DETROIT (WXYZ) — Detroit’s music landscape is set to have a significant transformation thanks to a new initiative launched today at the city’s capital park.
It's called WRKSHP, and the concept aims to help emerging artists control their creativity as opposed to the traditional format where record labels dictate terms.
"10, 15 years ago you had to go to a major label to find your audience, and that made sense to give away your IP cause they had so much work to do. Now the major labels exexpect you to go find your audience on your own, and then they come for you, and then they still expect to give away your IPs," says WRKSHP Co-Founder and Multi-Platinum Producer Che Pope.
The Multi-Platinum Producer, Che Pope, has worked with many heavy hitters, including Kanye, Jay Z, and The Weeknd. Pope says this initiative will help emerging artists and bring transparency to an outdated system designed to take advantage of artists.
"That’s what our job is. If someone does have an aspiration to get to a major label, cool let's help them get to a major label. But with a progressive deal, good leverage or help them have a sustainable independent career," says Pope.
Producer and founder of WRKSHP first got a taste of Detroit when he collaborated with Eminem back in 2004. During his time in the city, Pope was introduced to Detroit-based business mogul Dan Gilbert. They instantly struck a chord and eventually partnered up for this unique project.
"It’s much more than a special story. Instead of Motown leaving, it's somebody coming back, and really building and setting up shop, and trying to be here and build something that going to stay here," says the multi-platinum producer.
WRKSHP will also help artists understand the complexity of what goes behind the scenes within the music industry, including contracts, talent development, content production, and marketing.
"Not every artist is social media savvy or TikTok savvy. You have someone spending 10,000 hours mastering the guitar. They are not spending 10,000 hours mastering TikTok. So there has to be a place where someone finds these artists, where they are really investing in talent," says Pope.
As for the music swag in Michigan, the producer loves the "Detroit vs. everybody else" mentality, and that’s why the program will have a selection process to find talent with an edge.
"I think of every artist like Kanye West," says Pope. "Because the Kanye we know at least in terms of ego and confidence, he had that day one. I like to look for those kinds of characteristics in an artist, meaning that they believe they are a superstar before they are a superstar."
The new studio space is set to open in Downtown Detroit this summer. Meanwhile, artists looking to sign up can contact WRKSHP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting wrkshp.club