Change is coming: Paul Pacifico lifts the lid on his reign as AIM CEO

Change is coming: Paul Pacifico lifts the lid on his reign as AIM CEO

Paul Pacifico has opened up about his reign at AIM, telling Music Week that levels of opportunity in the independent sector have never been stronger.

“I get a real sense that the industry feel that AIM is fizzing and that we’re into some really interesting areas,” said Pacifico, who succeeded Alison Wenham as CEO in September 2016.

Speaking in the new issue of Music Week in his first big interview since stepping into the role, he continued: “Obviously, I’ve come in as a new CEO after 18 years of organic growth, so there have been things that I’ve wanted to change, to restructure, to respond better to our members, to be more representative, to mirror better the voice of entrepreneurship in music today. Those changes are starting to take effect. The team have responded brilliantly.”

Pacifico, whose previous posts include positions at the Featured Artists Coalition and the International Artist Organisation, described 2018 as “an action year” for AIM under his stewardship.

By the time 2019 rolls around, he said “Anybody thinking about coming into music professionally should be looking at AIM and saying, ‘I need to be part of that, that’s where access to information, news and innovation is going on.’”

Delving deeper into the mechanics of how AIM can help push the independent sector forward, he said the organisation’s role was to provide answers to questions such as, “‘How do you raise finance?’, ‘How do you stabilise a business?’, ‘How do you protect your cashflow whilst also coming to grips with the complexity of the digital supply chain?’.”

Pacifico, who plans to keep innovation and education at the forefront of AIM’s work in the business, said that he expects companies forming today to grow into established industry names.

“How do we really start to get a next generation of the established independent community to become brands that we all know?” he asked. “Part of that challenge is funding, part of it is structure, access to markets, and really that’s where AIM needs to be operating with a real focus on each area.”

Independent music, over time, stands to do very, very well from streaming

Paul Pacifico, AIM

Pacifico addressed a number of other issues affecting the independent sector, including its impact on streaming platforms.

Indeed, he stated that, “Independent music, over time, stands to do very, very well from streaming because, ultimately, the fans decide.”

Pacifico argued that, because music from the indie sector has lower skip rates than the rest of the market, “Our most passionate fans seem to be drawn towards independent music. I don’t think that’s any surprise to anybody because it tends to be the more interesting content.”

“Independent labels are showing time and again that their cutting edge A&R expertise is second to none,” he added. “Their ability to make great things happen on very scant resources is unbelievable.”

Pacifico also spoke out on the issue of diversity and equality in the music industry. The CEO stated that the industry is not yet “ready for change”.

“I think it wants to be ready, there are people in the industry who are ready, but it is a systemic problem,” he said. “And it is a problem that the industry does not even see properly, because it’s too close to it. The double standard is very deeply entrenched and we need to think about that.”

Subscribers can read the interview in full online here.

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