Eurosonic/Noorderslag: A New Era for the Music Industry
When the Christmas trees have gone and the New Year’s fireworks are out, it’s time to head off to Groningen for Eurosonic/Noorderslag (ESNS). Some call it the SXSW of Europe. Four days of seminars and showcases, where the music industry comes together to talk business and enjoy showcases of European acts that are about to make it to the big stage.
It’s a fresh approach this year: no more trending topics like new business models or piracy –which can only mean we’ve moved into a new era.
FOR THE LOVE OF DATA
DATA-DATA-DATA-Big Data, that’s what it’s all about. It’s hard to visit a panel where the D-word isn’t dropped. Yes, any marketer knows knowledge is power, and the amount of available data within this digitized industry is ever growing. Perhaps Google’s chief economist Hal Varian was right when he stated that statisticians nowadays have the sexiest jobs on earth.
YouTube, always on the front row at ESNS, has these numbers just like one would expect being the biggest (free!) music platform in the world.
NUMBERS INTO EMOTION
Funny enough though, with data becoming more readily available, people behind the business are coming to terms that not everything can be auto-generated by data analysis and complex algorithms. Within this industry revolving around evoking emotion with its audience, it proves difficult to capture personal taste and preference in numbers. Look at thriving platforms like : where the success lies in hyper-local stories based on personal taste and pickings. Or Spotify, that has fully embraced the power of playlists curated by their local music research teams.
INNOVATION CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE
Innovation is gaining more traction throughout the conference, which shows initiatives like and . Just to highlight two things that got our creative minds working:
It’s just a simple insight that festivals are like temporary mini societies and can be approached as test-labs to generate valuable ‘data’ for people who want to test new products or gain insights on crowd behavior. sees this potential and aims to bridge the gap between innovators and festivals.
The experience of building a mini city where there are no resources is not just limited to the festival perimeter, it can be deployed anywhere. Which is beautifully showcased in the movement, where festival experts share their resources and knowledge to build winter-proof camps for refugees on the island of Lesbos.
BUSINESS MODEL IN TRANSITION
However, true innovation within the music industry does not lie in the use of data but in rethinking the business model. In 2016 sponsorship deals with brands and live music make up a much bigger part of total revenue when compared to earlier years.
Repucom presented their global music sponsorship results and showed some exiting findings. Among Millenials, music surpasses sports as the biggest passion field. Of the global estimated 3.2 billion USD spent on live music sponsoring, nearly half (48%) is spent within the US market. With the beer category ranked as the highest spender (20%).
We don’t always have to look to the future to find the most forward thinking insights. While taking a walk through history one might say that innovation is inherent to the music industry altogether. This was clearly put forward by the writers of the books on (manager of Beatles and Rolling Stones) and record label .
MANAGING THE BEATLES FOR DUMMIES
Klein was ahead of his time, re-inventing artist contracts. Through ruthless negotiations he succeed in shifting power from the record companies to the artists. This made his clients a lot of money, and himself even more so (which didn’t make him the most popular kid in town). If you’re interested in learning about negotiation skills, new business models or just about how he managed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones: this has it all.
MOTOWN SHOWED THE INDUSTRY HOW IT'S DONE
When discussing forward-thinking in the music industry and reinventing artist contracts Motown has to be brought up at some point for two solid reasons. First of all race and gender were no obstacles to rise on the company ladder – which in the America of the 60’s was a big thing (and actually still is today). Furthermore, Motown reinvented the business model when it proved difficult to find investors for a record label with a colored CEO: Motown not just recorded their artists music, they managed them, booked shows and handled their publishing as well. The 360-approach avant la lettre.
A’DAM: EYE-CANDY FOR THE AMSTERDAM SKYLINE
from the past to build a better future has resulted in the tower where we are moving our MassiveMusic Amsterdam
office into later this year. A’DAM is a new landmark in Amsterdam. It will
function as a hub for a wide range of musical companies. Besides offices A’DAM
will host multiple public functions as well (clubs, restaurant, viewing deck,
hotel, music school, bar etc.). Like Run D
rapped before: One, two
three, it’s the place to be…
People in the industry are taking notice, which is why Hans Brouwer - founder of MassiveMusic and one of the four founding fathers of A’DAM – was interviewed to elaborate on the details. Watch the whole 3voor12 interview (in Dutch)
That, innovation and revolution are often met by misconception and unwillingness to change, is as old as the road Groningen. This became abundantly clear when hip-hop formation New Wave (TopNotch) won the Popprijs 2016. The jury report applauded the group for their ability to reach out to young listeners and their enormous digital reach all together (over 80 million You-Tube hits).
However the critics seemed to take a more conservative angle to the price and therefore arguing that the group would make music much to simple for such a prestigious prize.
While New Wave took the stage it turned out that the critics found quite some backing in the crowd. Some even started to leave during the concert, having preferred a Kensington or Tyfoon to win the prize. However, while parents where leaving the venue, their kids didn’t even bother showing up in the first place. They were streaming New Wave from the comfort of their own bedrooms already.
IN CONLUSION: THE ERA IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE ERA
No more whining debates regarding the crisis and new ecosystem within the music industry. No more about illegal downloading and the downwards spiral it caused in record sales. Meaning; we’ve entered a new era in which the music industry is looking for new creative ways to be profitable and it’s working (more or less).
Live music is much more than just music. Every year there’s more room for innovation. In this new era, brands are finding their way to the music domain and we see interesting and succesful collaborations happening. This promises to be a bright future for the industry.