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What Was Learned on the Day Indie Labels Talked Digital Music

Independent music labels are increasingly willing to speak out about digital music and what it means for their artists and businesses.

Whether indies are voicing their dissaproval about YouTube’s contracts or giving their perspective on streaming services like Spotify, indie musicians are getting heard in music industry debates.

This is why a day at the Music Connected conference in London was a good opportunity to get the indie pulse on a number of digital music issues.

AIM brought together labels, digital distributors and other industry experts to talk about social media, music streaming, piracy and other topics facing the music industry.

Here are 4 things learned during the conference.


1. Indie labels want to make the best of streaming since they won’t stop it


Major labels are debating whether or not Spotify should restrict or remove its free, ad-supported streaming tier.  According to Nicolas Rizzi from The Orchard (who defended the free tiers of companies like Spotify) the consensus was you can’t fight technology, but have to find as many ways of getting people onto that boat as possible.

2. Labels are more cautious about SoundCloud


Many independent artists put new music up on SoundCloud, even though – unless they’re part of its recently-launched advertising program – they won’t get paid for streams of those tracks.

Why is this? It is because they like the site, its community, and see it as a vehicle for building their audience, and/or they appreciate the data they get back on where their fans are since this helps plan touring.

3.  YouTube is more helpful than a hindrance


Indie labels fell out with YouTube in a big way in 2014 over the terms of the contract for its YouTube digital executives from labels, they still see its value, but need to find a balance between efforts on YouTube and other places.

4. Madonna on Meerkat?


Madonna promoted her new album on Instagram, Snapchat, Grindr and Meerkat, in a campaign that’s trying to reach old fans and new on the social apps that they might be using.

A panel of indie marketing experts were unimpressed, consultant Angie Somerside (also backed up by David Emery of Kobalt Label Services) said “When Madonna goes on Meerkat it’s just ridiculous.”

Marketers working for artists shouldn’t get sucked in to trying to make fans install the latest buzzy app in order to connect with them.  Kids decide where they want to be, and their actions say this loud and clear.  There are a lot of options now, and it’s a bad idea to try to make people do things now.

Click here for 6 additional things learned on a day indie labels talked digital music.

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