Analysis

Smule talks music apps, Jessie J, subscriptions and songwriters


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“How important is a record deal now? Bieber was one of the first discovered through social media, then he went off and signed the record deals and the rest, but I wonder how important those deals are now, and in the future?”

Jeff Smith, chief executive of music apps developer Smule, is mulling a question from Music Ally about the role its 25m-strong community can play in discovering new singers, and whether the next logical step for those people will be label deals.

It’s not a silly question: in May, British singer Tom Bleasby claimed to be fielding calls from labels after his virtual duet with Jessie J using Smule’s Sing! Karaoke app went viral on Facebook and YouTube.

But back to Smith. “I’ve got nothing against the labels: I think they’ve played an important role, but I think they’re increasingly less relevant. Certainly from a marketing standpoint because artist management has taken that over.”

Stuart Dredge

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