midemblog: What are the best things about your job, and what have been your career highlights to date?
Rachel Stoewer: To me, working in Digital Marketing is like defying gravity. You keep floating and rising with the entire universe at your fingertips. New ideas, inventions and technologies pop up out of nowhere, some you utilise them and others float away. There is never a dull moment, every campaign is different. Digital marketers have a tonne of power in 2018 and that excites me. It also overwhelms me, but no great strategist ever became a ‘great’ without getting occasionally overwhelmed.
It’s tough to narrow down the best things about my job; it’s the amazing people I’ve met throughout the industry, the creative control I have at an indie and the effect I can have on a campaign. The most rewarding thing about what I do is when a project makes it’s way into my heart. From seeing that first gig and having a vision for a project, meeting a strong and smart artist/management team, to getting your first big playlist and negotiating exciting partnerships as your artist grows, it feeds my passion and truly fuels me; day in and day out. I’ve been lucky enough to experience this with some iconic artists over the past 13 years, which brings me to my career highlights.
I am still blown away that somehow I’ve been lucky enough to work with artists like Adele early in their careers. Whilst working for Sony back in 2007, I saw her play to 75 people before she released ‘19’. Last year I was at her Wembley Stadium show and it was incredible to see the journey she has taken. Some of the opportunities I’ve had make my heart swell, such as working projects for my all-time idol Bob Dylan, sitting in a boardroom with his manager and being part of the team.
More recently, my career highlights have been working with some of the best artists whilst in New York City and London, such as CHVRCHES and now Nina Nesbitt. They have been such exciting artists and campaigns. I cannot wait to see what continues to happen with them.
> What advice would you give to people looking to start working in the music industry today?
Networking is important from the start. Relationships are key in our industry so meet as many people as you can and find the ones that want to stand by your side. Over the years you will find that those people become your peers, your bosses and your key contacts. Start connecting the dots and asking them and yourself questions.
It’s also important to be up-to-date on music news and pop culture. Read all the industry trades and be a sponge. Educate yourself on streaming, playlisting, chart positions and new trends in digital. In this business, passion and ambition should be driving you. As long as you have that, you will be successful.
> What do you predict will be the key trends for music consumption and marketing in 2018?
Video playlisting has recently emerged from some of the top retail platforms and it’s a trend that will not be going away with YouTube stepping up and Facebook getting their licenses in place. I believe music in 2018 will be strongly driven by video.
Voice recognition devices will continue to grow and as metadata gets stronger the devices can become more accurate. However as concerns start to build over personal data being shared, whether warranted or not, the success of these devices may be decided by public perception.
> What is the one innovation that we should be the most excited about?
Augmented reality is looking like it will open up some incredible opportunities in marketing and fan engagement. Any platform that allows us to reach more people in interesting ways and increase our contact points with key demographics, is always going to be exciting especially in music where traditional marketing routes are becoming crowded and less viable.
One thing that sparked my interest recently during AIM’s Music Connected conference was hearing a panelist lightly touch on the benefits of AR relating to mental health. I would like to explore this path further and see how it could relate to music.
> And what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the music industry this year?
Up until now the competition between DSPs has been healthy, often benefiting the artist with incentives and opportunities given to those who align with specific brands. However as streaming continues to thrive and video starts to become included in the services, each platform grows and the stakes become higher. It is possible that the territorial drive toward exclusivity of music and content could have a detrimental effect on marketing campaigns. If the aim for artists is to reach and connect with fans in order grow their careers, then access should be the ultimate driver.
Data ownership has been a hot topic in 2018 and with the GDPR coming into force for the UK and Europe it will continue to be a challenge. This step toward user consent of data capture is very important as social networks thrive and advertising gets smarter, but it will be essential that we navigate this issue wisely over the coming year and beyond.
This is the first in a series of posts from key industry influencers from the world over, whom you’ll be able to meet at Midem 2018. More soon!