MAS discuss the Future of Social Media - #BMC2014 Panel Review

MAS discuss the Future of Social Media - #BMC2014 Panel Review

We’re often waxing lyrical about how important it is to have a strategy for social media, and how being original means you can cut through the noise and stand out from the crowd. In recent years, there’s been a boom in social media for music promotion and the success, or failure, of events, festivals, albums and individuals can sometimes hinge entirely on how good your social campaign is.

We were at Brighton Music Conference last weekend, providing live social media coverage and taking part in some of the conference panels. MAS MD, Mike Hollingbery joined Teere Weerasinghe, Vice President of Music Services from Beatport, Spinnin’ Records’ Head of Marketing & Brand Management Meindert Kennis  and DJ Dave Seaman on a panel hosted by Mick Wilson – Tech Editor at DJ Mag, to discuss the future of social media and the changing connections between fans and artists.

The panel followed on from a great opening discussion of the future of electronic music which identified the explosion of the festival scene and the huge audiences commanded on social networks by these events in recent years. MAS love a good festival and work with some of the best up and coming festivals on the circuit, so we deeply understand the power of social media in building communities, reputations and propagating hype and momentum – and selling tickets!

Kicking things off, Mick Wilson asked the panel how the social media landscape has changed, and what artists can do to make themselves stand out. The fundamental reason for being on social is to interact with the people who buy your music, who come to your events and who advocate your brand or label by snapping up merch.

#BMCConference insight - Interactivity on social media brings artists/festivals/labels & their fans closer - the digital experience is rich

— BrightonMusicConf (@BrightonMusicCo) April 11, 2014

The digital experience is now so much richer, and an important platform through which people can experience your event even when they can’t physically be there. As Meindert Kennis identified, the innovation of the Google hangout, the boom in live streaming and the buying decisions of the big social players – Facebook snapping up Instagram, the YouTube + Google + everyone else in the room orgy – has been the catalyst for the digital evolution of the live music experience. There is so much potential for artists to do something unique and get the exposure that can step their career up a gear, it's just knowing what to use and how to use it right.

Mike and Dave Seaman discussed the pros and cons of doing social media yourself vs. getting a professional or an agency to do it for you. In Dave's experience he has been successful in maintaining the 'genuine' nature of that artist-fan connection (which is vital and the lifeblood of what you should be doing on social media - your fans want to think they're connecting with you, not a robot) but there is a technical side that means enlisting the help of a pro is the only option. As networks become more crowded, you have to be able to stay ahead of the curve and adopt new tech, such as mobile apps. Creating a website where you can sell your music, a platform that truly reflects your image and builds your 'brand' needs to be high on your list of priorities – don’t just rely on Facebook! These things require knowledge and experience that it is worth investing in.

Meindert Kennis commented on how Spinnin' Records’ success has been largely down to clever social and how the label has built up a community that does the leg work - successful social means your fans are the ones spreading the word for you! Gone are the days of sending out PR after PR and needing to hit the radio playlists before anyone heard your music - if the fans love it, they'll plug it and if they do that then you're halfway there already! Everything else is sweet serendipity...

Teere from Beatport was very vocal in his support of social media – not only does social become the route by which the ’next big thing’ is often discovered, but he also said its easy to be blinded by the numbers. Headliners are chosen based on the numbers on the wall, but this is increasingly difficult to qualify, and there is a tonne of talent out there that may be being missed because their social media doesn't have 'that' edge...

Teere @beatport - #festivals are the future, and the voice of the people in social media is a driving force in their success #BMC2014

— BrightonMusicConf (@BrightonMusicCo) April 11, 2014

With 25,000 track releases every week, you have to stand out, and the panel all agreed that if you're planning on submitting a release then you must also have a promotion plan, that your distributor, your label and you, can all follow to ensure you get the most exposure in the right place and at the right time. Giving others exposure is also on the list - there's no harm in giving someone else a big up, and they'll do the same for you one day.

Top Tips from the BMC Panel:

Meindert Kennis - don't talk politics, and don't tweet when drunk (echoed by most of the room!)

Teere Weerasinghe - ALWAYS submit a promotion plan when you submit a new release - without it, you'll just get lost in the noise

Mike Hollingbery - be original, and stay ahead of the game - use new technologies and stay up to date with the latest developments

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