Colin Lester has spoken to Music Week about his excitement over the state of the music business in 2018, citing industry growth and emerging talent as reasons to be cheerful.
Lester, founder of JEM Entertainment Group, appears on the cover of the latest edition of Music Week with Craig David.
Speaking more generally about the music business, Lester talked about “a new industry” springing up around “grime artists, independent labels and people putting their own stuff out”.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We’re in a very exciting transitional period, and record companies, as I keep reading, are making money again. Record companies are the biggest investors in new music, so it’s great, I’m thrilled they’re making money and long may it continue, that goes around the whole industry.
Speaking at a time when new music tips are buzzing through the business, Lester added: “New music excites me.”
“Looking at this young grime scene coming through, I find it really exciting,” he said. “We’ve needed a new culture for a long time, and we’re now seeing it emerge, we’re seeing Stormzy and the leading grime artists, [but] will they be the ones that take this international?”
However, Lester also confessed to concern about statstics and data possibly taking the place of “gut instinct”.
“What worries me about the music industry, is that we’re losing that gut feeling, because everyone’s looking at statistics, hits on Spotify or streams,” he said. “It works and we use it, but is it taking away our gut instinct where you signed acts not really caring if they got on radio, because you just loved what they were doing?”
“People are going to have to make some serious decisions about these new artists, he continued. “Well, they have a following, [a number of] hits on something [platform], but is that going to translate in them becoming international artists? Or is that worthless and am I going to sign somebody who’s got an amazing talent for writing songs – which will outlive all of us and will outlive this business as far as I’m concerned – who has no hits?"
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