From now until Midem this June, some of the world’s most respected label executives — our 2016 Label Ambassadors — will be speaking out here on midemblog about the state of the industry today. Dan Griffiths, Director of Interactive Marketing at The Orchard, 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?
The best thing about working at The Orchard is the company’s progressive outlook on technology within the music industry, and now film industry. What we do is ever-evolving, and to be part of a team of great people who are trying to bring about positive changes within the industry is great.
I get to work with wide variety of different artists from different genres everyday. Some are starting the early stages of their career and others sell a lot of records all over the world. Things never get boring when so much diversity is involved!
Career-wise I would have to say working with Frank Turner from his early days playing in 100 capacity rooms in post-hardcore Million Dead to selling out (the 12,500 capacity) Wembley Arena, world tours and Gold and Silver records during my time at Xtra Mile Recordings. We were a very small team of only four people so it was great to have success on such a large scale.
I also worked the online press and in-part social media for Festival Republic’s Latitude festival for 6 years, from its primitive beginnings to a 30,000-capacity sellout event. Again, they have a smaller team than you may expect so when success comes, you feel like to own part of it, which is exciting!
> What advice would you give to people looking to start working in the music industry today?
I would encourage anyone starting out in music to get yourself out there as much as possible and put your name about. Go to as many shows as possible, apply for as many work placements (telling labels/companies why you want to help them out over anyone else), attend panels and seminars, start your own fanzine/website etc. The music industry isn’t going to come looking for you, so you have to go looking for it!
> What do you predict will be the key trends for music consumption and marketing in 2016?
With regards to consumption, I think we will see a continuation of what happened in Q3 and Q4 of 2015. Streaming growth will continue with both Spotify and Apple Music being the key players. It’s going to be interesting to see how both platforms develop in both established and emerging markets and who claims the bigger slice of the pie in those territories. I also don’t think that any streaming platform has fully cracked the social element of streaming so I would expect to see some movement in this space.
With regards to marketing, I think we will see an increased awareness and an influx of companies within the social sign-in space. Currently there are very few music companies offering the use of the technology and those that do are too expensive to be embraced by the independent sector. I believe that we are likely to see more music companies offer this technology at a more cost effective rate in 2016.
Video will continue to dominate as a medium with new formats being introduced. VR will also make an impact, particularly with the majors, although it may take a little longer to be fully embraced by the wider industry and consumers than the press lead us to believe.
> What is the one innovation that we should be the most excited about?
I think what Blockchain could potentially do for rights management within the music industry presents an interesting opportunity. That particular sector of the industry has been a mess for many years with too many parties involved. Technologies being used currently are unintuitive and don’t speak to one another on a global scale. I think there are so many companies involved with vested interest that it will be hard to make an impact, particularly on a global scale, but Blockchain may prove a medium to help achieve this.
> And what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the music industry this year?
I think the biggest challenge will be to continue to heighten awareness around music streaming and bring it to the mass market. The technology can still be embraced by a much larger audience and I believe there are several reasons why this has not happened yet; the price point, the technology not being as good as it should be during heightened levels of press, negativity shared among certain musicians etc. We need to continue to educate our artists about the benefits of streaming and essentially monetising the relationship they have with their fans. I believe the onboarding process has a trickledown effect, and this starts with the artist.