Waking up to new music on a Friday has become a ritual for streaming lovers. When it’s a big name, social media explodes with fans and sceptics alike trying to decide if has automatically become a classic.
Yet, often when a big name like Ariana Grande, Kanye West or Cardi B release new music, they are not alone on the release date and tend to dominate for months after.
In fact, Ariana Grande’s single ‘7 Rings’ has now spent four weeks at number one of the Billboard Top 100, coming in top from her fifth studio album ‘Thank U, Next’.
Today, Offset, from the US rap group Migos, has released his new solo album ‘Father of 4’ that features J Cole, CeeLo Green and Travis Scott.
But how does music from these big stars impact lesser known or emerging artists in a label?
Alice Morrison was the Digital Release Manager at Universal Music Group until September 2018.
Working in a team Alice was assigned two record labels that fall within the Universal Group. Some of the labels Universal control include Def Jam and G.O.O.D. Music (Kanye West’s record label).
Alice emphasises that there are a lot of factors which go into deciding a release date.
“The conversation is instigated by the artist and management and then the label help to advise based on a discussion with the radio plugger (people who help get music on the radio), PR, sales team and digital marketing team.”
She adds that some release weeks are quieter than others but that it also makes sense to avoid clashing release dates with similar artists.
“The date will also be based around artist activity such as live dates and festival performances, and its important to have all assets including a video ready in time.”
Even recognisable named artists can suffer, such as Desiigner, a Brooklyn-born rapper who criticised Kanye and his label G.O.O.D Music for not doing enough for him.
As part of a 5 week music release last May and June, Kanye produced albums for himself, Pusha T, Nas, Teyana Taylor and a collaboration between himself and Kid Cudi, with Desiigner not featured on a single song.
In terms of impacting a emerging London artist Alice thinks that big releases are not a major threat.
“Ariana or Kanye are untouchable to UK emerging artists. They will be featured across streaming partners in a very different way and gain support that is relevant to their level of success.”