Can social media ‘influencers’ do a better job than label A&Rs?

Heard Well is a new record label founded by YouTube sensation Connor Franta in tandem with some entertainment biz bigshots.

It will release compilation albums made up of tracks from unknown artists, all curated by Franta and his fellow ‘social media influencers’.

These will include Franta’s fellow YouTube stars Amanda Steele (2.4 million subscribers), Lohanthony (1.5 million) and Jc Caylen (2.4 million).

Heard Well – which is co-run by Big Frame talent manager Andrew Graham and entrepreneur Jeremy Wineberg, who heads up his own Opus Label music distribution and licensing company – even dubs itself the “first music label powered by social tastemakers”.

As for Franta, he boasts over 4.7 million YouTube subscribers and 3.2 million Twitter followers.

You can see the thinking here: these social media ‘influencers’ pick an album made up of their favourite unknowns and then, presumably, use their leverage online to promote their tracks to millions.


“We’re looking at digital influencers as modern A&R executives.”

Andrew Graham (pictured)

Does this really qualify as the age-old art of A&R?

Heard Well’s owners certainly seem to think so.

“We see a wonderful opportunity to build a talent-friendly label that rewards and empowers influencers for promoting the music they love, while simultaneously offering musicians a new, meaningful means of discovery,” said Franta.

And there’s an even more telling quote in a Variety article on the label.

“We’re looking at digital influencers as modern A&R execs,” said Graham.

Expect that statement to cause some debate across the label world this morning.

Graham left MCN Full Screen to join talent agency Big Frame with Larry Shapiro last year.

He managed YouTube supergroup Our Second Life before helping Franta leave the band to focus on his solo career.

Heard Well will reportedly share a cut of revenue with its artists.Music Business Worldwide

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