Companies are increasingly using the internet to facilitate online scout networks, empowering communities of young people interested in a certain field to submit their findings for consideration through online portals. Some of these companies use their scout networks to collect and provide intelligence on fashion, sports, and emerging brands. Others are specific to music.
On the music-specific front, Major Label Scout has separated itself from the pack.
The NYC-based A&R consultancy firm, founded by former Arista Records exec Ken Krongard (credited with signing Avril Lavigne), utilizes a network of 200 scouts dispersed across the US, the UK, and Canada to provide recommendations to its major label and publisher partners, as well to find potential management clients. Artists discovered and signed through the company include Jason Reeves (Warner Bros.), Inward Eye (RCA), and Joe Brooks (Lava/Universal Republic).
MLS was the first music company I got involved with. The scout program can almost be viewed as an online internship, and it’s focus on education certainly redefined the way I look at artist evaluation, making me much more selective in judging mainstream viability. In the hopes that some of our readers may be able to get as much from the program as I have, I direct your attention to the following:
MLS is now accepting applicants for the final time this year (click HERE to apply).
Submit, review, and receive feedback on artists. Scouts are each responsible for submitting an artist on a cyclical basis, as well as reviewing artists submitted by fellow scouts. So, in addition to having your submissions considered by MLS for presentation to its clients, you gain critical listening skills. Furthermore, the MLS team provides feedback on your finds, helping you get inside the heads of major labels/publishers and tailor future submissions accordingly. Anyone considering a career in which artist evaluation important (A&R, manager, music supervisor, music journalist, etc.) can benefit from the process.
Receive access to educational materials. First, MLS provides it’s own learning materials on A&R. Second, it has a partnership with Berkleemusic to offer access to content from the school’s music business courses, as well as to videos and articles on career strategies in the music industry. Finally, it gives scouts access to a collection of relevant articles and interviews with industry people from across the web.
Take part in conference calls. Each cycle, a group of scouts gets to take part in a conference call with the experienced MLS team, giving them a chance to ask questions and discuss the industry with people who are in the trenches everyday.
Engage in marketing activities. Every so often, the company launches scout-inclusive marketing initiatives for its artists, great experience for anyone who wants to learn about music marketing. In fact, the company’s creative Facebook marketing campaign for Jason Reeves inspired this Artists House post.