Deviate Digital CEO Sammy Andrews joins this episode to unpack why there remain so many stubborn data silos among artists, labels, distributors, promoters and streaming platforms in the music industry, and what steps we might be able to take to address the problem. We discuss the types of data that music companies would actually benefit from sharing *more* with each other, as well as the merits and drawbacks of breaking down silos through company diversification (e.g. management companies starting labels) and bundling (e.g. selling merch and digital music downloads together to game the charts). At the end, we discuss big-tech companies investing in different kinds of original content and the implications of Spotify backing Facebook's forthcoming cryptocurrency Libra.
"Flowers" by a[way]
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CEO, Deviate Digital
This episode is inspired by Sammy's recent column in Music Week about the stubborn data silos that persist in the music industry.
[2:49] Interview begins
[5:53] Preliminary overview of different data silos that exist among artists, labels, publishers, distributors and streaming platforms. Examples:
- Siloed consumption data among several labels for the album
- Siloed audience data among labels and promoters
- Labels charging outside parties to use retargeting data, not being open to outside pixel tracking
[11:15] Promoters usually get left behind in terms of access to data, but take on the most risk in putting on shows.
- How can managers and agents help solve the issue?
- What role can streaming platforms like Spotify play in terms of driving higher clickthrough rates for ticket sales?
- E.g. possibility of streaming services offering artists the data and tools to retarget their most loyal fans off-platform
- Examples: CD Baby's Show.co; Sammy mentions Beatchain
- CORRECTION: AdRev, which is owned by CD Baby's parent company, focuses on Content ID management and video monetization, not on advertising.
- These types of platforms still may have a drawback in terms of full autonomy from a siloed platform.
[26:05] What are types of data that music companies are very protective about and don't want to share, but whose openness could actually benefit them more?
- Sammy's personal example: Data silos prevented her from successfully building a global playlist brand for the independent community, to compete with major labels' curatorial brands (Digster, Filtr, Topsify).
- Original article comes from Music Business Worldwide's Tim Ingham, writing for Rolling Stone.
- Caveat: Will this consolidation just lead us back to an era of predatory 360 deals?
- Examples: DJ Khaled vs. Tyler the Creator on the Billboard charts, and Taylor Swift's controversial Verified Fan campaign with Ticketmaster.
- Lessons from other industries: practices for a global album launch should be on par with how big-name fashion brands Nike and Adidas plan global product launches.
- Data silos present artists from being able to treat themselves as legitimate, always-on brands.
[42:39] Sammy's topic: Big tech players like Netflix, Facebook and Spotify extending and diversifying their reach into entirely different types of content and technologies.
- Example of a failure: Amazon's short-lived ticketing venture.
- Where does the music industry fit in, with respect to carving out different routes to market and thinking in a more innovative way about press and media campaigns?
- Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu chose to go with a traditional big-screen release over a Netflix exclusive deal, which allowed him and the film to break box-office records and have wider cultural impact.
- Should artists "sign" to streaming platforms — or is the ideal relationship more nuanced?
- With great content opportunities come great digital advertising opportunities, which can go a much longer way than a single, poorly-placed TV ad. Sammy comes across a few new advertising opportunities for her clients every week.
- Spotify published an official post on their website.
- The Libra partnership parallels Spotify's needs to integrate directly with local telcos in emerging because of the relative lack of separate bank accounts.
Special thanks to Jay Shah for help with editing and mixing!
What is Water & Music?
The fine print of big ideas in music and technology, hosted by Cherie Hu and featuring a curated selection of leaders, innovators, artists and thinkers from across the music business. This is an ad-free audio companion to the eponymous email newsletter.