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  • alexiaradkiewicz

The Irresistible Rise of the International Music & Art Collective

ANONA is the international movement redefining the way music and art is created, produced and distributed to all

Artistry begins bound to an inner-world of catharsis, a precious and vulnerable creation. Transcending through the vulnerability and unleashing this alchemy into the outside world is the keystone of good artistry; it is when art collides with industry that its delicate and dichotomous nature is spotlighted. Of course, music needs industry not only for artists to make a living but as an arena of healthy competition where they ricochet from one other to grow as artists, creating a space where music and genre evolve. But with industry comes giant corporate entertainment companies, ego surfaces and too often commercial success takes precedent over creativity.

The evolvement of music creation constantly reshuffles the music industry and particularly calls into question the role of record companies and streaming giants in our modern music climate. Technology underpins this hot debate; artists are producing studio-quality sound from their bedrooms and with more avenues than ever to release their own records, the DIY approach has grown to be widely accepted, not to mention catalysed by the global pandemic.

The argument around label and artist royalty shares further fuels the fire. The Broken Record Campaign launched at the beginning of lockdown, holding labels and streaming services accountable for one-sided splits. According to the campaign, artists receive around 16% of the total income from streams, while record companies receive around 41% and streaming services around 29%. The music business has been forced into recognizing the artist as the heart of the art form, the nurturing and protection of their intellectual property should be prioritized. Let’s not forget about the songwriters, back in March the Ivors Academy put in motion their #PAYSONGWRITERS campaign to add to the mounting conversation of undervalued and underpaid songwriters.

We only have to look to Chance The Rapper, Joey Bada$$ and MF Doom (to name a few) as embodiments of the independent artist; they have shown us that artists don’t necessarily need record labels to make vital, evocative music and pave established careers. These artists demonstrate that a powerful team is the heartbeat to their success. When collaboration, community and contribution are the ultimate principles of creation — extricating those who require gratitude or credit — an authentic energy becomes the driving force behind the music. Removing ego leads to transcendence above the noise of the industry, creating a space with great potential to shape the future of how music is created and distributed. Invoking this raw and natural environment of collective freedom and establishing a shared cultural value system revitalises the essence of art; the viscera of music returns.

Introducing ANONA, “Art Non-Artist”, an open-source music and art collaborative of artist and non-artist contributors. In the words of the decentralized international movement, they focus “on facilitating and highlighting the collaborative team effort between both Artists and Non-Artists who work together to create and distribute moving music and artistic experiences”. ANONA seeks to discover and amplify unique voices across the globe, providing a new home for distinctive creative talent by redefining the way music and art are created, produced and distributed to all. In their manifesto, ANONA invites both artists and non-artists to make and break music and art together in a rebellion against exploitation in art — “ANONA is a movement away from the idea of stand-alone idols and towards the (unsexy but true) idea that great creative expression is a collaborative effort between artists and non-artists… Artists and Non-Artists from all walks of life come together to collaborate and create special artistic experiences without ego, expectation or economic exploitation.”

The evolution of an "Artist" in music from the ANONA Manifesto

ANONA is the all-encompassing epitome of a shared space of collective freedom where values align, a true investment into the core of art. By removing all typecasts and labels, the movement empowers everyone and anyone to contribute to the creation of something beautiful. What makes this movement unique is that “non-artist” talent including marketers, non-musical artists and businesspeople (to name a few) are encouraged to join artists in a new wave of music creation. Fans are also immersed in the creative process to become part of each unique story. The ANONA fan is the antithesis to the “pop fan” — “an ANONA fan doesn’t give a fuck what’s hot, just what makes him/her feel something visceral. A pop fan blindly worships what’s hot”. Crucially, in response to the ever-present economic exploitation of today’s music industry, fair recognition is upheld for each collaborator. Royalties are equitably divided between artists, non-artists and fans based on the contribution and value of the input to any work.

Since founding in March 2020, four projects have been released under the movement, unveiling four impressive tracks: “Melt”, “Hammered”, “Not Enough” and “Wait”, each encompassing unique international collaborations and visceral artistic experiences. ANONA mobilise technology through online communities, building platforms where contributors meet and collaborate throughout the creative process. When a song is ready for release artists have access to a bespoke and scalable distribution model through the movement, harnessing non-artist talent to market and build energy around the music with cutting-edge strategies. Notably, anything created through a collaboration belongs to the artists who contributed to that piece of work — once again ANONA answers to the industry’s capitalisation of rights ownership by prioritising the protection of an artist’s intellectual property.

When music comes into symbiosis with culture, technology and empathy, there is the capacity to not only redefine the way music is created, produced and distributed, but an irresistible force begins to mount with the agency to shift our culture as a whole. Community driven music collaboration is on the rise and the middle man that was once essential to connect artists to their fans is slowly being squeezed out. It is time to call into question the role of the modern record label and recognize this cultural evolution; decentralised, amorphous and radical movements, (wholeheartedly embodied by ANONA) are the future as music returns to its roots.

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