Artists from across different genres continue to prove that a major label isn’t a requirement to have a significant presence. Unfortunately, many up and comers fail to understand the limitations of their creativity. In such a situation, some artists have been unable to recognize the benefits of internally managing their career. Indie artists can explore lyrical content and innovative musical styles that are excluded from the mainstream and enjoy retaining full creative control over both their music and their brand. Artistes are opting to go independent instead of signing record deals in the Jamaican music industry by releasing their music through distributors like Hapilos can be a good thing for the industry.
With the rise of music distribution companies like 21st Hapilos that has been catering to both new and established musicians over the past decade, the distribution company has aided in the process of marketing, promotion, legal and other support needed. For independent artists, this means that they now have a chance to enter into professional distribution-only deals to release and circulate their music without a traditional record deal or having to take care of that aspect of the business themselves. The roster for 21 Hapilos highlights three top new voices in Reggae and Dancehall, Sheensea, Squash, and Koffee.
Thanks to proper strategic social media tactics and Youtube views, Reggae singer and guitarist Koffee has now become Jamaica’s biggest breakout star of 2019. One of Koffee’s big hits that propelled her onto the scene is a song called “Burning” produced by Thomas Dubee and Dante Vezina from Upsetta Records based in Los Angeles. Thanks to yet another successful 21st Hapilos Release, this tune put Koffee on the radar. At 19, Koffee is the youngest Jamaican artiste in 41 years to make the U.K. Official Singles chart (at #84) with her smash hit single “Toast.” The single was also charted #1 on Billboards. Koffee’s E.P., Rapture, was released on March 14. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart with first-week sales of 444 copies.
Squash is another up comer and one of Jamaica’s most dominant Dancehall artists on the scene. His single “Trending” debuted through the digital distribution company and immediately gained traction. Other songs by Squash marketed and distributed by 21st Hapilos are “Ohh Lala La,” “Money Fever,” and “Beat Dem Bad.” Being with 21st Hapilos at the start of his career, he has taken full advantage of the record label services which has helped to make him a success. Squash is the main man behind the now very popular Dancehall Team known as “The 6ix”. Although he has been around for many years making music, it was not until 2016 that he started to get the real recognition from players in dancehall and Reggae music industry. Since the start of 2017 Squash has released several underground dancehall tracks. Some of these tracks are: Rebellion, Y Murda, Nah Wait, Blessings, Eyes On You and Keep It, Kool.
Recording artist Shenseea’s breakout song “Loodi” was a collaboration with Dancehall superstar Vybz Kartel. The single was initially released, as well as marketed and distributed by 21st Hapilos, as were other Shenseea tracks “Jiggle Jiggle,” “Yuh Lie,” “Tell Me,” “Bum Like a Ball” and “Position” produced by super producer Rvssian. During the course of her career thus far, Shenseea has worked with Bunji Garlin, Christina Aguilera, and Nailah Blackman. Shenseea reached her big breakout with her single ‘ShenYeng Anthem’ which gained a total of 6.1 million U.S. streams according to Nielsen Music. The artist is now signed to Interscope Records becoming the label’s first dancehall artist. This past May, Shenseea released her major-label debut ‘Blessed’ featuring Tyga. The song landed the number 2 spot on Billboard’s Reggae Digital Song Sales chart.
As the largest digital distributor of urban music with over 250 digital retailers plus over 300 additional revenue stream destinations worldwide, 21st Hapilos directly links artists to profits through sales, distribution, and placement of content. Clients retain full ownership of their music and have access to analytics, sales data, earnings reports, and more. They further monitor for revenues deriving from digital transmissions, broadcasts, public performances, and other potential channels. Kelly Dudley, President of 21st Hapilos and who has been with the company since its inception states that: “Before Hapilos, dancehall music had very little presence online, and with the digital revolution that was happening, it became necessary to create a presence for the genre. Also, by representing various clients, one of our missions is to ensure our company provides transparency and accountability.” Kelly also urges “Let’s try to formalize the business of the music by obtaining clear contracts, written agreements for everything, and honor the same as it is becoming more necessary to provide documents to stakeholders in the global music industry.”