How Can Record Labels Reinvent Things in the Digital Era?

There were some really interesting session at The Great Escape conference in Brighton, England, this past week. This is one of them. From Musically:

As streaming services grow, how can labels adapt their marketing to take advantage? That was the subject for the first session in CMU’s Music Marketing Is Broken: Let’s Fix It strand at The Great Escape conference in Brighton today.

Spotify’s director of label relations, Will Hope kicked off with some tips gleaned from his service.

“This is what our biggest problem is: everything that came before no longer really applies: how you set up a release, even down to the timelines, was quite short-termist,” said Hope, citing the traditional focus on marketing around an album or single’s release, and the judgement of those campaigns based mainly on short-term metrics.

“One of the biggest issues we’ve had at Spotify working with labels is trying to get away from that. We’re constantly trying to make the old way work for the new way, and it doesn’t really,” said Hope.

We should think about success in a different way: we should think about fans. And we still haven’t nailed this,” he admitted. “In the past it was a lot easier to think about a fan essentially as a sale… They’ll go and buy it, that’s it, and you don’t have to worry about them ever again. And it means that every fan equals the same thing.”

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “How Can Record Labels Reinvent Things in the Digital Era?

  • May 17, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I don’t see how this is any different from the (past) label system and the record store system.
    It’s the same thing, except that the streaming services are distributors with clout.

    ‘Curation’ means ‘marketing’, it doesn’t mean curation. ‘Seeding’ songs into playlists, this is radio, only less transparent.
    Spotify is just like a record store. The front is filled with stacks of label fronted records, top 40 racks of label (and radio) driven artists, featured new releases are upcoming label bands. You have to wade through all that ‘curation’ to get to the stock, and you have to keep an eye out for the little lonesome racks of interesting things, go through the stacks looking for the things you might have heard a bit of buzz about, and hopefully get a heads up from the staff who know what interests you.

    The industry has been in crisis for 45 years. Format deaths, format threats. Death of 8-track, death of cassette, death of vinyl, death of cd, death of mp3 . Threat of cassette recording, threat of cd longevity, threat of cd recording, threat of dvd, threat of computer copying, threat of iPod, threat of internet..
    Everyone thought live touring was dead when ELP’s 7 tractor trailers ran out of gas in the middle of their tour.
    Once again this is not a music crisis, it’s about middlemen trying to figure out how to get their slice.


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