Interview with Michael Filson from ArtiSans Label

The Croissant team got a chance to sit down with one of our members, Michael Filson. In this interview, we talk about about his business, ArtiSans Label, and about the music industry in general. ArtiSans Label helps emerging artists get their music out into the world without using a traditional record label.

So without further adieu…

The video:

What is Artisan’s Label’s mission?

Our mission is to help worthy recording artists build sustainable careers without giving up their rights or their artistic control. Specifically, we help them make albums, doing all the things that a traditional record label would do, but we do it as a customer service. Take for example, a contractor, like someone you hire to build your house. You can do the plumbing yourself, but you will probably hire a contractor.

What is the difference between the music industry in New York and in California?

You know the thing about New York, and this is for everywhere, not just the music industry, is that it takes a lot to be there, just to survive and thrive. You’ve got to have a level of self discipline, drive and grit just to make it sticky. And so I find that more frequently I encounter people in both sides of the business where there’s the music businesses or just the artists themselves they often have the more genuine headachery, in other words, a lot of other artists flock to LA who might want to be there, but people in New York have been there and I just seem to meet people who are much more in it and much more objective.

In 2015, what is an effective way for an artist to stand out above the crowd?

So what’s tough is, and you guys know, recording music is getting devalued. People are spending less money. There’s vinyl revival or even cassette revivals but the whole thing is not as big as before. People are listening to singles now in their Spotify playlists and not as much whole albums. So the bond between fan and artist is really kind of breaking down, and so the things to do are those that help repair or even transcend the old bond. To me I mean access, experiential things. In other words, if you were the artist and I’m the fan, if you could offer me access that I didn’t have, then that bond is restored.

Another example I have is Pledge Music, who is a direct with fans platform, and one of the things they do is some of their artists will go to CVS and pick an old disposable camera and take it with them backstage and snap some shots, on the stage, maybe on the bus, and maybe at home while they’re cooking, and then they send it to a fan. Then that fan goes and develops it, and what it means is this fan is the first and only person who has seen these initimate photos of the artist that they love. They haven’t been on social media and even the artists themselves haven’t developed the photos. So that gives you a special bond with the artists. It’s the artists who are enabling the experience like this who are starting to get ahead and overcome the dip in sales.

What is one reason you use Croissant?

I love coworking, and it has served a good purpose for me, being a transplant from California coming out here. Being able to be with like minds and having community is really important to me as well. But I travel a lot and because I travel a lot, I just can’t, and I don’t want to, pay for a full time spot when I’m not going to be there half the time. And so Croissant was a godsend. I use it as i need it.