Music Marketers Discussion at Variety’s Entertainment Marketing Summit

Among the many topics discussed at the Power Marketers of the Music Industry panel on diversityEntertainment Marketing Summit 2022, apparently TikTok and the importance of fan relationships have been the focus of the group. Moderated diversityAndrew Hampp, the band sorted out a lot of questions regarding the marketers behind some of today’s leading and emerging bands.

This year’s music marketing panel included: Christian Santini of RocNation; Corey Sheridan of TikTok North America; Kendra Ellis of Atlantic Records; Val Pensa of RCA Records; and Alyssa Pollak, Executive Vice President of Global Music Marketing at iHeartMedia.

Pollack started the conversation by discussing the key to Doja Cat’s TikTok success: “Doja Cat is going to do what Doja Cat wants to do,” she said. Since the release of “Planet Her,” Dodge has had remarkable success with a video app that favors “snack sound bites,” not only making her new releases go viral, but shedding light on her old songs as well.

Sheridan, TikTok’s head of music partnerships and content management in North America, said, “Authenticity is the key to success on TikTok” for a community like Generation Z that is looking to resonate with their favorites. He offered a list of pointers for those who want to break the app based on the algorithm: TikToks should be 17-20 seconds long, with a twist at the end, filmed vertically and using official sounds. Ellis, vice president of marketing for Atlantic Records, cited Roddy Rich’s “The Box” as a turning point for the label. The track was never considered “single material” until a viral trend joined in – “TikTok forced us,” she said.

To be clear, TikTok’s Sheridan clarified, “We don’t produce hits on TikTok.”

The whole operation hinges on how “the artist works closely with their community,” Sheridan said, referring to Jack Harlow’s “First Class,” which hit No. 1 on TikTok the week before it hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. ” We don’t tell them that you need to post three times a day; finding your voice, being sincere and consistent is what matters the most,” he said.

In light of the recent debate surrounding Halsey, who recently shared her disappointment that her label banned their new single from being released without a “viral moment” on TikTok, Ellis responded, “I think it’s just figuring out what’s organic for them… educational process for artists.

“You should challenge to make sure [artists] are still supported,” added Pensa, senior vice president and head of marketing for RCA Records. “The reality is that you need to engage and develop an audience and this is a tool and platform that allows you to sell your music in a way that we have never been able to do before – how incredible is that?”

Panellists noted that even language barriers don’t matter much when you can reach the whole world from the comfort of your couch.

“I do not see [TikTok] something different from the promo we did in the clubs… It’s about [building] familiarity with the record,” concluded Pensa.

Speaking of a quick discussion, Santini, RocNation’s president of share distribution, touched on the success of vinyl. He described it as an artistic opportunity for artists and a collectible experience for fans, but added that it should be more accessible and faster.

diversityThe purpose of the annual Entertainment Marketing Summit is to identify the best opportunities to engage with today’s evolving audiences and consumers, who are still fast-moving targets on growing media platforms.

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