Decoding The Music Industry: Rising Above the Noise

Revisit the final installment of Beatport’s new three-part panel series, "Decoding The Music Industry."

6 min
Decoding Music Industry pt 3
Aug 30, 2023
Vincent Morris

For the final installment of Beatport’s three-part live panel series ‘Decoding the Music Industry’ (August 24th), host Emilie Birks was joined by Lynda Phoenix (Beatport), Aly McHugh (Listen Up) and Jay Ahmed (Your Army).

Titled ‘Rising Above the Noise,’ the discussion covered all things music promotion, branding and strategy. With key highlights on how to systematically market a promotional campaign and the host of options that are now available today, the session offered professional insights for artists both new and established.

For the full take, listen to the panel discussion below.

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“Research bases the foundation of every marketing plan and every marketing strategy […] If you’re an artist that really wants to refine your brand, and you really want to understand a little bit more about how to visually represent yourself, the content you want to put out, it all starts with research.” – Lynda Phoenix

The panel unanimously agreed that research is a vital first step before creating a marketing strategy for an artist. The suggestions given included evaluating one’s own content output, looking to peers in the space for guidance and inspiration, and knowing exactly how and where you want to position yourself.

Phoenix also pointed out that often we can learn a lot from observing our own consumption behaviors – “if you actually really observe yourself as a consumer, that’s the best kind of research that you can do, because you’re actually putting yourself as your target market and sort of reversing what you’re doing.”

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“It’s important to align yourself with brands and platforms that resonate with your persona and the character you’re trying to build within music. But also be selective with what you’re doing.” – Aly McHugh

In parallel with a self-audit – artists should understand which platforms they resonate the most with and tailor their content to each individual channel to get the best results. With an array of social media platforms and digital content types now available, McHugh’s point challenges artists and producers to understand which platforms they are best suited to and be specific with who they want to affiliate with.

Ahmed, a specialist in UK radio, relayed the importance of patience and well-thought strategy – highlighting the fact that successful breakthroughs come as a result of cumulative and progressive execution. All panelists were in agreement that short term goals should still be framed within a long-term strategy.

Referring anecdotally to his success with Scottish duo LF System, he outlined how their no.1 hit ‘Afraid to Feel’ reached double Platinum in the UK – the result of over two years of positioning and strategic placements. McHugh echoed this succinctly, saying: “Press isn’t overnight, it takes some time to grow.”

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In terms of strategy and tactics, the panelists all discussed how fluid and fast-moving the cultural landscape is. Due to this, there is the need for artists and producers to continuously test, adapt, and not be afraid to try new things. As Phoenix explains, “there’s not one template, not one magical list that I can give that will work forever. What’s working now might not work in a couple of months’ time.”

Although the process might seem daunting, it can inspire new ways of being creative and help dial in your audience. The better you know yourself and the landscape, the better you can have an impact and share your work with more people – but the key thing is taking action.

It became apparent over the course of the discussion that one critical task for the artist or project, is to find a balance between individuality and trends. Trends will indicate the current sentiment and behavior of audiences across different platforms, which can give one an advantage when deploying content. However, individuality is equally important in maintaining personal alignment and developing a unique voice, which will allow you to cut through the noise.

The evening was rounded off with an uplifting DJ set from Paris Cesvette.

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