One of the topics at the recent and suitably forward thinking ‘Fast Forward’ conference in Amsterdam was the music industry existing in silos, in particular the lack of dialogue between labels and live promoters in pooling marketing budgets on album campaigns and tours.
The Gen has a couple of thoughts on this:
We can talk about the ‘live’ and ‘recorded’ industries like they are neighbouring countries but in fact they are hugely diverse and fragmented in themselves. For example, there is less consistency than you might imagine on different tours by an artist, which can be franchised out to local promoters in territories with different teams working on them. In addition, there are in broad strokes, the ‘major’ and ‘independent’ sectors, for example the three major labels and their subsidiaries and the hundreds of labels, from bedroom operators to Beggars that the Association of Independent Music represents.
In part, the reticence to work together described above is understandable- If you were in a business with high risk and tight margins, would you be keen to put resources into something that might shift your product / experience or might shift another company’s product / experience? Sorry to dance on the campfire but The Gen can’t think of another business this would happen in.
In truth, there are definitely smarter ways to work- live has become integral to an artist’s career, although it is a myth that there has been a near complete shift of power and money to the live industry. One could advance the argument that the relatively paltry pay out from streams to artists serves a more valuable purpose to the artist of being a postcard for the tour or festival appearance.
Labels, venues and promoters all invest in incubating and developing talent so there must be more ways of joining the dots, but it would involve all parties being prepared to share both risk and reward alongside data, insight and strategy. Will we see more co-promoting around album campaigns and tours? And will rights holders and streaming services start to work more directly with promoters to push relevant live events? This has already started happening with Spotify’s ‘Concerts’ feature but will we now see more fruitful connections between the recorded and live sectors?
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