In a recent interview with Billboard, the creators of indie management label Electric Feel spoke with Ashley Lyle about their strategy for uncovering fresh talent. As it turns out, in-person connections still reign supreme.
Those unfamiliar with Electric Feel's name are almost certainly familiar with their roster of talent, which has collectively produced over 10 billion streams and 20 GRAMMY nominations in 2017, and includes the producers behind the No. 1 and 2 songs in the country right now: Post Malone and 21 Savage's "rockstar" and Camila Cabello and Young Thug's "Havana."
The trio, made up of Austin Rosen, James Canton and Justin Stirling, attest that they’re more likely to sign an artist that pops up at their studio than they are an artist racking up plays on SoundCloud.
“The studio was just to find talent and put [the artists] together,” he noted. “It was to connect people and give them a place to work. I didn't have to have someone else picking people. We had a chance to pick people and find out about them. We got to do it on our own terms, so that we were able to develop talent and work together.”
Rosen, the company's founder and CEO, opened the studio before formally starting the management label, with the goal of attracting and bringing together new talent. As for scouting talent in the studio, Canton believes there is no better place. “[The studio is] the best location… A random kid might come in here one night and we might be able to do great things together.”
While the trio admits that SoundCloud is a good place to stumble upon someone new and to gauge an artist’s reach, Canton stressed that “first and foremost,” the studio is a sacred place and will remain the true stomping grounds for artists with star potential.
Of course, you don't have to be a music manager to tell the difference between material that is manufactured in a bedroom and uploaded directly to an on-demand streaming service, and the end result of two artists converging in a formal studio setting; you just need to know the difference between a "moment" artist and a "career" artist.
So rappers, go ahead, get your SoundCloud clout up, but it might also be a good idea to get outside of your comfort zone, literally, and shake some hands in order to build some lasting relationships.