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As Co-Founder & GM / VP Technology at SongtrustDowntown Music Publishing Group’s technology platform, Joe B. Conyers III oversees global royalty collection from over 100 countries and more than 20,000 unique income sources worldwide. We’re honoured to welcome him as a midemblog ambassador, ahead of his participation in Midem 2018’s US copyright focused-panel!


midemblog: What are the best things about your job, and what have been your career highlights to date?

Joe B. Conyers III: Getting to work with songwriters and my outstanding team. Every day I get to enable creators to do the thing they love: create!

One highlight is that Songtrust just surpassed 150k songwriter clients, making us the largest music publisher by volume. This milestone reminds me of how much progress we’ve made; from our early years when we first sent royalty payments via physical checks all the way to now! It’s astonishing how we’ve grown from just a couple of employees to over 30. Beyond our growth, I consider being named a Digital Power Player twice (and the youngest one ever in my first year ’16) a huge and very humbling highlight.

 

> What advice would you give to people looking to start working in the music industry today?

Know the basics down pat, especially publishing. They say you can go your whole music career not knowing publishing, but until you know publishing you won’t understand the music business. Furthermore, you need good data skills; it’s 2018! Learn to be a boss at spreadsheets, learn some SQL, and maybe a little Python or Javascript. It will impress your boss even if they aren’t good at it themselves. It may not be that cool on paper, but will be helpful as you work in the music business, not the music studio.

 

> What do you predict will be the key trends for music consumption and marketing in 2018?

Currently, consumers are swimming in a sea of content. I predict that this saturation will continue, with there being more music than ever before. Additionally, people will likely continue to diversify the content they consume, listening to music far and wide outside the bounds of what they would traditionally search for. The Stanford Graduate School of Business recently released an article detailing a study revealing changes in music consumption of a group of people who newly made the switch to streaming. It was found that the number of unique artists they heard jumped by 62% in their first week. Six months after the switch, their consumption of music by superstar artists declined by 7%. These findings support that trend of deeper and more diverse music listening which I predict will only continue.

On the marketing front, I think that labels which have figured out how to advertise on social media effectively will continue to utilise it to promote artists’ music. What I hope to see is more investment in the marketing of artists’ catalogues. There is a vast amount of fantastic older music that has fallen off the radar of younger listeners, which could be enjoyed again with the proper marketing.

 

> What is the one innovation that we should be the most excited about?

One innovation that I’m excited about is a part of the industry that’s being brought back from the dead; songwriting credits! You can see this in the oncoming changes with streaming services that are finally pushing writing credits back to the forefront. Discovery of writers through song credits was lost when liner notes disappeared in the shift from physical to digital. I’m thrilled by what Spotify is doing on this front, and I expect more digital service providers to follow. Hopefully, these services will be even be more innovative in the coming years as there is so much to expose in the stories behind the songs we know and love.

 

> And what do you think are the biggest challenges facing the music industry this year?

Our biggest challenge is to help the rest of the world understand streaming, and then convince them to pay for it. With DSPs itching to raise prices to increase their margins (and rights holders eagerly awaiting the same), we will see what consumers are willing and able to pay for their music.

 

 

This is the last 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!


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About Author

James Martin

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

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