As we approach 2020, the world relies more and more on technology for everyday tasks. A physical map becomes Google Maps, a conversation becomes Whats App and an ATM becomes Apple Pay, music is no different, we no longer have to head to our nearest HMV or boutique record store to browse the ‘new’ section to get the latest tunes. Now we can open Spotify, or Apple Music, or Deezer and stream so much music that it is physically impossible to listen to everything.
While this is great for consumers who are spoilt for choice at just a tenner a month, not every artist is finding the transition easy. Before a fan would spend that £10 on one bands album and it would be shared across the retail store, publisher, label and artists, but now that same amount of money is split between hundreds of artists and record labels. This might not be a problem for Ed Sheeran or Calvin Harris, who’s music gets hundreds of millions of streams, but for the smaller, more niche and independent musicians, times are tough.
This years Brighton Music Conference hosted a panel on streaming, and how independent artists can make it work for them. Moderated by Blue Raincoat Music’s Marianne Frederick, the discussion included Senior Marketing and International Manager at Believe, Malena Wolfer, Deezer’s Artist Marketing Manager Chille Nanopoulos, Dominic Kerley from Label Worx and Hospital Records’ Gemma Hart.
One of the highlight topics the panel discussed was knowing when and where to pitch your music to each platform. Malena Wolfer mentioned that Believe hold internal meetings to discuss which tracks they will pitch and when, with Dominic saying “some labels with have three or four versions and say this one’s for Spotify, this one’s for Deezer” and that it is important to know where to pitch each style of remix.
When the subject of relationships between labels and streaming platforms came up, Chille Nanopoulos added “We’ve seen great improvements, more and more labels knocking at our door, more curiosity and how they can adapt.”, Gemma Hart said “They do have a high value, through the playlisting support, in return for their support we will create playlists and thank them across our social media, there’s a good relationship between streaming services and labels, with both sides being appreciative.”
Marianne asked the panel about different tools and ideas to market your music and brand on streaming platforms, Chille said “on deezer we have two different ways of submitting music, obviously with digital distribution, it’s important for us to have the right information, it makes it easier for us to share it with the teams in charge of playlisting.” Distribution company Label Worx’s Dominic Kerley advised “keep us updated, the more we can feed to them about what’s going on, the more you let your distributors know, the more we can pitch.”
Maybe the best advice from the discussion came from Gemma Hart, mentioning the importance of actually getting people to follow your profile and playlist your music, she said that getting on a big playlist is important but once that playlist is updated your traction will come to a stop, but if people come to your profile, add your music to their own playlists then your monthly listeners will continue to rise.
To close the panel an audience member asked advice regarding YouTube, Dominic replied that you should “play around in the backend, check your tags, check your endcards.”, Gemma said “Don’t just put a still image up on the track, if you go to YouTube you go on to engage with it, set a schedule when each video goes up, we [Hospital] set animated loops.”
See an example of an animated loop on Hospital Records latest upload below: