Be true to yourself in terms of music you are creating: Sony Music's Angela Barkan

The largest consumers of music today be it anywhere in the world are the youths. The way music is consumed by them and the difference they have made in music globally is the focus of MTV Youth Marketing Forum 2012. Adgully spoke to Angela Barkan, Sr. Director of Marketing and Publicity at Sony Music Entertainment recently at the forum.  According to Angela who handles campaigns for a wide range of artists and film soundtracks, the “Millenial” or the people born between 1982-2000 are  making a difference in the way they interact with music. Following is the excerpts of the conversation.
Adgully (AG): You were a part of the Youth Marketing Forum. How did it feel speaking about the youth and also about the whole thing?
Angela Barkan (AB): I was excited  to be a part of the forum and it was great  to speak about music in India which is so far in every sense from what it is in Ney York. But as music is really global and has no boundaries, it made sense for me to be here and to talk about music globally. Talking about youth and their connection with music – they are really a powerful group and are driving many transits.
AG: Can you give us an idea of the topics that were discussed at the marketing forum?
AB: The focus of discussion was the youth and the trends or the ways they are discovering, sharing and talking about music today. We discussed how music differs from other demographics as also how it has changed from the music in the past. I also be talked about ways to market music and also in the way in which music video has made a comeback on the YouTube and other streaming services. The biggest way, the youths are defining music today is by YouTube.
AG: How is marketing music in USA and Europe different from marketing music in India?
AB: Anywhere in the world wherever music has a market, there are similarities to go about it. It is the youth who is the main target audience. So wherever music is marketed, it is important to put communication together between the labels, artists and the fans or the youths. That is how you can take care of success for everybody connected.
AG: Tell us about some of the key things that a label does to develop the artists?
AB: There are many things. Like making sure that the song is right. It involves working at many levels for example with the producers, the marketing department and the PR. The label makes sure that the act of an artist is not wasted. It also includes playing at different venues, at youth marketing forums etc. Another area is playing the music or the band in advertisement campaigns for making it a success.
AG: When you are talking about band association with music, how does band benefit from it?
AB: For the band, it is certainly new audiences and money not necessarily cash but in the form of kind, say guitars for the whole group or hotel accommodation (if there is a brand partnership, because hotels are very expensive these days). A definite benefit is  the affinity with the youths. It gets a growing fans base for the band when say for example a band gets associated with a Coca Cola advertisement.
AG: We have seen in developed markets, the independent artists’ success percentage is more than the success percentage of artists here in India. What you feels need to be done to change the percentage in India?
AB: In any market there is ample of talent. You need to bring that talent in the forefront. The key is to connect with the fans, engage with the fans and do grassroots marketing.
AG: Do you think that the surge in the usage of hand-held devices has helped the music business globally?
AB: Yes, music downloads and tunes on mobiles have helped the music business. The youths want their music and all their entertainment for that matter be it books, chat etc everywhere and any time on demand. So basically for any band to be successful, mobile application is a must.
AG: What is your view on the piracy affecting the music industry globally? Is the scene changing?
AB: It is no secret piracy is still a burning issue and will remain. I think what is changing now is the amount of online streaming service which enables a consumer to buy a new product online at an attractive price. Earlier this was not possible and he had to spend much more
AG: Any message you wish to share with the young musical talent.     
AB: I would say be true to yourself in terms of music you are creating. You cannot be everything so be specific to a group, cater to them and grow with them. Another point I want to make is do things that are innovative, build a communication with your fans online through Facebook etc. Last important point is never miss an opportunity to perform live wherever possible because fans like to see that and connect.

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