Thursday, August 03, 2006

Unsigned Artist Lilly Allen Signed to United Talent Agency Based on My Space Tracking?

According to Reuters and my local news’ entertainment report, a UK artist named Lilly Allen, who had a Top 10 hit in New Zealand, has been signed by UTA (United Talent Agency) based on her ability to build a fan base on My Space, as well as her talent.

I have no doubt that could happen, if extremely high numbers of profile views, downloads, etc. were consistent and attendance at an artist’s shows was consistently high. Labels have certainly looked at artist’s mailing list numbers for years (especially in rock), and it’s often used as a determining factor when deciding between two artists. (And she had a label deal with Warner in the past, which I’m sure came into consideration.) So, My Space tracking and fan base numbers are an important consideration, regardless of how valid this story turns out to be.

The question is, will those page views and downloads translate into consistent ticket sales and interest in seeing the artist on TV and at other personal appearances? The solidity factor of the fan base may not be there to translate into a concert draw...Will a fan base heavily based on My Spacers go out and spend dollars on tickets? So if it’s true, I’d expect this artist to do a lot of webcasts and podcasts and other alternate income streams and not rely on traditional touring.

(I don’t include CD sales/ major label record deals in the income stream in this discussion because agents have nothing to do with record deals. Agents handle concerts, TV appearances, paid web appearances, film, and books, and some kinds of endorsements.)

Many people in the industry are waiting to see how the story plays out, and whether or not it’s even true. One report I saw about this story contained quotes from her rep that seemed to mention My Space more than the artist, and they’re pointing this out as suspect. Some people are wondering if it’s actually a publicity stunt for My Space, or if Lilly Allen signed an endorsement deal with My Space, or if her agency is possibly now representing My Space.

Given the timing, it’s a possibility, because My Space has certainly received their share of bad press over the past several months, and many members of the media seem not to know about the music aspect of My Space. Also, this week it was reported that My Space slipped to #2 in website hit rankings.! The first major talent agency signing of an unsigned artist, based on My Space tracking.

Or, it could be that the whole thing is true, and that My Space found out about it and issued a press release.

We’ll see...Meanwhile, if you’re an aspiring artist, never overlook the importance of building a large, solid fanbase online and offline, so that it translates into butts in seats. (Butts in seats sell CDs paid downloads and put more butts in seats. For a new artist, CD sales alone don’t put butts in seats.)

Live your dreams!

Randi Reed
Founder / Editor in Chief,

Copyright 2006 Randi Reed and All rights reserved.