Sabrina Imbrogno // Instagram @sabrinaimbrogno
There’s a second gold rush underway, still in California… but this time people are in pursuit of platinum. Countless bright-eyed hopefuls have made their way to the West Coast with nothing but ambition and a dream. But now more than ever, you don’t need to pick up and move to an overpriced apartment in a shoddy LA neighborhood to succeed. So unpack those suitcases, settle into mom and dads for a little longer, and you could have millions coming your way. At least that’s what happened to Montero Lamar Hill, better known as Lil Nas X.
Two-time Grammy award winner, Lil Nas X, did not get to where he is today by putting it all on the line. Hill purchased an instrumental track from a music licensing website, BeatStars, for a trifling $30. This insignificant purchase would soon become the basis of his hit single, Old Town Road, a rap-country fusion which he independently recorded and released. The song first went viral on video-sharing social networking service, TikTok. Fast forward to 2020, and the single has been re-released by Columbia Records and remixed with major country music artist, Billy Ray Cyrus.
Old Town Road is now the biggest hit in the history of popular music, having remained at number one on the charts longer than the likes of legends such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, etc. This feat alone proves that anyone given the right circumstances can achieve inconceivable fame without the intervention of a label or mainstream professional services.
The rapid development of technology and the rise of social media have given the music industry a run for their money, leaving major record labels scrambling to keep up. As the digital space continues to evolve, labels are forced to adapt. Back in prehistoric times, before YouTube and SoundCloud, labels held all of the control within the music industry. Now, the control lies in the hands of the artist. Experimenting artists can create uninhibited, unregulated, and uncommercialized music. Stars can literally be born overnight with the click of a reassuring button labeled “share” or “post.”
Who said that artists have to be broke or starving? With the emergence of new platforms, you can have a 10x Platinum single and still keep your day job. This way you can skip the commercial flight to California, and book private later on for when you’re walking down the red carpet to accept your “Best New Artist” award.
Sabrina Imbrogno is a student at the College of Charleston studying Arts Management and Marketing. Imbrogno is passionate about the music industry and purses music recreationally in her spare time- she is the President of the College of Charleston Acabelles and is a classically trained vocalist.