Welcome to the next installment of BTM – a weekly series where we get to shine a spotlight on some of the hard-working people “Behind The Music”; the artists managers, booking agents, publicists, indie label owners, music website editors and so on.
This week’s spotlight is shining on Dany Harley who runs his own independent record label, Exist Recordings, and is also an established ARIA award nominated artist known as The Kite String Tangle. Having experience in both the creative and business side of the music industry gives Danny some great insight into how it all works, and how it should work.
Tell us who you are, what you do, and who you represent?
I’m Danny Harley. I’m an artist / producer under the moniker The Kite String Tangle and I’m an indie record label owner with Exist. Recordings (roster includes Golden Vessel, Close Counters, Reynier)
How did you get into this line of work?
I’ve always had a keen interest in music from a very young age and that naturally led into an obsession with it in my later years. I was then able to somehow make it my career as an artist. It wasn’t easy though and I’d struggle to make ends meet and to garner any attention in other bands for many years. I think because of that struggle, many bands, my own included, turn to DIY methods of promotion and this was when I started to get my feet wet on the business side. This later developed into starting my own label and releasing music from other artists through Exist. Recordings
What are some of your biggest achievements?
I’ve been able to play many festivals and do lots of touring and get some serious runs on the board with TKST. This really changed my life and also allowed me to gain a lot more music industry experience which then helped me guide other artists through the label as they experience the same wins and struggles. I think signing my first two acts Golden Vessel and LASTLINGS was a really defining moment for the label and made it all real; it’s still one of my highlights for the label.
Tell us one thing that you would love to see change or happen that you feel would help make the music industry a better place?
I feel that the fewer gate keepers the better. Music promotion has been democratised a fair bit recently and I’d like to see that trend continue. A level playing field helps the focus stay on music rather than other factors outside of an artists control. I’d also like for the lead times before releases to be a bit shorter. I feel like social media is trending towards more of an immediate access model and I think that would be interesting to explore for music too.
What is your most favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
My favourite part of the industry is how fast everything changes, it really drives you to keep up and think innovatively.
What is your least favourite thing about the industry or what you do?
I feel like there’s still quite a strong influence from major labels on radio and streaming and although those scales are tipping, I feel like there’s a fair bit of progress still to be made there for indie labels.
Where do you see the future of the industry heading?
I think that there is going to be a shift from a one-price-for-all subscription method into some sort of arrangement where you pay a fee for basic (limited) access and pay extra for the music that you engage with often or want extra content from. This way artists have the opportunity to be paid more from their fans and passive listens are less powerful. This will be more profitable for the streaming services, the consumer gets more choice about where and how they spend their money and gains access to even more content and products, and the artist has the opportunity to profit and promote themselves in many more ways than just the standard stream of a song at a set price.
What do you do to unwind outside of the industry/work?
When I get sick of label work I make music and vice versa, so between them they keep me busy 😉 otherwise, I love a wine and a chat with friends.