Everyone says the music industry is fickle, well I think everyone can sympathize with an industry that has had it’s “more-than” fair share of competitive business challenges to overcome over the past decade.
I don’t think that anyone can be blamed in the music industry for feeling that technology has not exactly helped it’s market strategy over the past years. Although the emergence of digital has driven the ability to dramatically reduce time to market for artist music releases, while accessing global markets like never before, but it has also spawned legal, ownership and content issues that have driven reverse competitive tendencies in equal amounts. Similarly “guerrilla” tactics like Beyonce’s recent album release by-passing the normal industry processes, sets yet another break-away from normal industry activities, although to be honest, if Beyonce cannot do this (and afford to take the risk), then who can.
So where now for the music industry?
Well omni-channel content marketing technologies may pave the way for the industry to once again leverage the “speed value relationship” of the digital channels. Artist management is now all about promoting, managing and optimizing the commercial near-line activities with more involved and connected consumer (fan) experiences. Modern day bands are “brands” first, artists second and any savvy manager and band will be well advised to look at the best provisioned label that understands and can maximize this value proposition. But it’s not that simple to say that “ONLY DIGITAL” enables these relationships as multiple touch-points occur through “offline” conversations and traditional news paths as well, a consumer journey of engagement is happening here (including my sons posters on his bedroom wall), not just a one off relationship.
However, leveraging an artist is all about being responsive to change, being able to exhort maximum value at every opportunity, and with much revenue coming from “outdoor” activities, it is key to maximize global artist potential on every occasion.
So if the music industry thought and acted like US political parties and “orchestrated” artist content, using context related content driven by understanding the audience, then maybe, they can maximize 3rd party revenues, like touring, events, promotions etc with more clarity, precision and knowledge.
Omni-channel content marketing platforms enable this “adaptive” artist and label management to happen. Using and leveraging centralized omni-content, smart players can “orchestrate” context related content to any channel, both online and offline with the same consistency. Optimizing owned, paid and more importantly gained media, through engaging content is hitting major FMCG brands daily and they are reacting by using marketing technologies to drive consumer actions.
So using CRM details, geospatial demographics, fan attributed content and internal marketing content to provision your artist value chain, will be key for 2014 to be successful in the music industry. This enormous amount of content is complex to manage and then to leverage, with rights management, ownership, authorization, planning and execution all adding a massive overhead to the ultimate creative production and execution.
Hence, I see omni-channel content tools helping drive efficiencies through the music business with increasing benefits, couple with reduced time to market, increased visibility, accountability and agility in the process while leveraging all channels simultaneously, it will be interesting to see who from the big label adopts a “CONTENT” based strategy first.
With players like NextBigSound, providing increasing social insights into artist performance, and likewise through analytics measurement of fans interactions with the artist from the likes of Spotify, Shazam, Rhapsody and YouTube alike it will be an interesting play to see if the music industry can truely adopt to a 360 degree approach to artist and label management.
My bet makes 2014 an interesting time. Warner Music Group’s CEO Stephen Copper’s recent 2013/Q4 results posted a disappointing position for the industry, is it that their A&R is poor or is it that the music industries difficulty in adopting to the new omni-channel consumer markets and the ability to leverage cash from them is hampering the future growth.
Lets wait and see.