President of Warner Music Australasia Dan Rosen is this week’s guest on Josh Pyke and Elana Stone’s new podcast, “It’s Raining Mentors.” In this episode, Dan provides real insight from his top job at one of the world’s most high-profile record labels on what the musician’s dream of a major label deal means in 2022. Listen to “It’s Raining Mentors” on Apple Podcasts or Spotify Podcasts.
Dan sees major labels as the “venture capitalists of the music business,” drawing a parallel with the investors behind innovative new startups and the way they balance backing talent, taking risks and hopefully sharing in the upside.
Why does a musician need a major label deal? “For an artist that is trying to get maximum exposure and hopefully break internationally, it makes a lot of sense,” Dan tells Elana and Josh. “And arguably, the artist might be giving up more [once signed], but you’re giving up more of hopefully a bigger pie,” Dan continues. “So you can stay independent or work on a distribution deal. And we have our own distribution arm where the artist retains more of their copyright, but we provide less services,” he adds. As the world of music gets infinitely larger, artists proliferate at a cracking pace and every mobile user becomes their own niche music market, the record “deal” has never been more malleable and customisable.
Dan is passionate about making Warner an artist-driven vehicle. “So for me, I think the days of a label “manufacturing” an artist – that’s certainly not what we’re about,” Dan says. “What we want to do is find an artist that understands who they are, where they want to go. And then we can be the engine to really help them achieve their vision. You want them to be 70-80% of the way there in terms of who they think they are as an artist, and then we can put the engine in the infrastructure around them. To help them achieve that,” he continues.Dan Rosen’s background isn’t unusual – he’s another one of those industry figures who started out on the stage. In fact, he won the first Triple J Unearthed competition with his band way back in the day. “He has the spirit of a musician, which I think a lot of people in the industry have. It’s just a love for human connection and all that stuff. So it’s been quite reassuring, I think meeting a lot of these people [whilst making the podcast,” Elana says.
On the next fortnightly episode of “It’s Raining Mentors,” Josh and Elana meet Marijuzka Cornelius, A&R Director of Ivy League Records.