Episode 9 (ft. Sammy Andrews): The music business needs to break down its own data silos
Water & Music · 65 minutes ·

Episode 9 (ft. Sammy Andrews): The music business needs to break down its own data silos

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Sammy Andrews
CEO, Deviate Digital
This episode is inspired by Sammy's recent column in Music Week about the stubborn data silos that persist in the music industry.


[2:49] Interview begins

[5:53] Preliminary overview of different data silos that exist among artists, labels, publishers, distributors and streaming platforms. Examples:

  • Siloed consumption data among several labels for the album
  • Siloed audience data among labels and promoters
  • Labels charging outside parties to use retargeting data, not being open to outside pixel tracking

[9:49] Importance of asking for access to certain kinds of data in recording/publishing contracts.

[11:15] Promoters usually get left behind in terms of access to data, but take on the most risk in putting on shows.

  • How can managers and agents help solve the issue?
  • What role can streaming platforms like Spotify play in terms of driving higher clickthrough rates for ticket sales?

[15:09] DSPs have a long way to go before fully nurturing and monetizing superfan relationships.

  • E.g. possibility of streaming services offering artists the data and tools to retarget their most loyal fans off-platform

[16:40] Distributors offering self-serve advertising platforms to indie artists

  • Examples: CD Baby's Show.co; Sammy mentions Beatchain
  • CORRECTION: AdRev, which is owned by CD Baby's parent company, focuses on Content ID management and video monetization, not on advertising.
  • These types of platforms still may have a drawback in terms of full autonomy from a siloed platform.

[21:08] Given that nothing is certain in terms of the future of tech and media companies, the best way to protect artists is to ensure that they can have their consumption, audience and payment data move with them, as opposed to constantly trying to cobble together fragmented sources at the whim of third parties.

[26:05] What are types of data that music companies are very protective about and don't want to share, but whose openness could actually benefit them more?

[30:03] More and more music companies all morphing into the same thing and eating into each other's revenue streams.

  • Original article comes from Music Business Worldwide's Tim Ingham, writing for Rolling Stone.
  • Caveat: Will this consolidation just lead us back to an era of predatory 360 deals?

[33:09] Is bundling an effective solution for breaking down data silos, or does it just take advantage of fans?

[36:10] The chicken-egg problem for solving the data-silo problem: Should we try to build a concrete product first, or start by tackling wider organizational practices and behaviors?

  • Lessons from other industries: practices for a global album launch should be on par with how big-name fashion brands Nike and Adidas plan global product launches.
  • Data silos present artists from being able to treat themselves as legitimate, always-on brands.

[42:31] Overrated/Underrated segment begins

[42:39] Sammy's topic: Big tech players like Netflix, Facebook and Spotify extending and diversifying their reach into entirely different types of content and technologies.

  • Example of a failure: Amazon's short-lived ticketing venture.
  • Where does the music industry fit in, with respect to carving out different routes to market and thinking in a more innovative way about press and media campaigns?

[47:25] Caveats of doing exclusive distribution and content deals with tech platforms

  • Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu chose to go with a traditional big-screen release over a Netflix exclusive deal, which allowed him and the film to break box-office records and have wider cultural impact.
  • Should artists "sign" to streaming platforms — or is the ideal relationship more nuanced?
  • With great content opportunities come great digital advertising opportunities, which can go a much longer way than a single, poorly-placed TV ad. Sammy comes across a few new advertising opportunities for her clients every week.

[52:46] Cherie's topic: Spotify is one of several tech companies supporting Facebook's new cryptocurrency Libra.

  • Spotify published an official post on their website.
  • The Libra partnership parallels Spotify's needs to integrate directly with local telcos in emerging because of the relative lack of separate bank accounts.

Special thanks to Jay Shah for help with editing and mixing!

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