'We're thinking about audiences all the time': Decca GM Laura Monks on the transition to streaming

'We're thinking about audiences all the time': Decca GM Laura Monks on the transition to streaming

Following a rapid rise through digital, marketing and commercial roles at Decca over the last six years, Laura Monks is stepping up to become general manager at the label.

As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, Monks’ promotion means she will be working alongside Decca president Rebecca Allen as the company prepares for a huge Q4, including the No.1 Rod Stewart album and records from Alfie Boe, Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins. With Decca still heavily reliant on physical sales, Monks opens up to Music Week about “educating” its consumers about the benefits of streaming...

How does it feel to be stepping up at Decca?

“It’s an exciting time at the label. We’ve never had such a busy Q4. Access to music is at an all time high but it is changing. In particular for Decca, where we target audiences that are maybe not the same as all of the other pop labels here [at Universal], we’re very excited about the challenges that brings. We just want to carry on in the vein of what we’ve always done, which is be a label that can bring excellence across such different genres of music and with such amazing artists to the broadest audiences possible. The example of Sheku this year at the Royal Wedding and being one of the first Breakthrough Award artists - there’s more of that to come for Decca.”

How important is your digital background to this role?

“We work really closely with all of our digital partners, and we’ve had loads of positive discussions this year around how we reach the more mainstream audiences that we at Decca have traditionally excelled at with physical sales. I just want to build upon those partnerships and upon those great conversations and the relationships we have with them in the next year, take them to the next level and be able to apply our creative marketing to that.”

It’s an exciting time at the label, we’ve never had such a busy Q4

Laura Monks

Are you looking to help migrate your physical music audience to streaming platforms?

“I’ve always thought of Decca as being custodians in certain genres - the classical music genre, for jazz, and we’ve launched the most successful country music act in the UK. There are lots of genres where we are experts and where we have access to an audience. We maybe are slightly changing our view on how we move an audience, rather than getting somebody to pick up one piece of plastic. So we’re thinking about audiences all the time, and thinking about how our artists can reach those audiences and the best way to do that.”

How can you encourage your consumers take up streaming?

“There is an element of needing to teach certain areas of the audience how to engage with [streaming]. So with new devices being received this Christmas, there will be a lot of people that are going to start asking their hardware to play this artist or that artist. It changes the way we apply our marketing. We’re moving in the right direction, there are a lot of amazing signs that people already engage digitally with our artists and that will continue. We are just helping move that along at a slightly faster pace.”

Can Decca’s roster benefit from genre-based listening via smart speakers?

“We know that once somebody has a device in their home that they are more likely to stream music, and we know they are more likely to listen to more music as a whole. So as soon as we can have people interacting with these devices and with the platforms and with their playlists, we know that it means generally that the listening habit will go up. So it’s just moving that audience, educating them and getting them across that first hurdle. That’s what we like to discuss with our partners and what we are working with them on.”

To read our interview with Decca president Rebecca Allen pick up the latest issue - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here.

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