Wasserman Music launches new marketing department
Wasserman Music is expanding its operations with a new marketing services and digital strategy department.
Led by the senior vice president of marketing, Sam Alpert, the department comprises expertise in the areas of tour marketing, digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming.
The new division is completed by Wasserman’s pre-existing marketing team, as well as new employees Mary Pryor (senior director, strategy, focused on Web3) and Sam Benfey (director, digital strategy, focused on a variety of digital opportunities).
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Pryor and Benfey into the fold, and to have their expertise and connections available to our agents and artists,” says Alpert.
“Using Wasserman Music’s successful tour marketing model, this expansion into digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming allows us to continue to super-serve our roster.”
“The integration and internal collaboration between depts will open the door for countless new opportunities”
He continues: “The integration and internal collaboration between departments will open the door for countless new opportunities and provide additional resources, knowledge and perspectives for our artists in their touring careers and far beyond.”
Benfey joins Wasserman Music from Paradigm Talent Agency, where he worked as an executive of business development and an agent of digital media and brand partnerships. He specialises in podcasting, video games, AR and VR, blockchain and NFTs, apps and emerging platforms.
Pryor, one of SXSW’s Innovators of the Year in 2014, has worked for major brands across the music, media, technology, and marketing industries including Sony Music Group, Viacom, Essence Magazine, Rolling Stone, Sean Combs Enterprises, and numerous others.
According to Wasserman, she has been an early adopter, educator and advocate in the areas of cryptocurrency, blockchain, the metaverse and other Web3 advancements.
She will focus on educating and empowering Wasserman Music staff and clients, facilitating the tools, insights and connections to engage in the space in an impactful way.
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Why 2023 will be the hardest year to sell tickets
2022 has seen fans return to dance floors and fields across the world as the live music industry reopens post-Covid. What has followed has been the creation of an overly saturated market as artists and festivals fight to make up for two years’ of lost revenue.
Globally, 2022 has also brought with it a raft of new economic conditions: rising inflation and low unemployment. Historically, these two factors have spelt out one word, recession. Mixing a saturated live events market and a looming recession together can only lead to the question, ‘will 2023 be the hardest year to sell tickets?’
As consumers tighten their budgets to cope with the rising cost of living, live events may start to take a back seat. This will be the great equaliser for event organisers as competition for consumer’s business will become increasingly tight. There are some strategies event organisers can implement to mitigate the risk that will come with producing events in 2023 and beyond.
“Creating excitement alone may not be enough to sell tickets in 2023”
Build An Audience You Own
In what has already become a market flooded with content post-Covid, ensuring lineup and tour announcements for 2023 stand out among the noise will be critical.
Announcements create excitement; and with them, comes press coverage, social sharing and tagging. But creating excitement alone may not be enough to sell tickets in 2023. This excitement can be monetised with a presale registration campaign which also builds a massive audience of engaged fans that organisers own and can market to.
This will help sell the remainder of the general on-sale while also generating and gauging demand. Owning ticket buyer data and marketing to them directly through channels like email and SMS, removes the need to rely on publishers like Facebook. This will reduce advertising costs and give organisers an engaged audience they can market to over and over again.
Leveraging the Power of Fans
Social media platforms now make it easier than ever for fans to connect with each other. By gamifying presale campaigns with social sharing and prize incentives, organisers can let fans do their marketing for them. This enables exponential reach, organically and means the message travels further, is more authentic and leads to increased sales at a lower cost.
“Post-event presale campaigns put more revenue in organisers’ back pockets, faster”
Ride the High
Running a presale campaign immediately after an event harnesses the success and emotion of this year’s event to sell tickets for next year’s.
Post-event presale campaigns put more revenue in organisers’ back pockets, faster. Going on sale immediately following an event locks in ticket sales and cash flow earlier, providing security and peace of mind.
The Race To Win Fans and Sell Out 2023
Even though at times it may seem like it, it’s not all doom and gloom for the live music industry. Fans will still seek to immerse themselves in live experiences, but it will be a question of which events will win their hearts, minds and ultimately business as they become more selective.
Audience Republic is the all-in-one CRM & marketing platform for events, venues and artists. We utilise presale registration, waitlists and unique gamified competition features to help increase ticket sales and return data ownership to event organisers.
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Live Nation Latin expands touring team
Live Nation has continued the expansion of its Latin touring team with four new hires.
Daryivett Romo and Katrina Rodriguez have come on board as tour marketing director and marketing manager, respectively, while Stephanie Rodriguez joins as marketing coordinator.
In addition, Nadia Hernandez has joined as the concerts division’s new director of Latin communications, overseeing press initiatives and building out Latin media strategies for all of Live Nation’s tours and touring artists.
“Live Nation is the largest promoter of Latin shows”
“Live Nation is the largest promoter of Latin shows and as our artist roster as well as fan demand continues to grow, we are building a global team to serve artists and fan experiences better and at a bigger scale than ever before,” says Hans Schafer, Live Nation’s SVP of global touring.
Prior to joining Live Nation, Romo spent eight years at CMN Events where she worked as project manager, overseeing routings, box office setups, media buying, travel logistics and day of show settlements for tours such as Juan Gabriel, Maluma, Alejandro Fernandez and Ricardo Arjona.
Katrina Rodriguez, who served a stint at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, was most recently brand partnerships manager at Universal Music Group, spending years helping the global company develop strategies and foster relationships with brands and agencies to secure partnerships for artists on the UMG Latin roster.
Stephanie Rodriguez, meanwhile, has worked at entertainment companies such as iHeart Media and SBS Radio. In her new position as Latin tour marketing coordinator, she will be involved in 20-plus tours, including Bad Bunny, Los Bukis, Wisin Y Yandel and Angela Aguilar.
Hernandez, who brings more than 15 years of experience in public relations, joins from Cashmere Agency, where she led strategy for Taco Bell, Coca-Cola and Danone. n her new role, she will oversee theatre shows, as well as global and national Latin tours.
The new hires join Fabi Kulick who was announced last year as the company’s head of Latin tour marketing.
The Latin concerts team has grown to handle national and regional touring, as well as national and regional marketing strategies for its slew of tours including Bad Bunny, Los Bukis, Maná, Marco Antonio Solís and Rosalía.
Maria Lanao was previously confirmed as the new Latin talent buyer for the northeast as well as the addition of two new regional marketing directors as part of the Latin touring team: Gabriela Ortega in the Southeast and Lucy Herrera in the midwest.
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CTS Eventim hires Jan Voss as MD of brand business
CTS Eventim is bolstering its brand partnerships and sponsoring business with the appointment of Jan Voss as the new managing director at Eventim Brand Connect.
Voss joins the company from Universal Music Group (UMG) Germany, where he was responsible for partnerships and licensing as VP of UMG for Brands. Previous roles include director of marketing and head of new business at the same company.
At UMG, he played a key role in establishing the product endorsement business and digital media marketing, and in taking UMG for Brands into new areas of business such as the food sector.
He will take up his new role at CTS Eventim on 1 May 2022 and will report to the managing director of Eventim Live, Dr Frithjof Pils, who was formerly also managing director of Eventim Brand Connect.
“Jan Voss brings the ideal mix of industry expertise and broad experience in the area of brand partnerships”
Pils says: “Jan Voss brings the ideal mix of industry expertise and broad experience in the area of brand partnerships. We are looking forward to embarking upon a massive expansion of Eventim Brand Connect with him on board as managing director.”
Voss added: “Live entertainment offers brands one of the most powerfully emotive ways to interact with people. There are numerous new opportunities here for brands, particularly as the live events sector starts to open up again.
“Taking Eventim Brand Connect forward in such an exciting environment with the power of Europe’s biggest live entertainment platforms and an excellent team will be a fantastic challenge.”
Eventim Brand Connect enables companies to associate themselves with live events such as major festivals as part of their marketing strategy, allowing them to engage with specific target groups.
The new wave of marketing innovation
As a new wave of privacy regulations makes consumer targeting much less efficient than before, here, Berlin-based events and digital services solution Future Demand explains why interest-centric marketing is the future – and promoters can take full advantage…
The last 10 years in digital marketing were driven by ever-improving targeting options. Lookalike audiences and retargeting enabled a super-fast, convenient, and easy way of making sure ads were seen by the right people. On the other hand, the data-driven ad-tech industry did very little to help marketeers create better copy and content.
Driven by a new wave of privacy regulations (from GDPR to Apple’s ATT) promoters now see a substantial decrease in the effectiveness of their targeting options. Now, they’re starting to regret spending 10 years improving only 50% of what drives campaign efficacy (user targeting) and ignoring the other 50% (content).
It’s time to have a look at why content is more important than ever before.
Content is the future
Marketing used to be essentially people-focused. The ad-tech industry measured and tracked individuals and tried to understand them. For many industries this worked great, much better than anything before. It worked so well, in fact, that whole industries were built on it. The D2C trend around companies like Dollar Shave Club or Casper was fuelled by direct response ads on Facebook through lookalike audiences and retargeting campaigns.
Against the backdrop of expanding privacy regulations, the future now points to the centralisation of a few big platforms. Platforms big enough to own enough in-platform user data (think Amazon, or gaming giants like Epic Games) will be able to serve ads and convert users directly within their platforms. Eric Seufert summarised the development by the term “content fortresses”.
However, the way the industry is currently set up, this isn’t a tenable solution for promoters (and many other companies) as they lack the content usage of users to gain enough insights into people’s interests and serve targeted ads.
So, what about promoters?
For promoters, targeting has always been more difficult because taste in music is much harder to grasp and describe. A concert is in most cases a one-time happening, making it near impossible to have enough time, iteration cycles and budget to get into the sweet spot of the advertising feedback loop. Promoters, therefore, reverted to traditional segmentation methods, relying on socio-demographic data to cluster audiences and fans. Unfortunately, this works even less.
Note the famous example of Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne. Both are born in the same year, have a comparable income, can be located to London, and have the same gender. But their music tastes may be completely different indeed. Traditional segmentation features like age, gender, postcode etc. do little to help you decide who to target for a specific show or event.
Netflix was one of the first to focus only on people’s interests to better describe the diversity in their user base. Like Netflix users, concert-goers can be interested in a symphony concert with a famous French female violinist but also in the next upcoming metal wunderkind playing his or her first gig in the small club next door. The obvious answer for promoters is to design systems that only focus on interest and to cluster based on fans’ interests. The powerful ad networks of today enable targeting those interests.
Knowing why people buy tickets gives promoters an edge over big platforms. As they get more independent from ticketing and ad platforms, switching between them becomes easier. If you know why people are interested and what message they need to see to purchase a ticket or subscribe to an offer, you can decide on which platform to focus on.
What to do about it?
Marketeers must shift their focus towards understanding interests. It enables better targeting and the possibility to match creative content to targeting criteria – all automatically. It increases independence and enhances the speed at which promoters can adopt new and upcoming platforms.
Interest centric marketing will be one of the most important strategic levers for marketeers who do not own a content fortress. Many industries need to speed up their efforts to catch up and rework their whole ad-tech stack. Promoters can now finally leverage their past disadvantage (very, very diverse content) into a powerful advantage. The more diverse the content, the better the understanding of fans tastes and interests.
Learn more about interest-centric marketing here.
ASM Global taps Jason Oberlander
ASM Global has named Jason Oberlander as chief commercial officer as it looks to dramatically expand its partnerships.
Formerly SVP, national sales at Learfield IMG College, Oberlander will take responsibility for overseeing ASM’s plans to grow its position in naming rights and marketing partnerships for its venues.
“We have the scale, consumer touchpoints and ability to integrate brands in – to music, sports, business, tech and more – that will drive value for the brands, content providers, venue partners and guests,” says ASM president and CEO Ron Bension.
“Jason’s extensive experience, particularly with IMG in forging new national partnerships with Fortune 1000 brands, will provide far and away the most diverse and enriching opportunities the industry has ever seen.”
ASM’s growth potential is unlimited
With AEG Global Partnerships, ASM Global has secured recent key naming rights and other ASM Global corporate partnerships for venues such as the Coca-Cola Music Hall and Distro T-Mobile in Puerto Rico; the renamed T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri; and the AO Arena in Manchester, England.
Other recent alliances include a multi-year technology partnership with Mobilitie and a multi-year agreement with Honeywell.
“ASM’s growth potential is unlimited,” adds Oberlander. “We’re the world’s largest live-event marketing platform, which enables us to deliver fan-engagement opportunities to brands across the guest journey; and we can do it on a scale that no one else can deliver.
“Fans are craving live event experiences more than ever, and brands will want to be a part of those moments. No one has the breadth of events, venues, tenant partners and boots on the ground like ASM. At a full run, there are 164 million people coming through our venues. That’s more than the four major US professional sports leagues combined. We are very excited to show brand partners what we’re planning.”
Live Nation appoints first chief brand officer
Live Nation has appointed Nicole Portwood to the newly created role of chief brand officer.
Portwood, formerly vice-president of marketing for Mountain Dew and other soft drinks at PepsiCo, is tasked with “further enhanc[ing] the Live Nation brand across all channels by exploring new opportunities that develop deeper relationships with both artists and fans worldwide”, says Live Nation, including on-site experiences and digital offerings such as NFTs.
“Joining an innovative company like Live Nation, which is cherished by music and live entertainment fans across the world, is a dream come true,” says Portwood. “This work bridges my personal and professional passions, and I am excited to work with the incredibly talented and entrepreneurial people here to develop a robust brand strategy that strengthens loyalty and heightens the entire live experience for fans.
“We look forward to the new opportunities and growth Nicole will help shape”
“With the return of live events, this is such an exciting moment for the company and in culture more broadly, and I cannot wait for what’s ahead.”
Prior to joining PepsiCo, Portwood was vice-president and chief marketing officer of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, where she won Ad Age marketer of the year in 2017.
“We built Live Nation into the leading live music brand by promoting and investing in artists around the world at every level from clubs to stadiums, and with Nicole’s expertise we will continue to expand our Live Nation product offering for both artists and fans,” comments Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation. “We look forward to the new opportunities and growth Nicole will help shape, from onsite experiences to developing new digital content offerings such as NFTs or membership options.”
Sweden’s Summerburst turns fans into influencers
Sweden’s Summerburst will this year invite all festivalgoers to work with it on campaigns and around events leading up to the festival this summer.
The Live Nation-owned dance music event, which this year celebrates its tenth edition, is asking fans to become ‘Summerburst Icons’ via a partnership with influencer marketing platform Society Icon.
Using Society Icon’s technology – which connects companies with fans and customers, or ‘icons’, who market the brands via their own channels – the festival is aiming to “build a community of its own where everyone, regardless of their number of followers on social media, are welcome and can enjoy exclusive material and offers,” according to a Society Icon statement, and “apply for campaigns they want to work with – both with the festival directly [and] even with the festival’s partners.”
Kristofer Åkesson, the longtime marketing and communications director for Live Nation Sweden, joined Society Icon in July. In addition to Live Nation, with which it has worked for a year and a half, the company’s clients include Warner Music, H&M and magazine publisher Aller Media.
“This partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst is completely in line with how the market is moving”
“Summerburst is and has always been about our fans; we are nothing without them,” says festival founder Anders Boström. “The fact that, with the Society Icon technology, we can now can start working with and creating Summerburst 2020 together with the fans, on their own social channels, is […] super exciting.”
Mose Haregot, founder and CEO of Society Icon, adds: “Society Icon is all about putting the individual at the centre of communication and marketing, regardless of who you are or how many followers you have.
“To keep developing this partnership with Live Nation and Summerburst like this is completely in line with how the market and behaviour is moving, and proves that it is in the meeting between people and brands that we can create completely new values and business, and let consumers create together with the brands they love.”
More information about Summerburst 2020, which will take place in June, will be released later this month. Last year’s festival, at Stockholm Olympic Stadium, featured performances from Calvin Harris, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Tiësto, Will Sparks, R3hab and more.
AEG European festivals expands leadership team
AEG’s European festivals division has appointed former MAMA marketing director Clare Lusher as its first marketing and brand director.
Lusher, who prior to MAMA held positions at the Walt Disney Company and Sony Music, will lead on all aspects of brand and marketing across events, partnerships and artist channels, as well as developing strategies for future events.
As part of the European festivals leadership team, which is led by CEO Jim King, Lusher will build on AEG’s presence in the European festival market, with a portfolio that includes London events British Summer Time Hyde Park and All Points East, as well as Rock En Seine in Paris.
“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure”
“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure,” comments King. “It underlines AEG’s commitment to invest in high-quality marketing, brand and partnership strategies so we can offer even greater value for the fans, artists and partners.
“Clare is highly creative and has a proven track record in leadership and delivering excellence so we’re delighted she has chosen to join AEG to drive this key part of our business.”
Lusher adds that she is “delighted” to be joining AEG, saying that “the new position presents the ideal opportunity to nurture and develop a multifaceted, creatively insightful and future-fit marketing team.
“I look forward to maximising the wealth of collaborative potential across brand and media partnerships combined with overarching strategic clarity”.
‘A world of opportunity’: TikTok talks music marketing
With an estimated 500 million monthly users – the majority under 30, and many of them teenagers – short-form video app TikTok has quickly established itself as the go-to social platform for many Gen Z-ers.
Along with its predecessor, Musical.ly, TikTok has made stars out of ‘influencers’ like Baby Ariel, Jacob Sartorius, Riyaz Afreen and the Dobre Twins, and its young users helped meme Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ – which went viral on TikTok (as part of the ‘Yeehaw challenge’) before receiving mainstream recognition – to the top of charts worldwide.
IQ caught up with Farhad Zand, head of music partnerships for TikTok Europe, to find out why TikTok works well for music discovery and marketing, the appeal of short-form video, and how concert businesses can reach its growing user base…
IQ: Let’s start with the basics. In layman’s terms, what is TikTok and what does it do?
FZ: TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is the best way to understand what our platform is all about: we want to inspire and enrich people’s lives by offering a home for creative expression and an experience that is genuine, joyful and positive.
For our users, TikTok offers a window to the world with an intelligent discovery process. Video recommendations are personalised to each user based on their preferences, meaning everyone receives a unique and compelling viewing experience.
Our platform empowers creativity through 15- or 60-second videos; we believe short-form videos are an effective way to lower the barrier for content creation. This has empowered our community to create their own internet culture and trends. Fun music-related trends started on TikTok include the Adele gummy-bear challenge and the recent #GitUpChallenge, featuring ‘The Git Up’ by Blanco Brown.
How long has TikTok been around, and how does lip-syncing app Musical.ly fit into the picture?
TikTok launched globally in 2017 and later that year, ByteDance, TikTok’s owner, bought Musical.ly and merged the two apps. We entered the European market in August 2018 and TikTok is currently available in 150 markets and 75 languages.
When people talk about Musical.ly, they often know about how it was used for lip-syncing. Today, however, TikTok is about much more than just lip-syncing. We have a truly global community of authentic creators. Some of the most popular content includes comedy, sports, pets, music and dance.
“Our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music and festival promoters”
How many users do you have, and what does the average TikToker look like?
I don’t think we have an average user, which is what I love about TikTok. You will find some celebrities on TikTok, you will find our own ‘TikTok stars’ – and you will also find that we have lots of brilliantly creative people using the platform to have fun, from nurses to firefighters to grannies. This represents the essence of the platform: a place where you can be genuine, real and discover other people like you.
While we don’t currently disclose our usage figures, we are growing fast and we’re thrilled with the growth that we have seen so far.
What are some of the ways live music companies can incorporate TikTok into their marketing?
TikTok supports the music industry by offering a unique platform for music to live. Artists can promote their music to a global audience and build a strong and engaged fanbase. We have seen new musical talents discovered due to unprecedented viral trends created on TikTok, such as Lil Nas X or, most recently, DJ Regard.
Over 70% of our videos have music attached to them and their content is often created as a response to the song. The TikTok community loves music and our community enjoys creating and sharing content that is authentic and fun. This opens a world of opportunities to music or festival promoters, and we have a dedicated music team that can support promoters and marketers to achieve their goals.
Every campaign is different; there is no one size fits all. Our music team has the knowledge and expertise to advise promoters and marketers on the best strategy to achieve their results, whether they are big or small players in the market.
“There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way”
How are artists utilising the TikTok platform?
Over the past 12 months, we are proud to have welcomed outstanding British musicians including Ed Sheeran, Mabel, Lewis Capaldi, Four Diamonds, Jax Jones, Little Mix and many more to the TikTok community.
One of the most popular hashtag challenges was launched by Ed Sheeran. With over 300 million views during the first six days, the #BeautifulPeople challenge incentivised our community to share a moment with the most special and beautiful people in their lives.
For any artist considering how best to use TikTok, it’s important to remember that our platform is all about positivity and having fun. It’s why Lewis Capaldi was an immediate success – his content is fun and spontaneous.
For the music industry, what advantages does TikTok have over other social media services?
Unlike other platforms, TikTok is based on a content graph instead of a social graph. What this means in practice is that the quality of the content you see is what’s most important – not who you follow or how many followers you have.
Our community loves content that is authentic, entertaining and which reduces the distance between the fans, artist, band or show. There’s huge potential for the music industry to connect with its global community in a meaningful, engaging and positive way.
Our focus is on building the best product for our users while creating a community that is joyful, positive and safe. We want to continue to be a platform for music to live in its various forms, working closely with artists, labels and other industry players to support them connect with our global and engaged community.