Tencent backed artist growth company FRTYFVE isn’t your traditional record label, but is making waves within the industry nonetheless as they have already acquired the likes of AWAL and Platoon.
“What we care about in the signing process is whether or not we believe we can realistically get you to 10 million streams a month,” says Conrad Withey, the UK-based founder of the company. “Because, once you reach that point, it means you’re making a living from music.”
FRTYFVE boasts some notable successes, such as SadBoyProlific (2.5 million Spotify monthly listeners) and New York-based pop artist Rachel Grae (1.9 million), while its fastest-growing acts include non-binary ‘interdisciplinary’ artist Rio Romeo (646k Spotify monthly listeners).
FRTYFVE’s Label Director, Emma Banks claims that its artists grow their streaming business by 463% in their first year after signing with the firm, and could be a big boon to the music content creators space as well.
“I went to see a live agent the other month and told him that an artist we both work with is releasing a track every couple of weeks with us,” says Withey. “He nearly fell off his chair, and said: ‘Every couple of weeks?! We have artists in the studio right now agonizing over selecting the music they’re going to take to the market.’
“That made me think: how does any artist know what music the market wants… without asking the market?”
“The beauty of streaming for independent artists is you can get to a place where you start making $3k to $5k a month – or for some artists much more – without investing an awful lot [in marketing]. All that matters is growing an audience that loves you, converting that into streams, which then converts into predictable income. There is no influencer required in that process. And guess what? Streaming algorithms really like fans who share music, save music, and keep streaming.
“I get frustrated when streaming economics are bemoaned by artists who don’t have a real fanbase. They might think they do, because a certain trendsetting radio station is playing their music, or they sold a few thousand albums ten years ago and received an advance. But if you strip all of that away, if your music’s on streaming services today and you’re not getting a lot of plays – and therefore not getting very much money as a result – it’s because you don’t have a real fanbase.”