Four Artists was established as a platform to promote concerts of German hip-hop act Die Fantastischen Vier in 1998. Today, the concert agency is one of the leading institutions of its kind in Germany, representing a wide range of artists like SEEED, Fritz Kalkbrenner and many more. We sat down with Alex Richter, a founding member of Four Artists and the agency’s managing director, to talk social and digital media’s role when it comes to concerts, live streams, and the music industry’s future.
midemblog: In what ways are digital and social media influencing your business?
Alex Richter: Music is a very emotional business. Social media allows companies to address consumers in a more individual way than conventional media. Advertising, for example, reaches the target audience in a less focused manner.
> Which tools are the most important?
I’d say mainly: monitoring; efficient content management; and Facebook advertising.
> Can artists be successful without Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms?
As other media tend to lose importance, artists can be at least as successful with Facebook and Twitter, if not more so. These platforms allow direct contact between artists and fans, and let the former spread information on new products, tours and so on immediately.
> How do livestreams affect concerts?
There are several aspects attached to streaming. The attention to the concert can be increased by the medium that broadcasts the stream, the stream itself can become an event, without regional limitations, as the show can be seen nation- or world-wide.
> Are livestreams helping you promote your artists?
Live streams will never replace the feeling of being in the middle of an audience in front of a stage. Streams can only give an impression of the event and, hopefully, create a desire to attend in person next time. However, Four Artists is always open to new technology. A few years ago we organised the first ever 3D concert with Die Fantastischen Vier. The show was recorded in a small venue and broadcasted in cinemas all over Germany.
> How will digital and social media be implemented in future concerts?
Digital and social media primarily provide information. Of course, the social aspect of getting together easily or discussing a happening with other fans should also be considered. A direct response to the artists on how the concert was experienced is interesting as well.
> The revenue model of an artist has fundamentally changed over the years. What is your forecast for this development?
I think that artists will reduce recording expenses by taking over more tasks in the recording process. Record companies will not disappear completely, but will only be relevant for artists of a certain size. Newcomers have the opportunity to promote, market and distribute their music at their own expense.
> What will be the main source of income for an artist?
Touring and live shows, as they cannot be copied.
> How does Four Artists use digital and social media?
Without mentioning names, there are many examples of artists who have a very strong relationship to their fans via Facebook or Twitter. They reach thousands of fans and potential fans within minutes. In some music genres, traditional media like radio and TV has lost its influence completely – fans with high digital affinities use digital media almost exclusively.
> What is next for the music industry?
Possibilities of distributing music will become more diversified. It is therefore very important to respond to the artist’s requirements. The music industry will need to find individual strategies to help promote the artist and his music.
> And for digital and social media?
I guess that the importance of digital and social media will grow continuously, the peak of dissemination, especially in social media has not yet been reached.