A diverse array of seminars, panels and keynote addresses from a variety of international music biz execs was the order of the day, as the industry gathered at Bilbao’s BEC venue for the annual BIME conference.
Sessions covering all manner of topics were held throughout the day, along with several live artist showcases from talent across the globe, with Cricket Captains, Tom Tiddler’s Ground and Mueran Humanos all taking to the live stage.
Key areas of discussion covered in the morning were the growth of festivals in Spain and Germany, while the ‘Strategies: Building sustainable relationship with the public’ panel explored the ways in which festivals can utilise social media and data to better target and engage customers. The panel included Georgia Taglietti, head of comms at Responsible Comunicacion, Martin Perez Lombarte, director general, Concert Studio, Pedro Martinez, director, Villa Manuela Festival, and Sergio Moreno Miranda, head of comms, Low Festival.
After lunch, Music Week was granted an audience with Spotify’s head of Latin content Rocio Guerrero, in which we talked playlists, video content and the threat of Amazon.
Ahead of her panel session on ‘The Death of the Curator’ she said: “You cannot replace soul, heart and passion, and knowledge of other cultures. And culture can’t be driven by a machine. Only a human is going to understand what you feel when you’re in the shower, or when you’re making love or feeling sad.”
On video content, Guerrero said Spotify will not rush into producing more content unless it is able to offer something fresh and engaging for its customers.
“We are going in that [video] direction, absolutely. But everything we do we test and we see what happens. We didn’t have playlists three years ago, but now they are one of our most important asset. But we’re going to have to do the same with video. We will be evolving our video content and we are definitely putting resources there for it.
And on the subject of Amazon’s newly launched Music Unlimited service, Guerrero welcomed the increased market competition.
“You need to be aware of what’s out there,” she said. “Competition is making us evolve quicker. If it didn’t happen we’d be stuck. On the other hand, you need to focus on what you’re doing, and I think Spotify has been good at that.”
As the day drew to a close, sync deals and brand alignment were placed centre stage, with Austin, senior brand manager at ad firm Ogilvy & Mather, Alex Hoffman, head of music at Vice Media, and Ekatarina Bazhanova, founder of Music Development Russia, gathering to talk about the benefits and pitfalls of such partnerships.
In the session, entitled ‘Is it possible for an artist to sell out when working with a brand?’, Hoffman highlighted the grime genre for its work in the sync field by highlighting the impact it is having on conventional record companies.
“Grime is almost a mini crisis for record labels, because artists are making things happen independently,” he said. “Once your music is out there, it’s out there. I don’t think artists will suffer that much of a backlash these days for working with brands, unless it’s really terrible.”
“Fans are quite open to bands partnering with brands these days,” Austin added. “It’s just another way to make money and for the industry to keep moving. Michaelangleo was paid to paint the Sistine Chapel when he’d much rather have been sculpting something. Everybody needs to pay the bills.”