verticals Agency has worked with notable artists, including Stick Figure, Collie Buddz, SOB x RBE, and Slightly Stoopid and hundreds more, scaling online stores and revenue services to meet the needs of bands and the demands of fans.
World-renowned reggae artist Collie Buddz says, “Verticals is my go-to for all digital marketing. They’re able to maximize my budget and break down the numbers and analytics in an extremely digestible way allowing me to make the best decisions for my brand.”
In an industry known for exploiting artists and pocketing the lion’s share of the profits, indie artists should definitely check out Verticals Agency, which operates on the basis of transparent reporting and forthright communication.
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