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Song House Live – Building Tomorrow’s Musical Stars

What happens when you put eight creatives with social media following into a house, surround them with cameras, song production equipment and support staff and build a seven-week competition for a contract with Capitol Records?

This was the question which Benton James, Billy Mann and Clay Pecoria set before their contestants: Alec Chambers, Caroline Carr, Attis, Diego Fragnaud, Tyler Brash, Olivia Boeyink, “Q” and Klondike Blonde.

The business proposition was straightforward. Those chosen were put into a mansion for seven weeks, all expenses paid. There were various competitions and the occasional risk of elimination. The winner would get a record contract.

The players were alternately free to build their own songs or given various parameters to create a song using key words or phrases. During their residency, they had the freedom to use the support team and equipment in the house to create music. Then, leveraging the combined social media reach of all who were in the house those songs went out into the ether. Surely something would catch heat.

Meanwhile, the organizers of the project ran video cameras 24/7 to create a live stream, a docuseries and held onto a large percentage of the rights for anything which was created, performed, written, or recorded in the house.

In return, the competitors had the benefit of the house, its recording studio and professional gear, staff and production assistance. Plus, apparently, an unlimited supply of Dino Nuggets which appears to be the flint which lights their creative fire.

The organizers of the project have clout within the industry. Billy Mann is a Grammy- winning producer who has worked with acts as big as P!NK and also worked as an executive at leading music companies. Benton James was at Red Bull Songs as the head of Urban A&R. Clay Pecorin comes from the film side of the industry where he has spent the past half decade at Rainmaker Films and more recently also Rainmaker Holdings.

Song House live is not Songland where the competition is to make the best song. Instead, it is more The Real World meets American Idol. However, the twist here is that the focus is on the creatives rather than those who judge them. In a world in which Tik Tok can take any snippet of music global in seconds, and where that snippet can turn into Baby Shark and birth a billion-dollar industry of synch and licensing rights, film, television, and live touring, all built around those precious few seconds, focusing the attention of those who are both talented and well endowed with social media followings might just lead to a windfall of attention and royalties.

Although the participants have signed away the majority of their publishing for that created within Song House, they gain the benefit of their collective social presence, the attention of the A&R people who are watching closely for their next pick up and that of Capitol Records executives who will offer a recording contract to the “winner” of Song House but are in no way precluded from making deals with others there as well. 

What happens when that attention starts to focus? For Alec Chambers that meant an opportunity to perform before 8,000 people with Rod Wave this year:

I spoke with Billy Mann, Benton James and Clay Pecorin for my True AF podcast. They are quite an interesting group. Here is a collective of middle-aged men with deep industry experience providing newcomers the opportunity to break through in return for a piece of their future revenue. Watch or listen using the links below for the audio or video podcast:

Billy, Benton and Clay are working all the angles. Song House is on YouTube. The music is making its way across social media platforms. Attention is circling. There will be more iterations of Song House. Here’s a song excerpt from Season one’s Attis and Caroline Carr:

Talent rises if you give it the opportunity. The setup for Song House provides the infrastructure, motivation, and ability for creatives to make music, expose it to the world and have the network effect of everyone’s collective social media strength working together. The premise of Song House not only gives talent the opportunity, but it also provides the vehicle by which the work can become known.

As a huge fan of performance, I can’t think of any better premise than democratizing access to tools for those with innate talent. When you surround talent with tools, advice and promotion, attention is paid. This is the combination which unlocks the path out of your own bedroom and into the hearts and homes of fans globally. Any accelerant which can be brought to this undertaking is worthwhile. Pay attention to Song House. Billy, Benton and Clay are building the onramp for talent to merge onto the information highway.

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