The business, Artists Rewards, is a loyalty program that seeks to strengthen the national brand. It is focused majorly on the music industry. Robert Terell acts as a significant force in the Artists Rewards team in their quest to connect music artists with third-party vendors.
Artists Rewards simply helps connect these artists with providers who have high integrity to enhance the professional careers of these artists. They serve as a bridge between the artist and vendors to the end that a higher level of brand loyalty is attained.
In this interview, Robert gave clarity to some grey areas of their business. He answered some of our questions on some innovative actions that the team is taking to achieve the goals.
Hello Robert, can you tell us about the background of Artists Rewards and your experiences while going into this industry?
The business idea of Artists Rewards came alive in November 2019, but we had a formal lunch on May 1, 2020. Before the lunch of the business, I had been in the music industry for a total of 25 years working as a celebrity and business manager. The artists I have managed were high profile clients in the music industry such as the Grammy-winning artist, “Jackie’s Boy,” and several other artists who are multi-platinum, and Gold RIAA certified artists like Silkk the Shocker, Soul for Real, J-Dub (Bad Boy), Nancy Denis (Bad Girls Club/Oxygen Network) and a couple of other bestselling celebrity clients.
I am also the founder and CEO of the #1 ranked Artist Development Company in the music industry. My diverse and vibrant background has opened my eyes to a massive void in the music industry for artists and industry service providers. This void is what our business is set to fill and also to mine wealth for independent artists by connecting them to suitable vendors.
What the network does is to connect. The parties being connected by us are what you can guess already, the artists and the third-party vendors, and we offer rewards for good business practices in this regard. This “connecting and rewarding” concept we are working on is overdue for the industry, which is mostly deregulated. Do you know that almost 97 percent of music artists who work in the industry mostly work unsigned? This poses a significant risk for them. They might get to take some steps in the wrong direction, which may eventually be harmful to their career if they do not get an experienced team to work with them. Artists Rewards seeks to address this exact issue by giving members access to industry service providers.
“Artists Rewards is a revolutionary, ground-breaking concept that will influence how independent artists and service providers conduct business.” In his words, “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 it will transcend the culture as we know it.”
So, on the Artists Rewards platform, where do artists redeem their points?
Artists Rewards is not working lone. We have teamed up with industry rewards leaders, “Qarrot.” This would enable the artists to redeem their points through their member login on the membership platform. The way it works is this; the artist would earn a reward for every transaction made and completed through the network. These points are allocated. Hence, they can be redeemed for the services that have been provided by these ICPs (Industry Certified Providers). It can be done this way. Or they can choose to reward themselves for all their hard work by using their points to get things from some respectable brands such as Ulta, Nike, Starbucks, Best Buy, Amazon, Macy’s, Hulu, Target, and so more.
Artists Rewards as a business majorly targets integrity within the music industry. We make it our business to ensure that a vendor delivers exceptional work when an artist pays for such services from them. This outstanding work is expected to be in the form of quality services, respect for time and deadlines, and basically exceeding the artists’ expectations. Hence, we help to build a quality relationship between artists and industry service providers, which essentially culminates into brand loyalty.
Are there some challenges you faced while the business was being set up? Can you share some of them with us?
Definitely, we faced some challenges at first. The biggest of them was educating the independent artists on the gold mine this is. It was quite a challenge having to educate the artists on their advantage of higher ROI-return on their brand investment by purchasing services through our certified network rather than just selecting random services online that are not certified and would not give them quality services as ours would. They get rewards for conducting business with the vendors, which directly impacts their brand representation. Having to gain their trust was a difficulty in the beginning until some artists started making use of the services and received remarkable high results such a low price.
Another challenge was making a profit as a company. That seems quite funny, but we initially had difficulty making all the numbers work for everybody involved. There was a goal in sight, which was to maintain the services level and membership benefits at high-value propositions while still offering it at a low cost to serve the large crowd of artists who sincerely need the services the most. There was also a lot of work to do on brand awareness, marketing, and client acquisition, which all new enterprises are naturally challenged with. Hence, we recently launched an affiliate marketing program that has significantly increased the rate of clients we have as well as spurred our growth.
What are the critical differences attached to being the three membership levels? Gold, platinum, and platinum VIP?
The specific variations that exist between these membership levels are the price, level, diversity of services that the artist has access to at their membership levels. As an artist increases in the membership levels, the more access such artists get to more valuable services and necessary resources that would take him to the next level.
There are some label services that most independent artists are priced out of having access to. They are made available at higher membership levels. These labels include Major PR Music Investors, Media Promo, A&R access pass to meet with major label executives such as Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Atlantic Records, Republic, Interscope, just to mention a few.
The value proposition sporadically increases while the investment into the program does not increase at all. The artists receive strategic partnerships that would accelerate their careers and put them on a springboard to grow their careers with a monthly partnership progressively.
What do you think about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, its effect on the music industry at large, and even much more, your business model?
The live show format has taken an enormous hit from this pandemic in my own opinion. The way the industry works is in such a way that large audiences and live experiences are the lifeblood of it. When the seriousness of the pandemic became apparent, there were blatant attempts to adjust and react quickly. Still, I’m not exactly sure if we were fast enough to invent ourselves. The effect is so massive such that a whole year of tours, major music conferences, festivals, gigs, and events were canceled. That is simply not good. Those events that were not canceled are in doubt of the foreseeable future. However, I believe that we would recalibrate and embrace the new norm, but it will never be the same as it was before.
In terms of my Artists Rewards, we are on a constant move to grow and thrive despite the fact of the current happening. We still are in the business of providing the artists and industry service providers with affordable solutions. The work is not in a standstill. The works of artists are still ongoing as they always make music and write songs. The companies are selling some music marketing services for artists to promote their brand through digital marketing, social media, YouTube, visual branding, and what have you. Remarkably, this is the time when music artists, labels, marketing agencies, and fans would bond even much more as they all come to share their life experiences and see what makes music so relatable for the whole world. I firmly believe that the digital service providers are still going to blossom and transcend culture as we have it now in the foreseeable future.
Thank you, Robert, for your time!