Newsletter #51 June 2008
BRANDS ON THE RUN…
“Ha you think it’s funny, turning rebellion into money” sang diplomat’s son Joe Strummer from his CBS-funded studio, helpfully setting the agenda for generations of rock and indie bands to come, making selling-out to ‘the man’ the ultimate crime that could be leveled against a band in the NME show trials of the ’80s and ’90s. All very well and good when the industry is afloat in a wash of record and CD sales but as another more surprisingly innovative musical figure sang, “the times they are a changing”. And with a generation less inclined to pay for their music and enjoying a much more sophisticated relationship towards the brands they consume, perhaps it’s time artists embraced their inner capitalist and looked to companies outside the music industry to finance their lifestyles?
We’ve long grown used to our favourite bands’ music popping up in the background of Hollyoaks or advertising the latest Ford hatchback but now the synergy between bands and brands are beginning to scale new heights. The most recent act to look beyond the traditional market are Groove Armada, the UK duo whose record sales to date top 3,000,000 and who have just announced a deal with the Castro-baiting drinks company Bacardi. Having finally parted ways with Sony BMG, the dance act behind the Lovebox Festival will release their next record via a Bacardi-financed imprint and appear live at various Bacardi sponsored live events – nothing that should cause too many of their fans sleepless nights.
In fact accusations that getting into bed with a corporate company could stunt an act’s artistic integrity are beginning to sound increasingly hollow. Whilst the suits at Bacardi would probably be a tad unimpressed if the chart-topping dance act decided to use this as a chance to explore their long hidden avant-garde classical side, it’s a fair bet that they will be afforded more musical freedom than they would have had at Sony BMG.
This artistic freedom is borne out by another recent, if even more unlikely partnership – last year’s LCD Soundsystem/Nike tie-up, in which the premier New York disco punk band released a 45-minute, 33-second long mostly instrumental mix of original music ostensibly designed to jog to. Purists may have been left reeling, but the end result was a piece of music that will long be regarded as one of the highlights of the band’s career and more importantly, a piece that by the band’s James Murphy’s own admission would never have been commissioned by a label.
And expect to see more of this as a new generation of artists emerge who know they are no longer guaranteed a steady income from shifting units alone and don’t have their predecessors qualms at accepting the corporate dollar. Indeed for many emerging artists there’s small difference between accepting money from a clothes, drinks or mobile phone company as there is from a faceless international music giant, in the words of one of this year’s hottest new acts Santogold, “let’s say I make a deal with Target (US discount shopping giant)—knowing how many people shop at Target? It’s not like I’m writing a song about Target. It’s more like—Target’s onboard to help me sell records? That’s great.” Whether other artists will be so enthusiastic remains to be seen, but with some music press themselves snouts deep in the trough, there are few voices of dissent to be heard.
Not that indie music is even close to scaling the sheer heights of naked capitalist ambition that hip-hop has achieved where no self-respecting rapper would be seen dead without his own range of brandy, jewellery or clothing line. It might be a long, long time before we see a cleaned-up Pete Doherty climbing into bed with Babycham but we could be looking at the rise of a new market for brand experts capable of advising artists who wish to retain a degree of credibility on the taint or indeed benefits of any potential suitor. Clever band managers could soon resemble hedge fun investors juggling several companies at once, liberally peppering their artist’s ‘portfolio’ with ethical brands to keep their own image clean, ensuring that for every iPod a band pushes, Malian Farmers get a few minutes of plugging.
Band’s of the world – you have nothing to lose except your overdrafts, Go Logo!
Editorial by John Power
OUT AND ABOUT: MusicTank Events
MusicTank will shortly announce a half-day event on the back of its recently published and critically acclaimed 2nd report, Meet The Millennials: Fans, Brands and Cultural Communities.
In a marked departure from traditional conference convention, this innovative and highly practical event will see participants putting the report’s marketing roadmaps and checklists into practice, as well as hearing directly from Terry himself.
From understanding consumer behaviour through to fan activation, release strategies, revenue streams, price-points and brand-alignment, this not-to-be missed, unique event is taking place in central London, mid-July.
All details to be released shortly…
Meet The Millennials: Fans, Brands & Cultural Communities, written by Terry McBride and industry cohort, Brent Muhle is now available on the MusicTank website.
“…makes essential reading as it explores the ‘Millennials’…”
[PAUL WILLIAMS, EDITOR – MUSIC WEEK, 17.05.08]
“…a fast-paced, incredibly enthusiastic, positive report…it makes for a refreshing change to hear an industry veteran tell it exactly how it is…it really ought to be bedtime reading for anyone who is attempting to generate success in this disparate, complicated industry.”
[RECORD OF THE DAY, recommended Top 5 must-read articles of the week, 15.05.08.]
“…an upbeat vision of the future that eulogises free music, mash-ups and corporate sponsorship. It’s just not a vision of the future everyone is going to welcome…”
[ANDREW ORLOWSKI, THE REGISTER, 16.05.08]
Picking up where “Beyond The Soundbytes” left off, this report lifts the lid on an increasingly important Millennial demographic, providing an authoritative account of fan influence over musical creation, exploitation and consumption.
“Discovery of new music in the digital economy will be synonymous with consumption”
As well as providing insight into key areas of change, including social networking, mash-up culture, copyright and revenue streams, the report also serves as an indispensable marketing road-map for anyone hoping to succeed in tomorrow’s marketplace. Building on Peter Jenner’s 2006 clarion call, “Meet The Millennials” provides a nuts-and-bolts account of the new music business’s increasingly complex mechanics, combining analysis and discussion with clear, incisive advice from one of industry’s great innovators. Drawing inspiration from his experiences with Nettwerk, Terry’s penchant for experimentation and keen desire to diversify made him the perfect proponent of such an important message.
“Everyone should be a virtual store with micro-monetisation of peer-to-peer recommendations”
Launched recently at The Great Escape, Brighton, the report’s main findings are summed up in a freely available Executive Summary. The full report is available FREE to MusicTank members and available for purchase, ranging from £35 + VAT for individuals to £140 + VAT for companies with 6 or more employees.
For access to the FREE Executive Summary and to access the full report:
JOE POX: The Daily Mail
Like Jeremy Clarkson, sunburnt binge-drinking abroad in Union Jack shorts and an obsession with football, the Daily Mail is what makes the UK a horrible, hideous place. Its poisonous miasma also provides some unintentional humour.
Taking a break from ‘Illegal Immigrants – Your Mortgage At Risk’ headlines, the Pamphlet Of The Pointlessly Pompous has decided to have a go at My Chemical Romance and other emo bands, erroneously calling them a ‘suicide cult’. Like all great (i.e. wrong) Mail features, it’s all about taking a theory, stretching it to breaking point and disregarding all the evidence that suggests that it, you know, is utterly, completely, inescapably wrong.
Emo bands wear black clothes and look at bit ‘different’ so they are all encouraging our kids to fashion a noose out of their empty eyeliners. Yes, MCR do sing about the dark side of life and teenage dislocation, but a simple listen to their lyrics indicates a spinning of hope out of despair. But that doesn’t fit with the Mail’s agenda of Everyone Else Is Wrong & Evil & Not To Be Trusted, so ‘suicide cult’ scaremongering it was. Good on the MCR fans for staging a peaceful protest outside the Mail’s ugly nest at the weekend.
The Mail, in typical arrogant fashion, stated its coverage of the youth movement was “balanced” and “restrained” – two words you’d never associate with that venomous ‘newspaper’. Of course, this won’t reverse the paper’s stance, but it’s brimming proof that the young people of Britain can be sensible, caring and measured. But ‘UK Kids Are Nice And Not All Of Them Will Murder You For Your Second Home’ headlines are never going to make it into the Mail. Long may it continue being wrong and long may the youth of Britain expose them as idiot-yappers of the highest order.
Now, who’s for a MCR covermount on the next Mail On Sunday?
INDUSTRY DIARY: Other Industry Events
2-6 June: City Showcase
City Showcase has stormed ahead this week with standing room only at the Apple Store at Monday’s workshops – and some terrific music in spite of the rain!
It’s not too late to get involved or simply sample some of the talent showcasing throughout this week; Friday 6 June, after the afternoon workshop at the Gibson Studio 29-35 Rathbone Street, Randy Bachman (Bachman Turner Overdrive) will be performing an acoustic set of some of his work.
And all are welcome to the ‘wrap party’ Friday, 6 June from 2.30pm 55 DSL at 10a Newburgh Street
12 June – AIM / Radio Academy Joint Event: Specialist Music 2008
AIM and The Radio Academy will join together to host Specialist Music 2008 – an event which aims to foster a new understanding and improved relationship between the radio and music industries, with particular focus on the field of specialist music. If you’re a label and want to increase your understanding of and contacts in specialist music radio (i.e. the shows after 7pm and on specialist stations), this event is not to be missed!
The event will be hosted by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, and will feature three main sessions, as well as a keynote speaker (tba).
SESSION 1: – “Inside Radio”
The workings of specialist music radio…panelists include Huw Stephens (Radio 1), Harmeet Chadha (BBC and Channel 4 radio), Paul Thomas (BBC Radio 1), Nicky Birch (Somethin’ Else), others tba.
SESSION 2: – “Inside Labels: Radio and the Promotional Mix”
Labels’ approach radio…panelists include: Julie Weir (Visible Noise – Bullet for My Valentine, Lost Prophets), Janine Irons (Dune Music – Soweto Kinch, Abram Wilson), Peter Quicke (Ninja Tune – Coldcut, Cinematic Orchestra), Ben Beardsworth (XL Recordings – Vampire Weekend, Cajun Dance Party) Richard Wootton (Richard Wootton Publicity – plugger) and moderator Chris Parles (ACM).
SESSION 3: “Tomorrow’s World”
The future of specialist music radio and independent music,..panelists include: Pascal Grierson (Cliq), Justin Spooner (BBC Radio 3), Robin Pembrooke (GCap), others tba.
WHEN: 12th June | 2-7.30pm
WHERE: Cargo, 83 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3AY. (Tube – Old Street or Liverpool Street)
PRICE: £20 members of AIM and The Radio Academy, £60 non members.
20% discount on full price tickets for members of affiliate organisations (MMF, MPA, WMF, BPI etc) – making tickets £48 for members of affiliates.
Ticket price includes refreshments on arrival and networking drinks after 6pm and free entry to Cargo club night.
16 & 17 June – Professional Development Programme in Music Publishing
Places are still available for the remaining modules of the MPA / MMF Music Publishing Professional Development Programme 2008. Each module is self-contained so don’t worry if you haven’t attended the previous two.
MODULE 3: Music Publishing in Audio-Visual – Media Rights Holders, Owners and Music Users
• Overview of Music Publishing and Audio-visual Media in the UK: film, television, corporate productions, advertising, games & the world wide web, including user generated content
• Options for Producers & Music Supervisors: commissioned, commercial and library / production music – benefits and opportunities
• Blanket Licensing Agreements
• Assignment of Rights, Income Streams & Participation in Publishing: options, issues, practice and precedent
• Processes and Procedures: decision-making, documentation, commissioning and sync licence negotiations in 2008
• Roles, Responsibilities and Time Scales
• Key Terms & Conditions in Media Licensing
Speakers include Michael Shaw (Boosey & Hawkes, media manager), Tony Satchell (PCAM), Howard Price (EMI Music Publishing Ltd, film & TV coordinator), and Jonathan Tester (Bucks Music Group, synchronisation manager).
Future modules incl.
7 & 8 July – Module 4: Music Publishing & The Recording & Live Industry
4 & 5 Aug – Module 5: Collecting Societies & Global Royalty Streams
WHERE: Copyright House, Berners St, London, W1 | 6.30 – 8.30pm
26 Jun – The Academy and Academia: ‘What Universities Can Offer To Orchestras’
An LCACE Event with the ABO (Association of British Orchestras).
Taking place in the beautiful recently refurbished Portico Rooms within the imposing neoclassical Somerset House, this is an information exchange event to encourage understanding of what academia can offer to Orchestras, and what kinds of issues Orchestras have which higher education institutions might be able to help them address.
The event will be a series of short presentations by academics, about areas of their work which are appropriate to orchestras either now or in the future, and possible sources of funding, and an orchestra who is already working with academics to demonstrate what can be achieved. It will be followed by networking drinks in King’s College London.
Presenters include :
Jonathan Vaughan, Head of Music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama on their relationships with the LSO and the Barbican
Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson of King’s College London on their work in the area of musicology and learning from performance, as well as introducing the Kings Sound Archive
Professor Mark Sandler of Queen Mary, University of London on recent developments in the field of Digital Music
Nancy Evans, Education Manager of BCMG on their ‘Resonance’ project with the University of Birmingham
WHEN: 26 June | 2-5pm
WHERE: Portico Rooms – Somerset House, The Strand London WC2R 1LA
This FREE event will be of interest to CEOs and their education and marketing departments. Spaces are limited – booking is essential through the ABO website:
1 & 2 July – MPA Induction Course: Newcomers To Music Publishing
The MPA Induction Course is an essential overview of the music publishing industry, its organisations and their roles.
WHEN: 1 July: 9.30am – 4.30pm | 2 July: 9.30am – 1.30pm.
WHERE: Copyright House, Berners St, London
PRICE: Places cost £130 + VAT for MPA members | £210 + VAT for non-members. The price includes lunch on the first day, and refreshments throughout.
A registration form, along with more information on this popular event can be found here:
MERRY-GO-ROUND: Skillset Creative Media Workforce Survey
Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for Creative Media, is currently conducting a survey of the creative media workforce. The information collected will give everyone an invaluable insight into how the industry is shaping up in terms of training, qualifications and skills. It will tell us about who is working in the industry, what you do and what you need to do your job effectively. This is your chance to have your say on the future needs of the industry and ensure that your needs are met.
The closing date for completed questionnaires is 30th May 2008. Every response will be invaluable in ensuring that future resources can meet the needs of all. Thank you for your support.
Those interested in participating in this important piece of research can access the survey online here:
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
|If you have any queries regarding any of our events or activities, please call us on +44 (0) 20 8357 7317, or email: email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily condoned or shared by MusicTank. MusicTank is a non-profit organisation owned and operated by University of Westminster. University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Reg Number: 977818, England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London, W1. MusicTank is based at University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3TP
Sections Below:OUT AND ABOUT: MusicTank Events
JOE POX: The Daily Mail
INDUSTRY DIARY: Other Industry Events
MERRY-GO-ROUND: Skillset Creative Media Workforce Survey
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
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