Capitol Records senior vp world artistic Amber Grimes kicked her panel on the 2019 Billboard Live Summit with a easy assertion: “The future of hip-hop and R&B is female.”

That assertion echoed resoundingly properly for the panel she was moderating, referred to as “The Future of Hip-Hop and R&B” on Wednesday (Nov. 6). On the panel had been LVRN co-founder/president Tunde Balogun; UTA music agent Chris Jordan; The Revels Group co-founder/CEO and Big Juice Party Poppin Promotions founder/CEO Jamil Davis; CAA music agent Joe Harris; Since The 80s founder/senior vp advertising and marketing Kei Henderson; and Black Wax co-founder Justin LaMotte. And one of the main components in that feminine future — aside from the apparent level that Harris made that “the music is really good right now” — is streaming.

“There are a lot of female artists out here doing their thing and streaming like crazy and girls can look at them and say, ‘I want to be like that,'” mentioned Henderson. Harris agreed: “Because of the platforms available to artists now, it’s up to the fans to say, ‘I like them, I want to listen to them.'”  

For Balogun, whose multi-hyphenate firm represents artists akin to Summer Walker and 6LACK, streaming has catapulted his artists from the fringes of well-liked music to the very tops of the charts. “Streaming has changed myself and my whole company’s life,” he mentioned. “Our music wasn’t commercially consumed until now presently, when fans grab onto things they really like.” He pointed to the most recent launch from Walker, which landed at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in October with the most important streaming week ever for an R&B album by a lady, for example. “Labels and people don’t really know how to quantify things from a fan level — it’s always numbers, numbers, numbers,” he mentioned. “But culturally, she was becoming a phenomenon.”

And as streaming has boosted hip-hop and R&B to the No. 1 genres within the United States, there’s been a marked influence on the stay sector, too. “Before 10 or 12 years ago, I don’t know how many artists were doing arenas outside of Snoop and Dre and Eminem,” mentioned Davis. “As hip-hop has gotten bigger, it’s more of a touring presence now.”

That’s additionally included the rise of artist-curated festivals, akin to Travis Scott’s Astroworld or Lil Wayne’s Lil Weezyana, which have turn out to be massively profitable previously a number of years. “”Every artist desires to have one thing that’s their very own,” Harris said. “They’re artists — they prefer to create issues.” And Jordan sees room for them to improve moving forward: “Artist-curated festivals are going to develop and be extra dynamic, and to maintain followers coming and shopping for tickets they have to be extra interactive.”

Many of the panelists are entrepreneurs who’ve began their very own corporations, whether or not in touring, administration or labels. And in response to a query from Grimes, Henderson confused that collaboration is essential for the long run of hip-hop and R&B, for each corporations and artists. “We’re only a extra collaborative era,” she said. “Collaboration is the one method you get innovation and you get new concepts.” Added Harris, “The extra collaboration is there, the extra it helps the artist.”

“Entrepreneurship teaches you that you must make errors,” said Balogun, whose company has a deal with Interscope. “If you don’t make errors you gained’t actually know what you’re good at.” LaMotte, who co-manages Ari Lennox alongside Paris Hines, added that typically being an entrepreneur means doing every thing you possibly can to make issues work. “I don’t suppose it issues how massive or small my artist is — from leap, I need to put on completely different hats,” he said. “I needed to study early on.”

Another large element when trying to the long run is social media — and, as Davis identified, referencing Lil Nas X’s “genius” specifically — “some artists simply know use the Internet.” But it’s an increasingly important component for artists’ careers. “I admire an artist who has a imaginative and prescient for themselves and desires to be themselves,” said Henderson, specifically referencing 21 Savage, who she managed. “It’s actually arduous once you get an artist who has no concept who they’re.”

But Balogun identified that it additionally raises important difficulties. “More than ever in a social media world it’s arduous for artists, as a result of we don’t permit them any time to develop,” he said. “If we actually wish to maintain our nice artists, now we have to provide them time to develop, and give them area to mess up typically.”

And as a result of every thing strikes so shortly, it may be tough now to establish artists who can turn into stars earlier than others leap in. “For me, equally essential because the music is the enterprise across the artist,” said Jordan, noting that it’s not always easy to identify if an aspiring artist has what it takes or the team to take them there. “But once you’re an agent, you gotta suppose long-term … It’s a wedding, it’s not a short-term factor.”

That, then, speaks once more to the primary theme of the panel: The future of hip-hop and R&B, with the panelists hoping to construct careers for each the artists they work with and the businesses they run and work for. “It’s not horny. It’s very, very arduous,” said Balogun, referring to building LVRN. “You need to put each final greenback you will have into it with a view to make it work. And in case you’re not keen to try this, don’t do it.”

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