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UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin: 'Inclusion has to be led from the top'

Following the publication of the UK Music Workforce Diversity survey results, CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin reflects on the findings and sets out the mission to create an industry that is open and accessible to all… At UK Music, we believe it ...

Digital Discourse: Sammy Andrews' guide to Black Friday and making the most of Q4

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? Well, you better be. Q4 is fully upon us and I am dedicating my column this month to helping you navigate the incoming barrage, as well as to helping preserve the sanity of your marketing teams. We are all very familiar with the Q4 consumerism clusterfuck, but in the digital age there is so much to take advantage of, even if you haven’t pumped out a new album, greatest hits or box set. At Deviate Digital, we’re hired by artists, managers, promoters, labels and brands to manage e-commerce campaigns, especially around peak traffic periods, and there is so much potential to boost sales across recorded music, merch and ticketing if you take the time to set it up properly.  Ideally, any set-up needs to be done 60-90 days in advance, but if you’ve left it too late, there are still plenty of things you can do to ensure a great sales period. (But next year maybe put a reminder in your diary for September or October to get your plans together!) Competition is fierce, and you can expect the cost of any paid media to rocket during, before and after the Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, as well as in the lead-up to Christmas. But let me be the first to tell you that simply slinging your marketing team a new asset and a link to your shop two days before is not going to cut it. They’re also not going to thank you for sending the billionth email they receive in the days leading up to these events with last minute requests. The entire Western world is competing for our attention online during this period and we have to make sure we navigate it appropriately. For instance, it can be tempting to assume that a Black Friday strategy should be purely about driving sales – but don’t forget everything you know about the way your users behave online. While one person may make a split second purchase based on an impulse or an ad, another will spend hours researching, comparing and browsing before buying.  It’s worth creating funnels early to catch all consumer types. If you have an artist or event with a high traffic site or social it’s also well worth putting a Black Friday post, landing page or banner on there in the run up. Create those funnels well ahead of the game. While things change daily (read: hourly) in the digital space, it’s 100% worth reviewing your past performance for ads and audiences around peak periods. There may well be an opportunity to up-weight bids more aggressively around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which can lead to bigger returns. If you’re intending to sell across Google, in order to highlight specific offers within the Shopping Network you can use Merchant Promotions to distribute online offers across different Google properties.  The entire Western world is competing for our attention online during this period and we have to make sure we navigate it appropriately Sammy Andrews Also, top tip: if you are running shopping feed ads make sure you’ve removed any out of stock products. If these are still promoted within the shopping feed it’s for sure going to impact cost, reduce customer satisfaction and hinder account optimisation. It’s crucial that you set up the promotions feed in advance of this period as it can take a few days for Google to accept enrolment on to Merchant Promotions. And let me reiterate: do not leave any of this prep too late. Do not email your marketing department a day before expecting them to perform miracles if you haven’t given them enough time. Are you running other ‘business as usual’ or ‘always on’ ads during this period? Consider whether you need to switch them off. They’re going to cost loads more, and you’re suddenly competing with an influx of advertising from thousands of brands into the space. Unless you are happy to take the financial risk or you are sure of cutting through the noise, consider switching them off until the madness subsides, to allow any specific promotional ads to thrive. Utilise those mailing lists ahead of time. Think back to the amount of bullshit mailers you had to delete from your inbox last Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Let your fans know in good time that you’re planning a promotion, give them a peek of what will be on offer to lock them in early. You can also use this data to target ads to exactly the right people at the right time as well as relying on your data directly to do some of the heavy lifting. If you are mailing out on the day itself, subject lines are the be-all and end-all of your email strategy during such a fight for inbox attention, so take the time to craft creative, well-written variations that you can test and learn from. If you’ve not cut through in the way you’d hoped, try extending your promotional period to mop up any residual sales that may be left on the table. There are a lot more tips I could give you, but I’d be talking us out of a job. The big one you really need to know is preparation. And what we all need to be aware of this year is the state of the economy, if we still have one by the time this goes to print. If you have taken the time to read your data properly and know your audience, you’re unlikely to fuck this up. Just make sure your offers and products are well matched, good value and considerate to the financial positions of those buying.

Digital Discourse: Sammy Andrews on managing catalogue campaigns

There has been much public debate about catalogue across the industry. I’d love to share with you my perspective on it from the agency side, and explain why so many people misunderstand the term or don’t understand the need to use catalogue at the right time. At Deviate, we are often approached by labels, managers, publishers, promoters and artists to run catalogue digital marketing and paid media campaigns. It’s something we’re incredibly good at across paid media, eCommerce, socials and streaming services. However, when I use the term catalogue campaign in conversation with people outside of our clients and our company, I can often see the vision that comes to their mind: 60-year-old reel-to-reel master tapes saved from rotting conditions in an unnamed warehouse in the desert, dusted off, digitised and rolled out in a vain attempt to push some money back into them. This just couldn’t be further from the truth in 95% of cases. To understand where this confusion comes from, I think it’s important to understand what catalogue actually is. Anything released in the last 18 months is frontline. Everything else is catalogue. Everything. That’s why so many people are buying it up at rapid rates. An excellent H1 report from industry analytics firm Chartmetric was released on this very subject recently; I would urge you to read it if you haven’t already. The data they explore is too extensive for my word count here. But trust me when I say that it’s time that the music business redefined its understanding of catalogue, its potential and its uses in the new music economy. One of the key findings from that report is that the bulk of the tracks that got significant traction on TikTok were released in the last five years, but remember, any songs older than 18 months are deemed catalogue. When we are brought in to run catalogue campaigns, the approach we take varies greatly depending on the client’s objectives. It could be that we are brought in ahead of a new album to utilise it strategically to heat up algorithms across socials and streaming platforms, or it may be that we are brought in by the new owners of the catalogue to encourage visibility and usage of tracks across socials. Sometimes we are brought in to sell limited edition vinyl box sets and shiny new merch, sometimes we are brought in by managers and live reps to utilise catalogue in order to sell out stadiums in record time. In other cases, we’re brought in by labels to jump on a trending track on socials and convert that to streams or sales. Finally, we help the rightsholders understand the value in running ‘always on’ campaigns for catalogue across all properties, at all times, regardless of the campaign duration. But not everyone understands the value of their catalogue, or how to utilise it at the right time, in the right way. It’s time that the music business redefined its understanding of catalogue Sammy Andrews I would argue that of the many, many tours that go on sale, most have no understanding whatsoever of how to lean on catalogue for ticket sales. As a user of social networks, and also someone who works in the music business, I get served all kinds of ads from artist accounts, and it’s become a running joke in our office to share the ones that are truly – and I mean truly – awful. I get that some people feel the need to push that new frontline track they’ve released on tour promo. But when you have less than three seconds to grab someone’s attention in a social feed, placing this front and foremost in the content you’re using – to appease whoever the fuck it is you’re trying to appease – is bad news for everyone and really bad business. Instead, utilise catalogue here with the right pre-determined audience, then loop into a new track after you’ve got their attention. A tour ad isn’t an ad for your latest track. It’s your ad selling a tour. Be sensible, be smart. Looking to grow an audience across platforms like TikTok, Spotify, Deezer, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook? Utilise catalogue in parallel to pushing your frontline ads. Relying on the fact that someone might have heard a new track in a playlist or on radio is flat-out stupid. If you’re trying to grow an artist’s audience with lapsed fans, potential previously engaged listeners or potential new audiences, lean on your catalogue whenever it makes sense, and make every element of your paid media campaign an irresistible signpost back to your artist’s various profiles. Trying to jump on a track that has seen uplift across socials via organic placement and UGC? Do your fucking research. What videos is it being used on? What’s the context? How can you legitimately use those findings in a way that feels authentic and isn’t insensitive? We have had a few clients come to us when random catalogue tracks – tracks that weren’t even singles at the time of their release – exploded on TikTok with really sensitive context usage, and they wanted to capitalise on that. Do your homework, but know that you can amplify these moments in the right way at the right time. There are many more tips I could give you here, but that would be shedding light on our dark arts... I do, however, think the industry needs to get to grips with what catalogue actually is and how powerful it can be for all rightsholders when used correctly.

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