For DIY artist licensing company Tribe of Noise's CEO, publishers who are nimble and socially-connected - i.e. D2F - will win.
Your members are DIY artists. What do they expect of publishers? A ‘light touch’, or a hands-on approach?
The majority of our artists are very realistic. They seem to understand a basic concept: the more time they invest in putting their music out there, the more opportunities that open up. Tribe of Noise, as a music licensing company, regularly experiments with new business models. The most effective way for us to know if we’ve hit the mark is by inviting our members to participate and test-drive them. We have invested in a community management team to reach out to our members and keep an open dialogue; find out what’s working with their music, what’s not, and generally encouraging them to stay active…
What makes you think that music publishers could be taking advantage of more digital opportunities than they are right now? Why haven’t they done so up until now?
We all know this: change is scary! So if you are running a successful business since the dawn of mankind and your year-to-year revenue is still relatively ok (compared with the rest of the music industry) then the thing lacking here is a sense of urgency. My philosophy: fix the roof before the rainy season starts. First thing to do, digitise every single contract you have. Yes, even the ones piled in warehouses with the bands and artists you haven’t done business with in years! The more you input into a digital database the easier it is for you to catalogue, organise and analyse. If you don’t believe in the long tail then forget about my last remark …
What do you see as the single biggest digital opportunity publishers could take advantage of right now?
The ability to license music from top notch artists. But, and this is happening right now, music supervisors and other media buyers are more and more in favour of easy going deals than investing time and money in crazy lengthy negotiations to get a major act signed. Brand engagement through music will mean less and less mega stars powered by brand X, Y or Z and more online conversations, contests and challenges with willing consumers. A brand organising a global contest and licensing local and authentic content from artists is very powerful marketing magic. So publishers who can level their artists with a brand, help nurture a brand related community and grow the conversation between their client and their customers through music is a key to success.
Could you give some examples of success stories in this domain?
At Tribe of Noise we’ve invested a lot of time and effort to come up with a more flexible music-licensing model; a legal framework welcomed by customers in need for a solution. The first promise we made to our collective of DIY artists (roughly 300 when we started), was to go out there and make noise and generate exposure for them.
One of our success stories is the in-store music / out of home media business. Music most of us know as elevator music, background noise, etc. Would it make sense to invest time and resources in upgrading the quality of the music channels in restaurants, supermarkets, hotels and shops during a financial crisis? It sounds counterintuitive but with any crisis comes opportunity for creative expansion and alternatives. We see real potential here for our DIY artists to break down the stereotypes typically associated with “background music” while also offering a cost effective solution for retailers. If we can guarantee quality music, pay our artists and help our clients to communicate with consumers resulting in incremental sales at the point-of-purchase… I’m in!
What would you like to take home from midem 2013?
I’ve been in the industry long enough to understand that most musicians are passionate people, not business people. They love to make music, get exposure and engage with fans who hopefully buy their music and merchandise and visit their gigs. Every single day you can read a new story online on how making money from fans is changing. We (the industry) need to reach out, test drive new business models, share our learned lessons and guide musicians along the way. So what would I like to take away from midem? As many partnerships as I can with open-minded, forward thinking music industry professionals. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it?
Discover the interview on midemblog here.