Angela Barkan, senior director, marketing and media, Masterworks, Sony Music Entertainment, was in Mumbai for the MTV Youth Marketing Forum. We caught up with her to ask a couple of questions about how the music label is engaging fans.
CI: What’s Sony Music doing to engage youth?
Angela Barkan (AB): Many things. One of them is that the youth want to have control and feel that they’re part of the art. What we’re doing is finding ways for fans to really be involved with the final product. One example is that of Kelly Clarkson who for her video ‘Stronger’, sent the dance routine to her fans and asked them to learn it. The fans sent in hundreds of audition tapes, she went through them, posted them all on her Facebook page and included clips in her video. So by including the fans in the final product, you make them feel invested in it, you encourage them to share it with their friends and with people who may not be fans.
CI: What are trends in the US of how youngsters are consuming music?
AB: Downloading is still an issue. What’s happening now is that there are many social networking platforms that provide digital streaming directly. Today there are over 400 digital streaming services. By allowing people alternative ways to access music and by making it easy for them to share the music in a legal way, they are more likely to do it that way.
CI: Is it easier to engage fans of popular music artists versus other those from more niche genres?
AB: I think the space overall is a lot more open. What’s great about social media is that an obscure indie artiste can still get his or her music out there and get very solid, loyal, committed fans. A couple of examples would be Foster The People and The Avett Brothers. For Foster The People, part of the way they grew was that they had a huge song which got picked up for an ad (CI Note: Nylon Magazine used the track 'Pumped Up Kicks' for an online advertisement for Anna Sui, the designer). Now advertising is really a way to break new bands, because brands want to get associated with discovery, versus earlier where the music in ads was about the big popular artistes.