Kiwi Music Star Creates New Business Model
Posted by Fleur Revell
With her latest album, The Great Heart Robbery, Kiwi music star creates new business model for the music industry.
Sarah Brown is releasing her new album under her own record label to avoid the decreasing profit margin attached to signing with a record label. Brown says this move will improve the financial income as well as allowing her complete creative control.
In an evolving music industry where digital downloads have reduced distribution costs along with profit margins for artists signed with record labels, one of New Zealand’s rising music stars is taking advantage of lower production overheads, by adopting a business model which allows her to sell direct to consumer and music retailers.
Award winning artist, Sarah Brown, will release her album The Great Heart Robbery, under her own record label, Boomusic in a bid to improve shrinking profit margins due to growing music downloads.
It will be the second album she’s released under this label and along with the improved financial outcomes; she says it allows her complete creative control.
“If you’re going to sign with a major label to ever see a cent you have to become a really big artist. So much money gets tipped into the ‘black hole’ and if for some reason you don’t ‘make it’ you are left with nothing but a big fat debt and lose on any possibility of any future projects,” says Brown.
Brown, who juggles her music career with a part-time teaching role at a local school and her new job as a first-time mum has made the Central Hawkes Bay her home. A lifestyle choice she says that would not be open to her if she signed with a major label.
“I just didn’t want to be on the road all the time, under pressure from a big company. Obviously it is tougher to some extent, but it’s also rewarding. Yes traditional labels do have networks, contacts, resources and experience which is of course a huge advantage but if you have access to all of that and still can’t make a living and enjoy life then really what is the point?”
Brown says the industry reaction to her decision to go it alone has been mixed but that NZ on Air had been a huge source of support.
“Music is absolutely one of the hardest industries to get into but luckily enough in NZ we have opportunities you just don’t get in bigger countries. I do get a huge amount of satisfaction every time someone says ‘yes’ or that they like the album and I’ve had a lot of doors open lately.”
The Great Heart Robbery was written over several years when Brown took time out in an isolated cottage in the Marlborough Sounds, accessible only by boat, and in a sleepy village in the south of France.
Brown says as the title of the album suggests, The Great Heart Robbery is a collection of love songs.
“Each song on the album is a song about love in some way,” she says. “Whether it be about a past love or the love of a family member, there’s that strong theme that runs its way through it.”
Recording of the album took Brown to Sydney, where she worked with celebrated music producer Tony Buchen, as well as a collection of experienced session musicians and the strings section of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
Recording took six weeks at Electric Avenue and 301 Studio and resulted in 11 tracks that take listeners on an eclectic yet cohesive journey. It was then sent to New York City to be mastered by Chris Gehringer at Sterling Sound, who has worked with acclaimed artists such as Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone and Jewel.
As well as the creative process Sarah is also heavily involved in logistics, she’s currently planning The Great Heart Robbery nationwide tour with her five piece band.
For more information, or to purchase a copy of The Great Heart Robbery, visit www.sarahbrown.co.nz.