WESTMINSTER MEDIA FORUM KEYNOTE SEMINAR: NEXT STEPS FOR THE UK MUSIC INDUSTRY – STREAMING SERVICES, SOCIAL MEDIA AND MARKET CONSOLIDATION (Part 2)
by Olumayowa O. Adesanya
The second half commenced with opening remarks by the Chairman, Andrew Bingham MP who also introduced the next speaker, Crispin Hunt. His address was on the digital recording artist and how musicians do not necessarily benefit from the huge profit being made. Regarding live performances bringing a huge chunk of income for artists, he reminded us that not all artists are capable of pulling a crowd and where they do, such does not necessarily translate into huge profit after expenses have been deducted. He called on the UK to champion a better framework on the internet and ratify the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. The highlight of his address was the identification of the new emerging world powers: Brazil, India and Google.
Followed by this was a discussion on artist-brand partnerships by Dominic Hodge. After stating the role of FRUKT as an intermediary between brand investment and music, he emphasized that for commercial reasons, brand investment is not for all artistes. The methods identified for brand investment include endorsement, venue sponsorship, event creation, advertising support and Television shows amongst others. In this relationship, the brands benefit in terms of a wider reach to consumers, credibility, creative input from artists and more interacting/interesting stories. As for the artists, they gain the opportunity to expand their fan base while rewarding their fans, increased income from fees and licences as well as the chance to experiment.
The panel on Music and Social Media – disintermediation, business models and fan loyalty had in addition to Messrs Hunt and Hodge, Fiona Chow, Adam Graham and Simon Wheeler. Fiona explained the role of StuHub as a ticket marketplace (which is a part of eBay) and how brands create human connection with fans using the Jessie J competition as an example. Adam Graham went on to identify the important roles label play in the lives of artists signed on to them. These roles include not just creative management, but also offering mentorship and advice. Simon Wheeler advocated for the equal sharing of the value of the creative industry between brands and artists. The panel rounded up by saying illegal downloads are really a matter of conscience and artists ought to look beyond promotion of their works in order to generate more income. This is irrespective of the attitude of artists to the meagre royalties from digital platforms, which is that they might as well give out their works for free.
With closing remarks from Andrew Bingham MP and Michael Ryan, the Deputy Editor of Westminster Media Forum, the seminar came to a close.
It was a well-attended event with insightful and educating contributions from the speakers as well as the audience. Although the digital revolution has provided a level-playing field for upcoming artists to put their materials out there and promote both old and new artists, the ultimate question is: ‘If streaming is akin to radio, then why do artists earn a pittance in royalties?’