DJ Promoter News and Information
London Calling 2007 - Review and Photos
DJpromoter.com attended the third ever London Calling music conference. The conference was held on Thursday 28th and Friday 29th June at Earl's Court Exhibition Centre, London. The conference provides an invaluable opportunity for promoting/marketing, industry networking, A&R and information gathering. There are DJ and artist performances throughout the day, as well as equipment demos, website and digital technology demos, forums and workshops.
In the forums, there are presentations and discussion sessions among experienced panelists from within the music industry, with the audience given the opportunity to ask questions at the end. I managed to attend the following forums:
The Future of Music Brands
Can The Music Industry Be Rebuilt?
The Three Ages of Technology Users
Some of the more interesting points/comments that I picked up were as follows:
- There was a discussion about online social networking communities such as MySpace, YouTube and Bebo, with the following interesting quote: "There is no social networking community specifically for the music business/musicians/DJs".
So even though there are probably millions of musicians and DJs on MySpace (not to mention 'so called' musicians/DJs), you have to wade through so much irrelevant 'noise' to find what you are searching for, or to find the genuine quality material. There is also the increasing nature of 'the disposable society' to consider, so unless you have a 'hook' that tempts people to keep coming back, they will quickly get bored and move on to something else.
So it was suggested that not only does the music industry need its own social networking community, but that segmentation within the community would also be beneficial. This would enable a model that allows you to target your website community and music downloads/streaming to a particular niche, which provides the following benefits:
- Makes it easier for the end users/listeners to find you in the first place
- Makes the end user/listener experience more satisfying, hence encouraging them to come back for more
- Will the concept of an album even exist in the future? Since within the digital model, consumers will often only buy individual tracks.
- There was a discussion about the quality of digital formats for storing music. The consensus being that whilst the end listener may be happy with lower bitrate formats, most serious DJs and producers would rather they were working with the highest lossless quality formats. However there was a notable comment made by one of the panelists who said (paraphrasing) that the industry should not simply accept formats such as .WAV or .FLAC as the standard. His reasoning being that such formats are only of CD quality, whereas the industry should be striving to something better that recaptures the 'warmth' of the traditional vinyl sound (or better still, supersedes it).
- How will the traditional radio broadcasting industry cope with the increasing number of independent radio stations and individual DJs who are broadcasting their own shows via the internet? Given that the listener can now find radio stations online that cater for their own specific tastes, do the traditional broadcasters even have a future outside of mainstream music? In my opinion the effect of this has already been seen with the likes of Radio One having become more mainstream and less diverse than it was in the 1980s and 1990s.
- There was a discussion on digital/internet marketing versus traditional marketing, with one panelist strongly concluding that you need the right balance between both. I can understand that point of view, since digital/internet marketing can be swamped with so much 'noise' making it more difficult to rise above the masses. So perhaps an element of traditional marketing (targeted and/or localised) could be the extra boost that you need to get yourself noticed on the internet?
- For labels and record companies, in today's climate it was suggested that a revenue model based purely on the consumer public doesn't work. So other revenue streams are needed, such as selling to big name brands, or setting up co-licensing agreements.
- Brand companies can sometimes have a limited understanding about the way the music industry works. To illustrate this, an example was given of a brand company who asked the record company if an artist could be licensed exclusively to their advertising campaign. But record companies cannot permit that! They can only license individual songs.
- One of the panelists put forward his idea for a 'one stop shop' that everyone in the industry could utilise for licensing and brand partnerships. The reason for this being that the current process for this can take ages to set up, due to legal implications and too much red tape. For example, when working with the multi-national record companies, it is not unusual for them to take as much as six months to respond to a simple question or request. Whilst acknowledged by the other panelists as a great idea, the general consensus was that this 'one stop shop' wasn't realistic. It was thought that the closest the industry could get to this might be on a 'per project' basis, i.e. each individual project sets up its own 'one stop shop' to handle everything relating to the licensing and brand partnerships.
- I leave the best quote from the forums to last, by Oli Tretheway (OMD Fuse) offering the following opinion about the future of the music industry: "If everyone thinks in a self-centred way, they will kill it". Never a truer word spoken, and sadly I have seen this happening for myself within the dance music scene in my home city of Glasgow.
Other than the forums, my main focus at the conference was to seek out potential business partners for DJpromoter.com. I did pick up a few useful tips and potential leads via third parties. However it was difficult to find direct contacts at the conference who were there to look for business or investment opportunities (last year's event had seemed a bit more useful in that respect), since the majority of people were there for promotional and marketing reasons. So perhaps it could be something the organisers might better cater for in the future, e.g. a London Calling Dragon's Den?
Source: djpromoter - added 09 Jul 2007