MUSIC BUSINESS IN MOTION
Artists and brands have something in common. Both want to be relevant not only during an album or product launch, but throughout the entire year. Therefore artists and brands look beyond a launch and find creative ways to release music and tracks over time. Drip-feeding is the new catchphrase of the day; which explains why an increasing number of artists are releasing EPs instead of full albums and why singles are released at smaller intervals.
Music researcher Arno Prins believes the future record labels lies in the Armada Music approach. In Armada’s model, a single party manages all revenue streams, with full focus on the artists, music distribution, live gigs and brand partnerships.
Flemish music journalist Gerd Keunen points out the rise in popularity of the 'alternative mainstream'. These days, people have easier access to a diverse range of music through many available music platforms. The alternative mainstream crowd tends to have a sense of superiority over the mainstream audience. They’d like to think they have access to unique (music) content before others do.
The solution? Give them the impression they’re the very first to discover the most obscure bands. These early adopters are important influencers for both music and brands as they are responsible for majority of desired interaction.
DIGITAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
The distribution models in music have changed dramatically over the past few years. More than anything, they’re now based on digital numbers. Record sales are out, YouTube views are in. In today’s music landscape, it’s possible for a relative newcomer like Lady Gaga to have the same market value as a longtime behemoth and top seller like Madonna – simply because of her powerful media interaction. In this day and age, artists rely on programmers to help them get the right content in the right places. Spreading music has become a numbers game. Numbers also make it easier to tailor content geographically. You can now actually see where your fans are and adjust your tour schedule accordingly. This way artist managers and marketing executives can turn local relevance into profit.
One of the most successful platforms in this new music system has got to be Shazam. Dubbed as the Amazon of music, Shazam is a huge lead generator. 10% of all digital music sales come from this app, racking up $300 million of revenues in online music stores in 2013. Here too, content is king and Shazam is building its vast media kingdom around it. Besides tagging songs, Shazam’s business model is moving more towards supplying users with additional content linked to tracks people ‘shazam’. This makes it very interesting as a second screen app for TV shows and commercials. Something to think about next time you’re holding your phone up to the speakers.
While Shazam has wind in its back, Facebook finds itself in stormy weather. A storm it brought upon itself by closing off its users through arduous payment systems. Just like others, Duncan Stutterheim of SFX, and founder of ID&T, is in the process of moving his Facebook followers to his own platform, because he does not want to 'have to pay Facebook' in order to reach his fans.
YouTube on the other hand, is opening up more and has developed an income generating business model that encourages the sharing of content. And rightfully so. Through advancing technology and faster networks, video is here to stay more than any other medium.
Steve Aoki selfie
A great example of the Internet’s few-to-many possibilities of last year is the ‘Steve Aoki selfie’. At every gig, Aoki took a selfie on stage with the audience in the background. Fans started tagging themselves in the picture, boosting his Facebook following from 500.000 to a whopping 2 million in 2013. Say cheese.
A growing number of artists and event organizers are beginning to realize they have a social responsibility to this planet and the people living on it. Many of them however find it hard to choose the right cause to support.
The key to inspiring artists to your cause lies in finding a credible fit between organizers, artists and a charitable cause as well as having a clear and transparent PR story. Whichever cause you choose to support, you will inevitably attract criticism. Take comfort in knowing you’ll probably never get it right 100% and that’s totally fine. As long as you realize you’re nothing but a messenger with good intentions. The more playfully and creatively you get your message across, the less worry you’ll have about getting knocked for political reasons. So keep it light, even if the cause of you’re supporting isn’t.
As with every year we see the involvement of brands in the world of music growing. Biggest challenge is still understanding the music business and coming up with something relevant from which all partners benefit. As long as this synergy is maintained a wide variety of objectives can be accomplished.
One of the brands that have taken the responsible music business to new heights is Heineken with its recently launched ‘Dance More Drink Slow’ campaign. Through the star DJ and Heineken brand spokesperson Armin van Buuren, Heineken sends a strong and entertaining message about responsible drinking. ‘Dance More Drink Slow’ seizes the opportunities and results in more fun. Easy. Joost Geurts, Sponsorship manager Heineken International, explained how the mix turns out to be a match, as the #DMDS campaign is gaining a lot of traction around the world. Brand needs to really sit down and identify with their music partner in order to be successful. Something Heineken gets perfectly and we’ll cheers to that.
Closing off with some Massive wisdom, Michiel Cremers from MassiveMusic and KLM’s Albert Jan Prevoo presented how KLM added value to the Amsterdam Music Festival, an event part of the Amsterdam Dance Event, by finding a relevant fit between the Dutch pioneering brand and the Dutch pioneering dance culture. Read all about this highflying case right here.
On the No Ad Without Music panel, MassiveMusic’s Hans Brouwer and Dieuwertje Heuvelings talked about the increasingly important role of music in advertising. More often, brands are inspired to work with artists featured in their campaign to make music more than just a catchy tune.
‘Feel The Rhythm’, Def La Desh
‘What’s Going On’, Marvin Gaye
Making the cut