From dramatic technology developments, to the social media revolution, to streaming music and beyond – each generation is seeing a vast shift in how it discovers , appreciates and is inspired by music.
Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy, aka P. Diddy, aka Diddy) is a brand unto himself – embodying the changing music industry by remaining at the forefront of innovation. Through his music media group Revolt, Combs attracted the leading minds in music, technology and branding for the first-of-its-kind Revolt Music Conference, held Oct. 16-19 in Miami. The purpose: To gather best practices and explore where the industry is going.
From the opportunities to mingle with larger-than-life personalities to the impromptu performances by several industry hopefuls, there really was something around every corner. And in maneuvering through it all, I found two main themes, the first being authenticity. The idea of being authentic was carried through in everything, from how to position yourself via social media and your own personal branding, to how to communicate with your fan base, potential sponsors and business partners.
For example, when using social media to communicate with your fan base or consumers, it’s so important to accurately reflect who you are. It’s okay to be silly, serious, passionate, etc if that’s how you feel about something. Let followers see the “real” you and develop an authentic connection, rather than just retweeting/posting/sharing without providing any “window” into you as a brand or a person.
The second point focused on the need to understand there’s more to music success than the amount on the check. The ability to brand and build partnerships and leverage a fan base, social media following and a marketing/communications machine have the potential to yield longer-term results. And it's critical to consider how both parties involved in a partnership can leverage each other’s assets to achieve goals and success.
Omar Johnson, CMO at Beats Electronics, talked about having $100,000 for a program, but if the artist requires all $100,000 then the company has nothing left for marketing and publicity. If the artist realizes this and only asks for a portion of the budget, then the remaining money can be invested in promoting the partnership and publicizing Beats’ endorsement of the artist. This obviously does much more for an artist’s long-term career than the immediate deposit into his/her bank account.
It’s extraordinary to consider how much the music industry has changed over the past few years alone. It's an industry that truly never rests. And having been embedded in the scene through the years and at this conference, my mind is churning through scenarios of where it's heading next. Disruption and convergence will continue to reshape the industry. Authenticity and partnerships will play key roles in driving relationships, reputations and results.