Its only just past 10am and the 2nd annual Electronic Music Conference in Sydney Australia is off to a great start. First up Neil Ackland detailed results of “In the Mixes” first ever EDM survey. Key insights derived from the survey include; It is an experience generation, that EDM is accepting of all peoples and cultures and that EDM is the new religion of American youth. Another interesting fact derived from the survey of EDM loving consumers was that EDM consumers view rock music as aggressive and not positive in comparison to Electronic Dance Music.
Matthew Adell the CEO of Beatport kicks of his keynote outlining his history of involvement with music – a pretty impressive one at that. Interestingly he notes that he does not agree with the EDM survey results pointing to the perception that rock music is aggressive and not positive. He brings up Nirvana as a case in point. This lesson on where EDM has evolved from is great Matthew states that “the United States has an unfortunate history of not appreciating afro american music, instead exporting it overseas and then being more appreciative when they’ve blown up overseas”. The same goes for house music as it started out in Detroit.
The Beatport CEO goes onto state that “digital is the most transparent era of the music business”. He went further stating that EDM is really the only growth market in record music increasing sales by over 35% in the US during 2012 with a global sector value of $4.5 billion globally. However Adell all stated that people should “not be fooled [as]the recorded music is in the toilet and it is not getting better”. He also went on to say that EDM would not be having such a positive experience within the market without social media.
The opening keynote is finishes with Matthew stating that aspiring artists and producers need to take advantage of technology as we live in an attention economy and not a transaction economy. Judge yourself by the lives that your music changes. Rather apt words in TMV views. On a final note Matthew finished with these words “Shut the fuck up and dance”…
The first panel of the day was aptly titled Booms Bust and Bidding Wars: We need to talk about festivals. Aptly because of a lot of the horizontal integration within the sector and also because lots of festivals have been cancelled in the Australian market in 2013. The panel noted that the key competitor though is that fact most bands want to do their own headline tours as they can make more money than playing festivals doing it this way. Adam Zammit, CEO at the Bg Day Out stated that festival promoters “have to take responsibility for the artist bidding wars”.
Numerous panelists from Future Music, Totem/SFX and Big Day Out all agreed that outside investment into festivals is important because you have to start building alliances which then enable you to have the buying power and a stable of artists utilising the spread of dates those alliances deliver.The panel also agreed that it was easier to build niche festivals than multi genre events. According to Zammit “Niche is an easier business to vertically integrate and to promote”.
In terms of increasing ticket prices the BDO CEO stated that “the industry is not guilty of profiteering through ticket prices”. Instead it was noted that artists are driving up prices and festivals need to look at other methods of increasing their margins without increasing ticket prices if at all possible. Apparently eighty percent of festival tickets prices are paid out in artists fees. This does leave little room for festival promoters to move.
If anything perhaps artists and their booking agents need to start helping to grow the live music ecosystem instead of milking it dry…yet artist have been raped by major labels and there is bugger all money in streaming your music as an artist. So should artist be chastised for going after the money?
The next panel up was titled Why Social Media Cannot Be Fluked. First question Tim Hardaker moderating asked the panel of artists and brand specialists was How real should an artist be with their audience? Or indeed should they actually hold back? Tommy Sunshine summed it up well by stating “you cannot fake realness and kids always smell a rat”. This is something labels could take heed from. Apparently, Youtube stripped over 2 billion video views from artist channels as those channels were being gamed by labels.
There was a discussion on whether promoted posts were good or bad. The over consensus was that ensure you get your message out over the Facebook channel to your fans you’ve really got no choice but to use promoted posts. The alternative is to have your posts only reach 5% of our total friend numbers on the social network.
The most interesting part of this panel in TMV’s view was the discussion around consumer/fan engagement. Stig Richards the MD at Sound Alliance brought up a very valid point that “there is a history of the digital world measuring the wrong things”. The panel noted that the immense noise within social networks made it hard to deliver engagement if you are just focusing on likes and views as they are the wrong things to be measuring.
A key takeaway for all the artists out there just increasing like and view numbers is that it is not about the number of followers or views you have but how strong is this relationship with those fans and what are they saying about you. What is the benefit your business or you as an artist derive from your followers. Numbers of views and likes can be brought without deliver any tangible benefit to your brand.
Interesting not one of these artists or social media specialists mentioned Instagram, snapchat and others…
That sums up TMV’s day 1 coverage of the Electronic Music Conference 2013 in Sydney. We are now off to enjoy showcases of the up and coming EDM artists at the Redbull headquarters. We will report on the artists we liked in tomorrows coverage…