Flashing lights, booming music, and awe-inspiring firework displays are some of the things that would come to your mind when you hear the words ‘Music Festival’ but for the folks at Sónar Barcelona, there is much more to it than that. In case you haven’t realized, I’m talking about Sonar+D, the 4-day conference that focuses on inspiration and networking among music business aficionados like you and me.
Among many of the professional exercises that took place at Sonar+D was the speaker panel which featured Tuhin Roy of Universal Music Group alongside Warner Music Group’s Tiago Teixeira Correia and while on the surface it might not seem like it but the two major labels are actually frenemies, if you will, when it comes to pushing the agenda of innovation and steadfast investment in music startups.
The music business has seen ups and downs in the revenue instream over the past decade but the boost that streaming has received in the last couple of years along with the come back of Vinyl and many other such factors has allowed the music industry to bring in some serious revenue while showing even greater promise for the future and keeping that in mind, Roy (UMG) goes on to say “We have this real commitment to start to look at what we as company can do to support entrepreneurs” and calls upon fellow investors to capitalize on this great promise and confidence that the industry has recently regained.
As I mentioned, there was a lot going on at Sonar+D and focussing on the technology involved in the music space, UMG also organized an event that encouraged participants to “design the future of digital music services using emerging technologies and consumer behavior trends” and citing this event as an example of all the exemplary work UMG has done in order to spark innovation & creativity in the music space, Roy said “We are doing a lot of work with the investor community to re-engage investors, many of whom had just tuned out and don’t know about it. We attempt to be a partner with entrepreneurs, giving them advice, talking about what problems there might be. And it has been pretty successful so far.“
Now to paraphrase what Correia of Warner Music had to say about WMG’s contribution to innovation and investment and the entire ecosystem in general, the WMG representative was fairly candid and mentioned how “the music industry has always been a step behind when it comes to innovation and how it’s high time that we stepped up our game.” and although there have been plenty of exciting & stately developments on the music business side of things, Correia’s statement is absolutely something that can not be ignored. Not leaving the audience troubled he explains how the industry can get there by saying “How is that going to be done? We are thinking about that, doing several approaches to see what works. We are putting our key where our mouth is, with our [WMG] Boost fund which we launched last year…The objective of the fund is to support these new distribution models and new methods of consumption that we are seeing created.“
The WMG Boost fund that Correia speaks of is an initiative that was taken by Warner Music Group back in 2018 and while it is not your typical seed fund, it allows entrepreneurs, innovators, and companies to change the music industry for the better in no matter what shape and form by giving them access to Warner’s capital and resources thus making sure that steps are being taken in the right direction when it comes to innovation.
It can not be denied that the music business has managed to lose the attention of investors that it once used to draw but whether it’s a person working on a small level or a major label group, it has become our responsibility now to get more investors and innovators interested in this space again and I’m sure that the Sonar+D conference rekindled that fire in the hearts and minds of most attendees.