A panel of music industry insiders discussed the future of music marketing at a recent conference in Detroit. The insiders said the industry is moving in a direction where music labels are no longer needed to validate popular new artists.
The panel included the music industry experts: JDee, A&R and Midwest regional representative for Empire Distribution; Cannon Kent-Grant, Southeastern promotions director at Atlantic Records; April Woodard, administrative music publisher at Digital Lungz; and Spudd, Hype Voice chief creative officer.
Google Digital Coach Detroit’s Katrina Turnbow hosted and moderated the event.
Technology is on the verge of replacing record labels thanks to branding tools like Spotify, Google, Tidal, YouTube, SoundCloud, Apple Music and other similar platforms. Using these tools, artists can build their own fan base and reputation without needing to gain approval from executives at record labels.
“You don’t have to be the next Beyoncé or Drake to be successful in the music business,” said Turnbow. “You just need to understand how to win in your lane no matter what it is. The #GoogleDigitalCoaches program is here to make sure that happens.”
The panel, called The Movement of Music, focused on digital marketing and its effects on the music industry. Music, advertising and branding follow technological trends. The panel also discussed the analytics side of branding with YouTube and Google. Using these tools, artists can track viewers and listeners.
Like other industries, AI (artificial intelligence) is affecting the music world. AI is expected to grow to a $70 billion market by 2020, and its tools are changing the way people consume music.
As far as marketing goes, consumer data mining may prove to be an effective tool for industry professionals.
AI-driven data can help the industry improve its marketing strategies by offering improved insights that benefit artists, fans and the industry.
Along with the tools discussed by the panel in Detroit, other music tech companies like SoundHound and Shazam are using AI to better improve the listener’s experience.
While major record labels still own the majority of music content – and shares of streaming services and apps – it’s the independent artists who have access to data from direct-to-consumer platforms.
Goldman Sachs predicts that streaming services will generate $34 billion in revenue for the music industry by 2030. Streaming services generate reliable and consistent data that improves both outreach and insight.
Engagement data allows artists to see how audiences are responding to trends and songs. Music labels can also use this data to track patterns and target audiences with more efficiency.
Filtered data from AI technology also allows record labels to market songs and attract more fans.
YouTube and other recommendation engines are affecting the way artists connect with listeners. YouTube’s recommendations are fueled by the AI division of Google Brain. An algorithm tracks the number of times viewers spent watching videos and the number of clicks per viewer. Using this data, YouTube began displaying higher-quality videos with longer watch times first in the search results. This move helped the video streaming site grow its viewership by 50% each year.
Music industry experts can use this same tool to target advertising lengths on different platforms.
Industry professionals can use AI algorithms to gauge the competition by analyzing the streaming and social patterns of other artists. Analyzing the streaming habits of listeners allows industry experts to pinpoint “super fans” and the people more likely to spend money on their favorite artists.
Music marketers can leverage this data to determine which fans are the most engaged with the artist and offer special promotions, like VIP tickets.
While helpful, every artist’s fan base is different. Music marketers, therefore, will need to cater to each fan base and their habits.
AI data is doing more than just changing the way artists and labels market their own music; it’s also changing the way brands market their products.
A recent post on Adweek discussed how more brands are catering to country music fans.
“It’s the fastest growing music genre in the U.S. today, resonating with people 21 and up, in different parts of the country,” said Ricardo Marques, marketing VP at Budweiser.
Music brand deals have changed completely, according to Marcie Allen, president of MAC Presents.
“Brands have begun to look at data and research much more than they previously did in identifying which artists they should work with,” she said.
“Ten years ago, brand [marketers] would be like, ‘I really like John Mayer so I think my brand should work with him,'” Allen explained. “Now it’s like, ‘OK, what is John Mayer’s social reach? What’s his demographic? Let’s pull his Facebook profile, let’s pull his Ticketmaster profile, let’s make sure that our demographic is on target with John Mayer’s demographic.'”