The Music Week Tech Summit is an annual event in which different players from the music industry explore and discuss how artists, managers, labels, and more can reach new audiences and engage with existing fans, primarily through technology. Adapting to the pandemic, MWTS went virtual in 2021, and Audiomack was there to help spread the knowledge.
Here are five key takeaways from MWTS for artists who are looking to adapt to and succeed in the virtual world.
An artist is also a creative entrepreneur. As an artist, you must always be seeking new ways to engage with fans, build your presence, and most importantly, react to the ever-changing landscape of the music industry.
“The other option is to see it as a challenge and go, ‘Right, how are we going to do something different?’” said Ben Mawston, Co-Founder and joint CEO of TaP Music Group, regarding Dua Lipa’s success during the pandemic. “She always likes to do things differently and go that extra mile to do something special for the fans, to be different, to constantly be bettering herself. These were the circumstances in which to demonstrate that.”
The future is hybrid. In today’s market, you need to coexist in both the virtual and physical worlds. The pandemic has made this especially clear, with a greater focus shifting to the virtual world, from virtual shows to live streaming and even online networking. While things slowly return to the status quo, many of the ways we adapted to the pandemic will stick.
“Technology has been forced upon us and adopted faster through the pandemic,” said Dan Chalmers, Director of YouTube Music, EMEA. “Those habits will remain. I think we’re the beginning of a revolution in the format.”
Being your authentic self can mean saying “No” under pressure. With so many tools to succeed, and many people telling you what you should and should not do, it can be easy to chase trends. Yet, if something does not feel true to your voice, or does not fit your brand identity and wavelength, it is better to avoid it altogether.
“One of the most important things for an artist who wants to implement a new platform is to first understand what excites them about the platform,” said Tim Collins, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Creed Media. “You can fabricate the liking of any media but… artists need to find which niche is true to them.”
“There’s enough pressure on artists to be artists,” said recording artist and podcaster Jessie Ware. “It probably will become this very prescriptive thing that’s discussed in product meetings, and that makes my heart sink a bit. Some artists make incredible music, but they’re quiet and that must still be respected and honored.”
The virtual world is a great leveler. We now live in an era where anybody can conceivably connect with anyone. We are no longer separated by distance and time. Use this to your advantage when collaborating, seeking mentors, or building your voice. At the end of the day, we are a global community of creatives. Use these tools to build your global network.
“When you run in-person camps, the more experienced writers could take over,” said John Thompson, CEO of Distiller Music Group, regarding virtual writing camps. “What we found about the virtual environment is it’s a great leveler. Doesn’t matter what experience you’ve got, everyone is participating on an equal foot.”
A small seed can become a big tree. Find your community. The virtual world is not just a great tool to network, but also to find or build a community. It is easier than ever to surpass physical limitations when reaching out to fans. You can now connect artists with fans, fans with fans, and fans with artists like never before. Moreover, use tools, such as the Audiomack Creator Dashboard, to figure out places where you may be able to build a new community. Data can show you where you may unexpectedly have certain communities and with this knowledge, you can leverage business decisions or marketing ideas.
“Going online has been a gift in a way because it’s enabled us to get the whole community together,” said Cleo Amedume of Girls I Rate.
“That is truly what we’re terrible at as an industry, that everyone feels quite competitive,” concluded Mike Malak, Senior Agent at book agency Paradigm, home to artists such as Denzel Curry and Normani. “We have to encourage more discussions like this and try and put our egos to the side and try to work out what this new model is, where we all fit and hopefully support each other.”
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