Colin Lester – Music Industry Talk

Colin Lester is a man with years of experience and when it was advertised that he’d come in for a talk about the music industry, how can you say no?

Paul Rutter, the host, started the conversation about how the students can be successful in this tough industry.  Lester spoke about collaborations and how important they are when it comes to traction and how they can make it.  In his years of working in this industry he spoke about how collaborations are organic and never forced, although it won’t sell as much, it will benefit the artists so much more. 

But the manager of top selling artists also mentioned that singles do better than albums do when it comes to streaming/making money from it/interest from record labels.  When it comes to playlists on Spotify such as “New Music Friday” singles will always do better as it’s easy to market and playlists are becoming more popular.

“We’re living in the death of an album”

Within the talk, Lester mentioned about how the albums are dying because of streaming and how even when you get to a million streams, it roughly makes it out to £3-5000 for getting to that number of streams.  The feeling in the room changed once that was spoken about, but the manager then talked about how without making an album, you can do well.

“If your music is good, it’ll be picked up”

Lester talked about an artist he manages, Big Zuu, a grime artist who is getting bigger and bigger, and how his numbers are so high that even without an album, he makes more money because of it.  He talked about how independent labels will always be the best way to start your career, which is true when it comes to any band/artist you listen to as they all started at independent labels and became who they are today.  But he also mentioned how Big Zuu is different to every other artist in the grime scene today, he talks about politics and never mentions knife crime in his lyrics, to which is different to how grime is today.

“Knowledge is everything”

To conclude his insight into his experience of the industry he talked about how researching where to upload your music is the key thing.  Lester and Rutter went back and forth over the fact that people don’t listen to an album all the way through once it’s released or most people don’t even bother to look at who produced the album.  Which is why he briefly mentioned that YouTube will be the only game in town in five years and it’s slowly catching up on how to help pay artists for the music.  YouTube is becoming something that everyone uses on a daily basis, even when Lester rang Craig David towards the end of the talk to ask students questions and the award winning artist helped the students understand that being humble is how you will win in this industry.