OREGON – In an exclusive interview with True Hollywood Talk, Oregon singer/songwriter Meekoh spoke on 3 ways today’s music landscape can adjust to rising, indie artists who have struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic and (rightfully) being recognized by major streaming platforms.
Meekoh’s latest music video, “From the River,” comes with an action-packed story, where the songwriter revealed in an exclusive interview with CelebMix, that it was one of the most dangerous experiences he’s ever had – but worth every freezing moment.
The music video was filmed by a drone, while the musician was floating on wild rapids across the river in his hometown of Bend, Oregon. “I used to live right behind that river for years; there is just nothing like it to me,” he told CelebMix.
“I think everything is constantly evolving,” he told True Hollywood Talk. “The internet and COVID-19 have changed everything; but I do see beauty in our future. I think people are really seeking out that connectivity and interaction, and music is one of the best ways to bring us all together again.”
#1 – Stop Excluding Indie Artists from the Charts
When we asked Meekoh who he feels most closely aligned with in the industry, he told us Ed Sheeran:
“I’ve always loved how real and authentic Ed Sheeran is,” he told us. “He just seems to really have it all down and puts his family, friends, and mental health first. He also makes music that he really believes in and loves – even if that means standing his ground against the label.”
He also expressed admiration for artists like Vance Joy, Jason Mraz, Amos Lee, and The Lumineers.
As for indie artists like Meekoh, who often struggle with being selected for being playlisted on major recording charts, this is something the pandemic brought to light more than ever.
“I believe indie artists should be given more recognition across radio and streaming platforms. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen this, and I think it would be a great idea to throw in some indie folks like myself on major radio charts to help mix our current sound landscape up.”
Earlier this year, many artists have flocked to other platforms to avoid the systemic bias and willful ignorance major streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music have adopted at the expense of indie artists.
If there was anything we have seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s how neglectful these platforms were towards indie artists, especially when it came to protecting their revenue-dependent consumer fan base.
“But, as one artist after another found out, their annual income from these streaming services was in the very, very low three-figures,” Swedish DJ and serial music entrepreneur Bjorn Niclas told True Hollywood Talk.
Niclas, a music industry veteran, is also the CEO and founder of ROCKI, one of biggest music NFT and music streaming platforms on the blockchain aimed at independent artists and their fans, with an NFT ecosystem built into it. The platform recently partnered with Binance Smart Chain, offering the music streaming communities the first alternative for a streaming and NFT platform all in one. The platform plays host to over 500 different indie artists, who all embrace the idea that they should be properly compensated for their work.
#2 – Pay Indie Artists What They’re Worth; Stop Skimming Them
Second, I’d like to find a way to help all artists get paid what they deserve. Streaming platforms, record labels, and music venues profit so much off of the artist and their music – yet, we are the ones who create but are struggling to pay rent and make an honest living.
One of the major myths in the industry is that musicians are filthy rich, when in reality, they often don’t see a paycheck until 6-12 months after a single or album release. “One thing I believe that is just overlooked, is the financial burden and sacrifice artists make at the expense of their loved ones,” Meekoh told True Hollywood Talk.
“The percentage of artists who make a living off of their music has to be astronomically small; the amount of time we spend away from our loved ones can also really take a mental toll on us all.”
The battle for mental health has been a country-wide issue even before the pandemic, but the entertainment industry has revealed its darkness with scandal and abuse of power. “Mental health is a real thing, and I’m constantly working on myself in attempts to balance my anxiety and depression, because it has only gotten worse over the years. Luckily, I have amazing friends and family who are always there for me when I need them most.”
The Oregon-based songwriter encourages fans to be smart and careful in how they choose to use social media, as “they can also lead down very sad and lonely roads. I always say that being an artist is like being on a wild roller coaster ride that never ends – there are so many ups and downs, but in the end, you just have to learn to enjoy the ride!”
#3 – Addressing Inequality and Systemic Fractures
Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram have certainly changed the means by which artists distribute and promote their music. The pandemic forced artists to become even more creative, to continue attracting more listeners into their fan base.
Perhaps what’s even more intriguing, is how these two platforms have tried to remedy the systemic fractures that the entertainment industry has been subjected to – whether it was a battle for equality and inclusion or standing up and speaking out against incidents of sexual abuse and violence.
“I believe there are still some systemic injustices and fractures in our landscape that we just need to break through,” Meekoh explained. “I won’t go too deep into this subject, but you don’t have to look very hard to see how slow the industry has been to adapt to change. On the flip side, I do see the courage and commitment many artists have given over the past few years to make a real change. I’m proud to be part of such a beautiful transformation. Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are two of the most amazing gifts we’ve been given; we can share our music with anyone at any time, giving us artists the power to control our own destiny in an endless number of ways.”