Last week I spoke at the Hospital Club as part of the Internet Week Europe series of events. I was chairing a panel to discuss the challenge of artists and music services working with brands in the digital age.
I was joined by some old friends and vocal commentators - Dave Haynes (@haynes_dave) from Soundcloud, Stefan Baumschlager (@baumschlager) from Last.fm and Joey Swarbrick, manager of Rizzle Kicks (@joeyswarbrick).
We talked though how the space has changed dramatically over the last two years and howw the role of brands is now integral to the business models of many services and therefore an increasingly important source of income for artists. It's also clear that brands are moving beyond display ads or one-off digital spikes and looking to integrate digital elements into wider ATL and experiential activity. The Blackberry Live & Lost campaign was held up as a great example of this, which harnessed conversation through multiple channels and gave the audience direct and meaningful contact with the artists who took part. The Coca-Cola 24 Hour Session - which FRUKT were heavily involved in - was also praised for the way it created continuous interaction between fans and artist.
It's also becoming increasingly clear that younger artists are embracing the digital space to try new things, connecting directly with fans quickly and most of all broadening their reach to audiences that traditional media couldn't always provide. Generating revenue from streams, downloads or brands is a secondary benefit and certainly not the main source of income for artists in the early part of their careers. It was really refreshing to see that the potential reach and resources that brands can offer is being looked at before just the $$$$.
The importance of fit, good planning and artist buy-in were, as always, touted as keys to successful brand/artists partnerships and there was some direct criticism of PR-driven launch events and celeb parties, which really added no long term benefit to either side.
So all in all the future looks bright and there's a clear demand for innovative partnerships from artists and music services alike.