From now until Midem this June, some of the world’s most cutting-edge label executives — our 2016 Label Ambassadors — will be speaking out here on midemblog about the state of the industry today. Claire Mas, Head of Digital at Communion Music, is the fourth of our five ambassadors. She is interviewed by Lucy Blair of Motive Unknown, who’s coordinating this series of posts.
midemblog: What are the best things about your job, and what have been your career highlights to date?
Claire Mas: I work in a very exciting space which is constantly evolving. My role demands that I stay on top of all these changes in the digital space. It’s stimulating to be adapting all the time and it’s impossible to get bored or complacent. Communion is a really unique company in the sense that we support artists from an extremely early stage, but also work with major artists; and we work across the entire spectrum of records, promotions and publishing. This means I really get to see digital being applied in almost all areas of the industry.
Another huge privilege is that I work with incredibly intelligent and dedicated people. We are a small group of people in London and New York and although it sounds cliché, it really feels like a family, where everyone is really excited about what they are doing and what the company stands for. We are an artist-friendly and artist-led company who support talent for the long term; this really matters to me.
A career highlight so far has been the opportunity to present and showcase my expertise in digital at many festivals across Europe including Midem but also Primavera, Iceland Airwaves, By:Larm, The Great Escape and Fast Forward.
> What advice would you give to people looking to start working in the music industry today?
Networking and perseverance is everything. Most positions in the industry are not advertised publicly and are filled through personal recommendations. Know what your strengths are, know how to communicate them clearly, make it easy for people to help you and start meeting people. Don’t stress if you don’t have any contacts, I moved to London knowing no one and after a good amount of hassling it turned out just fine. Take any job you can get at the beginning of your career to get your foot in the door, over-deliver, and then it gets a lot easier from there.
I’d also recommend reading industry publications like Music Ally and The Daily Digest from Motive Unknown so you understand the changes that are happening in the industry. Also get your hands on a book about basic legal concepts such as music contracts and copyright if you don’t have a music business education.
> What do you predict will be the key trends for music consumption and marketing in 2016?
Consumption will continue to be incredibly segmented. There have never been so many ways to consume music, and this impacts on how we market to people. We are still waiting to see the full effects of both Apple Music and YouTube Red launching. Dictating what format or which platform fans should consume your music on is not only presumptuous , but it does not work (apart for the rare superstar). That is why I am a huge advocate of tools like Linkfire, which promote the shift in mindset on music consumption: here is my music; now go ahead and consume it in your preferred way. This way you don’t risk the chance of alienating valuable fans.
Related to this, segmented marketing is also increasing. Linkfire and other retargeting tools lets you segment your super fans from casual fans based on the number and the type of touch points. This allows you to change your marketing messages accordingly (for example: a secret playlist for streaming super fans, and a deluxe vinyl for super fans who previously purchased vinyl).
In terms of marketing content, video as a communication format will only continue to increase in importance, both short-form video for marketing messages (driven by Facebook native video and their added reach) and also for live video streaming (on platforms like Periscope, Twitch and Chew.tv).
Media and editorial sites are also changing rapidly. With the increase in ad-blocking software, ad-funded sites are facing big challenges. They also face major competition from influencers on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat, which the new generation looks to for the latest trends. The monetisation of Soundcloud will also impact the blog world, because the universal ad-free player will no longer be the same. I am curious to see how this will impact the blogging community at large.
> What is the one innovation that we should be the most excited about? And what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the music industry this year?
I had a fantastic time at the new FastForward conference this month where Benji Rogers discussed Blockchain technology and how it can be applied to the music industry. If you are new to Blockchain my next post here on midemblog will dig deep into what it is. I think Blockchain is the most exciting innovation because it specifically addresses the biggest challenges we have in the music industry: lack of transparency and efficiency (and metadata). I was really inspired by Benji’s vision and his pragmatic approach. I think it can be said that the industry has in the past been slow to embrace new technology and this should be seen as an exciting and necessary opportunity to keep the industry moving forward instead of playing catch up.
More from Claire & our other Label Ambassadors soon: meanwhile, check out all of their posts to date here!