Artist Rewards by Indie Hitmakers is a national brand loyalty program, specifically tailored to the music industry. Robert Terell is a core part of the team at Artist Rewards, as they hope to connect music artists with third party vendors and other trusted providers (whom can help advance the careers of such musicians).
Like any other business, the purpose of Artists Rewards is to strengthen customer relationships (between vendor and artist), culminating in higher levels of brand loyalty.
Robert answered some of our questions.
Hi Robert, when was Artist Rewards founded and what experience did you have before entering the industry?
Artist Rewards was conceptualized in November of 2019 and formally launched on May 1, 2020. Prior to launching Artist Rewards I have been in the music industry for over 25 years as an executive and Celebrity Business Manager. I’ve managed a Grammy Winning artist “Jackie’s Boy”, and several multi-platinum, and Gold RIAA certified selling artists such as; Silkk the Shocker, Soul for Real, J-Dub (Bad Boy), Nancy Denise (Bad Girls Club/Oxygen Network) and many other Celebrity clients.
I am also the founder and CEO of the #1 ranked Artist Development Company in the music industry- Wealth Nation. So my diverse and extensive background in the industry allowed me to recognize a huge void in the business practices between independent artists and industry service providers.
How exactly does Artist Rewards work? In other words, how does your platform assist music artists to get recognition?
Artist Rewards is a national brand loyalty program and membership network. The platform is designed to boost the career of independent artists while bridging the credibility gap between artists and industry service providers. Artist Rewards provides members with a return on their brand investment through a variety of much needed services like digital radio airplay, streaming, PR, digital marketing and advice from top industry experts.
The network also connects artists with trusted third-party vendors and offers rewards for good business practices. This concept is long overdue since the music industry is highly unregulated. Independent artists, who make up an estimated 97 percent of musicians in the industry, often work unsigned. Without an experienced team, emerging artists face many risks on the path to developing a successful career. Artist Rewards addresses that issue by giving members access to Industry Certified service providers.
“Artist Rewards is a revolutionary, groundbreaking concept that will influence how independent artists and service providers conduct business,” says industry connoisseur and CEO, Rob Terell of Wealth Nation/Sony Music group. “We are bringing something of tremendous value to the space, and the hope is that the community will embrace it and respect it. We are doing something that has never been done before and I believe that it is going to transcend the culture as we know it.”
Where can artists redeem their points?
Artist Rewards has teamed up with industry rewards leader “Qarrot” so artists redeem their points through their member login on the membership platform. Artists earn reward points every time they complete a transaction made through the network, reward points are allocated, and can be redeemed for services provided by Industry Certified providers or they can reward themselves for all their hard work by utilizing their points with major brands such as: Amazon, Best Buy, Hulu, Macy’s, Nike, Ulta, Starbucks, Target, and so many more.
Artist Rewards is focused on business integrity within the music industry. Our company ensures that if an artist pays a vendor for a service, that vendor will deliver exceptional work, on time, and exceed their expectations. The program is designed to foster and facilitate quality business relationships between artists and industry service providers which can ultimately translate into brand loyalty.
What were some of the initial challenges of starting the business?
The biggest challenge we faced was educating independent artists on how they could potentially attain a greater ROI-Return on their brand investment by purchasing services through our certified network, rather than just randomly selecting services online and hope it all works out for them. We reward them for conducting good business with the vendors which has a direct impact on their brand representation. Gaining their trust was a huge hurdle in the beginning until many artists actually started utilizing the services and received great results for such a low price. Another significant challenge was figuring out how to make all the numbers work for everybody involved and still make a profit as a company in the end.
Our goal is to maintain the service level and membership benefits at a high value proposition while offering it at a low cost in order to serve the masses of artists that really need the services most. As with all new business ventures increasing the level of brand awareness, marketing, and client acquisition were all challenges in the beginning that we had to figure out as a team. We recently launched an “Affiliate Marketing program” that has significantly increased client acquisitions and excelled our growth.
What are the key differences (or benefits) attached to the three membership levels – Gold, Platinum and Platinum VIP?
The key benefit differences are the amount, level, and diversity of services provided to the artist member based on their membership level. As you increase in the membership levels within the network you gain access to more valuable and necessary resources that an independent artist needs to reach the next level. Many label services that most independent artists are priced out of receiving such as: Major PR, Music Investors, Media Promo, A&R access pass to meet with major label executives from power companies such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Republic, Interscope are made available to artists at the higher membership levels.
The value proposition increases significantly while the investment into the program doesn’t increase substantially at all. The requirement of the member to have their membership for a period of time such as 3 months or 6 months fosters an environment of brand loyalty internally and transcends the inherent cultural relationship that exists between artists and industry vendors. With a monthly membership, artists receive strategic partnerships and value added benefits that support their career and allow artists to economically grow their brand progressively.
In your opinion, how will the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affect the music industry, and more significantly, your business model?
In my opinion the most significant impact to the industry has been in the live show format. The music industry is so intrinsically linked with large audiences and live experiences, and when the seriousness of the outbreak became evident, the industry had to attempt to react as quickly as possible but I’m not so sure we were able to reinvent ourselves fast enough. A whole year of festivals, major music conferences, gigs, events, and tours has been cancelled or thrown into doubt as the world is at a standstill for the foreseeable future.
I believe that in time we will recalibrate and embrace the new norm that we will find on the other side of a vaccination or acceptable resolution, but it will never be the same as it was before. In terms of my business, we will continue to grow and thrive as we have been. We actually are providing the right affordable solution at the right time for artists and industry service providers. Artists will be artists and they will always make music, write songs, and seek to perform their craft in front of an audience of music fans. Companies will always be selling some type of music marketing services for artists to promote their brand whether it’s digital marketing, online promotions, social media, you tube, and visual branding, etc. they will find a way and fans will always be consuming music because music is a part of their life. This has been proven historically to be true in all markets and economic conditions globally for over a century since the inception of the music industry’s existence.
In fact its times like this where music artists, executives, companies, and fans band together even more to share their life experiences and embrace the journey that makes music so relatable and transformative to so many people around the world. I fully believe that digital service providers such as our company who provide quality services at affordable prices are going to boom and absolutely transcend the culture and soar to unbelievable heights of success now and for the foreseeable future.