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Major Labels Falling Back From Throwing Budget At Every TikTok Sensation.

For the last few years, the majors labels and big budget music corporations were poised to pounce on every music act that looked to be going viral on TikTok and social media in general.

Executives have been heard sharing in interviews and behind the scenes, that their jobs had boiled down to parsing data from streaming and social media platforms, especially TikTok, identifying tracks with graphs that went UP and TO THE RIGHT— once these acts were identified, racing to get a deal locked in with them before anyone else.

Some execs said this type of work felt like stock trading, and nothing like artist development as there was no development involved in getting these acts signed. It was more about taking them off the market, and hogging market share which is a disservice to everyone involved.

Bidding wars became the norm, especially 2019-2022, during the pandemic years. “It felt like every single day another artist signed a deal that was a gazillion dollars,” says another music industry lawyer who requested anonymity to speak candidly to Billboard. “People are spending huge on sound effect records,” one senior executive grumbled in 2020. “There’s a lot of viral stuff now that doesn’t get as much attention as it did a year or year-and-a-half ago,” said Leon Morabia, an associate at Mark Music and Media Law in an interview with Billboard. “A lot of things that should’ve been signed to single deals, labels signed to record deals, and they ended up having to replicate the success and it was virtually impossible. And so they ended up with all these artists on their rosters that they had to service that weren’t actually more than a song. It was bad.”

But now, music attorneys are noticing some different movement within these majors. Speaking to Billboard, Morabia said, “For a while there was a lot of signing going on sight unseen, I see a return to wanting to meet artists in person,” Morabia continues. “I’m hearing questions — ‘Can we meet the kid?’ ‘Can you send us the unreleased music?’ — much more than I did before.”

This is good news for other indie artists who are cultivating a true sound, business and brand. Having a song go viral is amazing, but having other just as good if not better songs, merch, sync opportunities working, B2B relationships growing, and B2C (FAN) funds flowing across several channels, AT THE TIME that your song goes viral is the BEST, because it allows you to take full advantage of the opportunity and not just grab at the first offer that rolls along.

Not sure what your best options are for setting up your independent music business for earning? Get our free consult with recommendations in 4 areas. You use it in conjunction with access to the contacts and opportunities in Total Access of


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