Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
On this week’s US Billboard Hot 100, 17-year-old singer Daya has risen to no.31 with her debut single Hide Away. She also recently peaked at no.8 on Shazam and no.11 on iTunes. This campaign has been interesting to follow, as a very rare case of a pop hit emerging from an independent label, but there is more to the story. She was discovered by Steve Zap, former VP Promotion at Warner Bros, and signed to his new ArtBeatz label, which has a distribution deal with Sony RED. Hide Away is a catchy tune with fun, youthful lyrics, almost like a Disney version of Lorde. The original music video has now been region-blocked on YouTube, with a new international version uploaded this month, replacing some unflattering scenes with more neutral performance shots. Unfortunately it still feels a bit low budget and awkward, and the song’s production also sounds cheap. While that won’t stop people from streaming and buying it, it may hold Daya back from achieving a long-term career. She has the contacts of an industry veteran and the resources of a major distributor, and that has got her a hit single, which is an amazing achievement. But to be taken seriously as a pop star, the public need to believe she’s a big deal. For that, she needs the money of a major label, which she won’t get without giving up those precious master rights. I’d love to be proven wrong, and see Daya or another independent pop artist become a mainstream star. I think it will be possible one day, but I’m not sure we’re quite there yet.