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One of the most talked about panels at Opp Ex centered around the Business Behind The Music, a panel centered around what actually goes into breaking a record on the radio and what it takes to not only make it in the business but sustain a career out of it. From 300 Entertainment’s Shadow Stokes speaking to the power of Megan Thee Stallion‘s “Big Ole Freak” to Samantha Selowane discussing how an artist like H.E.R. never strayed away from her image, the panel gave attendees more than enough free game to take into their careers and then some. Moderated by Young Jas, the panel dived into why fan bases matter, why relationships matter and ultimately, how record labels aren’t what they used to be, they’re just major distribution points now.

Radio One Houston operations manager Terri Thomas said of the change and attention to digital that it was mainly about the fans. “Fans are what put the gas in the tank of the bus. If you cultivate a relationship with the fans, those fans will take you everywhere. Regardless of radio play, regardless of a major record deal, regardless of any of those things. If you can find your fan base and make them feel like they have an investment in you, they will continue to invest in you. When you put up merch or put up merch at your shows, fans will come out and put money down to buy a piece of your merch. That fan base is what gets you to a major record label, a major streaming company.”

Watch a small excerpt of the panel below.

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