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Posted inNews

Chatty Penguin’s Cally Hocknell talks marketing, stories and Insta-famous eggs

“What’s the point of marketers like me, why would you commission research, when an egg knocks Kylie Jenner off the top spot on Instagram?!”

There were jokes and sharp insight in equal measures in music marketer and Chatty Penguin founder Cally Hocknell’s presentation at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam on Friday.

She was referring to the recent campaign that saw a photo of a boiled egg become the most-followed Instagram account. After noting its canny use of hashtags in the comments rather than just in the description, Hocknell pointed to the egg’s emotional message.

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Vinyl in 2019: ‘We’re coming back to the joy, the addiction…’

The vinyl revival continues, and is still warmly welcomed by artists, labels and record stores alike. A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week explored some of the trends around the format.

The panel included Giancarlo Sciama, former EMI/Universal exec turned catalogue marketing consultant; Karen Emanuel, founder and CEO at Key Production; Claire Pace, VP of people and culture at Discogs; and Vangel Vlaski, senior label manager at Proper Music Distribution. Megan Page, coordinator of Record Store Day UK, moderated.

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Interscope EVP: streaming spurs creative exploration in hip-hop / R&B signings

The current popularity of hip-hop and R&B on music-streaming services is enabling labels to sign more artists, and thus take more creative risks, according to Nicole Wyskoarko, EVP of urban operations at Interscope Geffen A&M.

“This is an amazing time to be in urban music. We’re able to really monetise urban music on a scale that we never have before: not that I’ve seen. And we also have the metrics to support it as well,” she said in a keynote at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam.

“In the past, it felt more niche, and now it feels like it truly is pop music, as far as popularity is concerned… It’s an exciting time, and it’s also exciting with the deals. We’re signing so many acts,” continued Wyskoarko.

“I feel like we get to really explore what urban music is, because there’s so many more artists we can work with now. Because financially it justifies it. We can sign an artist like Summer Walker, that’s R&B but maybe left-of-centre. Another artist called Ari Lennox. Or Juice Wrld.”

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Pitch imperfect: ‘This process of trying to get on playlists is becoming borderline farcical’

Playlists continue to grow in prominence (within the music-streaming world) and importance (for artists looking for their breakout moment). So what are the latest trends that artists, managers and labels should be thinking about and responding to? A panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today explored them.

The panelists included Aditi Arora, director of product management at Gracenote; Catherine Lückhoff, CIO at Swipe iX; and Darren Hemmings, managing director at Motive Unknown. The moderator was Poppy Reid, managing editor at The Brag Media Group.

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Sofar Sounds founder explains how it built a global music community

Sofar Sounds has built a big network of people running ‘secret gigs and intimate concerts’ across the world: its events take place in nearly 430 cities now.

Founder and CEO Rafe Offer has just handed over the reins to incoming CEO Jim Lucchese, formerly of The Echo Nest. Offer remains as executive chair, however, and will continue flying the flag for Sofar Sounds globally – including a keynote speech today at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam.

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SoundCloud: ‘Do not think of us [just] as a streaming service… we’re a form of social media’

How did Chance the Rapper, Lil Uzi Vert and other artists have such success building an audience on SoundCloud? Because they saw it as more than just a music-streaming service.

That’s according to SoundCloud’s director of label relations Julia Killer, who was talking at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam last week.

“Do not think of us as a streaming service. Yes, we’re a streaming service, but first and foremost we’re a form of social media,” she said.

“The more you engage, the more results you get. End of. It’s up to you to set yourself up for success on the platform.”

Chance the Rapper famously gave SoundCloud a shout-out when accepting a Grammy award in early 2017, and later came to the company’s defence on Twitter when it was under pressure over its financial situation.

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The future of the music industry: blockchain, diversity, hologram Roy Orbison and more

FastForward prides itself on doing things a bit differently from other music-industry conferences, from its diverse speakers and youthful audience to its now-traditional alcohol-fuelled closing panel, with its promise of less-guarded views on the industry’s key trends.

Cue this year’s session, with panelists including Communion Music’s Chris Scott; PPL’s Mark Douglas; Remote Control Agency’s Pat Carr; and CI’s Summer Kim. The moderator was FastForward founder Chris Carey.

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Diversity in the music industry: ‘We are all part of the solution’

From the recent open letters from women working in the Swedish and Australian music industries condemning harassment to the ‘step up’ storm currently engulfing Grammys organiser the Recording Academy, diversity is a huge topic for our industry in 2018.

The term covers a number of related issues, from harassment to equal opportunities to enter and advance up the industry for women, people of colour and other groups. So how well are music companies tackling these challenges, and how can they improve?

Live Nation Entertainment’s director of diversity and inclusion, Genevieve O’Neil, offered her assessment of the progress being made and the barriers still standing, in a speech at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today.

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Striking the right notes with artist-focused advertising

Forget big-budget TV ads, billboard campaigns and radio promos. How can labels and other music marketers capitalise on new technologies to run the most effective advertising campaigns for their artists? And how will these techs evolve in the future?

That was the topic for a panel at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today. Speakers included Abhishek Sen from NumberEight; Nikoo Sadr from The Orchard; Pat Carr of Remote Control Agency; and Sebastian Simone of Warner Bros Records. The moderator was Liz Stokes from Record of the Day.

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How NoCopyrightSounds went from YouTube channel to indie label with 1.2bn streams

NoCopyrightSounds first came to the attention of many people in the music industry for its role as the launchpad for Norwegian artist Alan Walker’s track ‘Faded’.

How could a YouTube channel devoted to making tracks available royalty-free for gaming channels on that service to use as their backing music spawn a global hit?

It’s a fascinating story that has continued, with NCS now having more than 14 million subscribers to its channel, and having sold a million tracks as it evolved into an independent label.

Label manager Daniel Lee outlined some of the lessons of this journey in a speech at the FastForward conference in Amsterdam today.