New Music Seminar: Building the $100 Billion Music Business, Part 1

posted by Maressa Levy on June 10, 2013

  • State of the Industry Keynote
  • Music Subscriptions
  • The New Deal
  • NMS Intensive: Tom Jackson:
  • The Managers Movement
  • The New Music Seminar began its first day of panels this morning inside the New Yorker Hotel. The seminar, which also hosts the New York Music Festival, has established itself as a haven for music industry visionaries and leaders to share their knowledge about the business. As Frank Cooper of PepsiCo put it, "Everyone is trying to figure out the new music ecosystem."

    Click through for a recap of the first day of panels, and stay tuned for an overview of the fest's musical performances as well as highlights from the second day of panels.

  • State of the Industry Keynote

    Following opening remarks, New Music Seminar launched into the first panel of the day - the State of the Industry Keynote. While it was a heavy subject for a Monday morning, conductor Tom Silverman and "players" John Sykes (President, Clear Channel), Frank Copper (Global CMO Consumer Engagement, Pepsi Co), and Rio Caraeff (CEO, VEVO) gave attendees a solid overview of the challenges the industry currently faces, as well as a taste of what emerging music business models we can expect.

    The group discussed radio as a curatorial tool, which Sykes was happy to jump in on, stating Clear Channel's iHeartRadio "took some shots on artists we'd never heard of, not just superstars."

    Silverman then directed a question at VEVO's Caraeff, asking the CEO to name some of the tools the company offered new artists. Caraeff responded, "Today, our most successful, original series is called LIFT, and it's all about how we pick artists - and we pick 8-10 artists a year - and we put the weight of the company behind breaking. We create original programming, original events, we create comprehensive marketing plans, we're doing our first live concert showcase in August in Chicago. It's all about discovery of new artists. We've helped break One Direction in the US, there are a lot of artists from Jessie J to Krewella to Kacey Musgraves. There are a lot of artists across all genres that we really try to put the weight of the company behind ... What we want to do is be able to say that VEVO helped this career, VEVO helped this artist break."

  • Music Subscriptions

    After the industry address, I headed into a movement about music subscription services, conducted by Warner Music Group's EVP of Digital Strategy and Business Development Stephen Bryan. Bryan was joined by representatives from Slacker, Rhapsody, WIMP, Sony, SiriusXM, and Spotify, who agreed that the job of music subscription services was to educate consumers.

    Slacker's Jim Cady highlighted "lean back consumers," a term I had never heard but was used to describe consumers that let music come to them. Cady elaborated, "There is a real laziness about how people get their music." Bryan mused that maybe there were too many options for consumers, that they were overwhelmed by the number of music subscription services currently available. Rhapsody president Jim Irwin responded, "You have to deliver great value for your product, and provide guidance for folks. You need to focus on the end user experience."

    Bryan also questioned what subscription services could do to drive music discovery, to which Spotify Head of Development and Analysis Sachin Doshi replied, "Labels and artists tend to be the first movers to encourage music discovery." Referring to the updated Spotify layout, Doshi added, "We've realized, by and large, that users probably don't care what their friends are listening to. So we took more of a Twitter approach, where you can follow people."

  • The New Deal

    I had to squeeze into the next movement, standing wedged between panel attendees in the small Sutton Place conference space. Conductor Monika Tashman, a partner at Fox Rothschild LLP, led a heated discussion about the evolution of partnerships between artist and label.

    As I entered, Rosie Lopez, President of Tommy Boy Entertainment (namesake and label of Tom Silverman, co-founder of the seminar) was stating 360 deals had never worked for the company, saying "The 360 deal was the worst deal we made - the artist was dependent on us for everything."

    Danny Goldberg, President of GoldVE, added that he decides to work with a company depending on the company's track record, and not necessarily the deal they are offering his client.

    Tashman questioned whether this a new deal would incentivize players in the industry other than the artists, to which Lopez responded, "We count monthly in our deal for the first year, where the artist is delivering to us exclusively. Our hope is that when an artist finds getting a check every single month works for them, they're going to work hard when they're touring, so our revenue will be increasing."

  • NMS Intensive: Tom Jackson: "Doing well by doing good."

    I took a short break from panels to pop into Tom Jackson's intensive. The owner of Tom Jackson's Onstage Success is a producer and author that helps artists create "unique memorable moments" in lieu of traditional performances. Jackson has released various DVDs and books as a performance coach, but today, Jackson spoke about TourSupport, his endeavor to raise funds for non-profits.

    TourSupport works by matching up an artist with a charity, which the artist then promotes on stage during their shows (to be eligible, and artist has to perform at least 25 times per year). The artist has information at their merch table about the charity, and collects donations from anyone willing to give. The artist then sends the money to the charity, and recieves a check back in return.

    So why would a charity pay an artist? Charities have found that when a donor is referred by an artist, they are more likely to remain a donor. Essentially, artists are working for a finders fee - they are paid to bring in charitable donations. Each charity is fully vetted in advance to avoid any foul play, and artists may even get the chance to travel overseas and see those they are helping.

  • The Managers Movement

    The Managers Movement was conducted by Steve Rennie, who was joined by major players in the artist management business. Rennie opened the discussion by asking what the biggest changes in management have been. Jake Gold, President and CEO of The Management Trust, answered, "It's become a lot easier to do business around the world because of the internet, but you still need to have the content. I don't believe there is a new business - I'm in the same business, and that's getting my artist's content out to the world." Gold went on the say, "The manager is the front line. The manager really understands the artist's vision. My job is to take that vision and bring it to other people."

    Lee Trink, President of Dare Mighty Entertainment and manager of Kid Rock, added, "One of the biggest challenges is that so many workers have been taken out of the labels, and it's hard to get anything done. Managers have always griped at labels… but the reality is, there aren't enough people in the building to get the work done." The other panelists agreed, even admitting that although they have a label working for them, they hire third parties to help with radio and marketing. While Trink points out that the relevancy of labels is debatable, he added, "there are real deficiencies in what is getting done. It's very difficult to get a high caliber of work across multiple artists."

    An artist manager at heavy hitter management company C3, Dean Raise manages reggae band Rebulation, who prefers not to work with a label. Says Raise, "We wanted the freedom really... we didn't think we would get a favorable deal for the size that they were, but they were willing to get on the road and tour for the next 50 years, regardless of if the album sold." All of the managers agreed that this kind of dedication is what draws them to a management client; Blue Williams, the President of Family Tree Entertainment, applauds creativity as well as tenacity when taking on a management client. "People used to be creative. People would find interns that worked at your company, they'd find your dentist… getting creative still works," Williams said.

    Trink summed up the panel with some advice for all artists hoping to snag a manager: "If you want a career, you better hustle. You better work your ass off."

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    See Also:

    Industry Insider: Tom Silverman of New Music Seminar
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