‘The indie versus main notion is outdated within the digital age.’

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MBW’s World Leaders is an everyday sequence by which we flip the highlight in the direction of a few of the most influential business figures outdoors the US and UK markets. On this characteristic, we communicate to Marie-Anne Robert, Managing Director of Sony Music Leisure France. World Leaders is supported by PPL.


France generated practically $900 million in recorded music revenues in 2020.

And similtaneously being the world’s fifth greatest recorded music market (as per IFPI information), 80% of France’s Prime 200 streaming acts are native artists.

Commenting on that latter stat, Marie-Anne Robert, Managing Director of Sony Music France, tells MBW that “France is a really dynamic market”.

Robert, who joined the agency in September 2021, provides that, as the key’s new MD for the market, she needs “to grab that chance to ramp up our native signings and construct a powerful A&R community round us”.

Robert introduced over 20 years of worldwide music, digital and advertising business expertise to the Sony Music France MD function, with half that point spent at Tunecore father or mother Imagine, most not too long ago as Normal Supervisor of Advertising & Artist Companies.

Commenting on her determination to affix a significant document firm, Robert says that “I used to be attracted by Sony Music’s imaginative and prescient.”

Amongst the Sony initiatives cited by Robert as being particularly engaging, are the corporate’s Artists Ahead program, which, announced in June final 12 months, includes SME’s landmark Legacy Unrecouped Stability Program.

Robert says that she was additionally all for “Sony Music’s imaginative and prescient past music” and significantly the cross firm collaborative tasks throughout the wider Sony Company

“I see implausible alternatives right here in France to construct on the work already underway by the corporate to forge partnerships with different verticals to develop our artists, equivalent to video video games, photos, health, podcasts and way more,” explains Robert.

“The corporate is in a novel place to make this successful for artists in a reputable an genuine means, due to the variety of leisure corporations inside Sony Company.”

Now, as Managing Director of the corporate in France, and reporting to Daniel Lieberberg, SME’s President of Continental Europe and Africa, Robert will oversee all operations, signings and acquisitions out there, and is tasked with accelerating the French firm’s digital transformation.

Right here, Robert tells MBW about her aims within the new function, challenges for artists in France and the function that Synthetic Intelligence and Machine Studying could have within the music enterprise of the longer term…


Your remit contains overseeing all operations, signings and acquisitions. Inform us about a few of your aims for 2022?

I need to seize that chance to ramp up our native signings and construct a powerful A&R community round us. I additionally plan to strengthen inventive and digital advertising providers, to higher assist artists of their improvement and attain, bringing them to a lot wider audiences.

After two years with no native management and my staff having to work at home as a consequence of COVID restrictions, I’m eager to make sure our staff really feel they’re one staff and that we’re at all times difficult ourselves about what revolutionary providers we should develop within the subsequent 5 years to greatest serve our artists.

The announcement about your function additionally states that you’ll speed up the corporate’s digital transformation. Inform us about a few of the greatest alternatives for digital progress that you simply’re seeing presently and the way Sony Music plans to capitalise on them?

I see two main alternatives for digital progress: the primary is within the change from an album tradition to a monitor tradition. I feel the pandemic has helped speed up that change, as artists in France felt the necessity to interact on a a lot frequent foundation with their followers.

Some markets, equivalent to India and Mexico, are already a lot additional forward than France, the place it’s nonetheless 30% bodily, with conventional media connected to album codecs.

So, our purpose is to assist get the market there in simply two years, which give us an awesome alternative to plan, make investments and adapt our operations for that change, whether or not that’s new contract format, new advertising investments methods or extra.

“We’re considering extra long term when growing our legacy artists.”

One other robust alternative is leveraging our catalog consumption. We’re considering extra long term when growing our legacy artists, and studying to be extra persistent, as income is not carried out within the first three weeks because it was within the bodily period. There’s large alternative to extend catalog income for us and our artists.

And at Sony Music France, we’re very fortunate to have such an unimaginable catalog, with artists like JJ Goldmann, Indochine, Cabrel, Voulzy, NTM and way more.


What are the largest challenges within the digital house (for artists and labels) presently and the way do you foresee Sony Music overcoming these challenges?

After getting the music to carry to shoppers, clearly the largest problem for artists is the right way to minimize by way of the noise and attain listeners, when platforms like Spotify see roughly 60,000-70,000 tracks uploaded every single day.

“While within the digital period there are lots of selections on the market for artists, those that need to discover world success, innovate and diversify their incomes alternatives and fan engagement, welcome the assist and funding from document corporations now greater than ever.”

Partnering with distributors is a primary step to get music launched, however what’s actually wanted in the present day is to emerge from that mass. Sony Music France is uniquely positioned to assist artists minimize by way of and discover success, due to a novel combine of information analytics groups who perceive how the shop algorithms work, inventive groups who create interesting content material to interact with followers, and advertising groups who know the right way to greatest develop your viewers and sister corporations that may provide help to transcend music, with model, excessive tech, video video games partnerships.

While within the digital period there are lots of selections on the market for artists, those that need to discover world success, innovate and diversify their incomes alternatives and fan engagement, welcome the assist and funding from document corporations now greater than ever.


What are the largest challenges typically in France for artists and labels in the present day?

As a result of Covid pandemic, I might say that the largest problem proper now for our French artists is the necessity for confidence, continuity and stability to have the ability to carry out reside and tour.

It’s been an enormous problem for our artists, and we’ve labored laborious to make sure they get any assist and help wanted through the pandemic, whether or not by way of our world COVID fund or by way of offering new and various alternatives for them to interact with followers. 


Based on SNEP, the recorded music market in France generated €781 million in 2020, representing annual progress of 0.1% within the pandemic 12 months. What are your predictions for a way the market carried out in 2021?

 We should always see considerably extra market progress in 2021 versus 2020, due to the post-covid restoration. Like in lots of different markets, we noticed a powerful improve in vinyl gross sales and direct-to-consumer consumption. Digital consumption grew slower in 2021, primarily as a consequence of much less promoting income attributable to the pandemic. 


What genre-based developments are you presently seeing / do you are expecting in France’s music business in 2022? 

We’re prone to see steady progress for hip-hop this 12 months, which is by far the primary style in France. Apparently, we’re seeing increasingly variety in that style, with superb native creativity in drill or entice for example, from artists equivalent to Gazo and Chily.


You could have lots of expertise within the impartial sector, significantly at Imagine and TuneCore. What can the key labels study from the DIY/impartial artist sector?

The ‘indie versus main’ notion is outdated within the digital age. On one facet, corporations like them have gotten increasingly aggressive within the providers they provide to artists.

However, we’re innovating in our deal construction to be extra versatile and align even additional with artists’ wants. What issues in my view is flexibility, transparency and adaptation to artists wants.

Giving artists increasingly selection to allow them to take a path that greatest helps their necessities. It’s nice to see that the business globally has been transferring this manner for fairly a while now.


What technological improvement or in any other case do you assume could have the largest impression on the worldwide business in years to return?

Synthetic Intelligence and Machine Studying might play a significant function within the upcoming years – from higher understanding our information and serving to determination making; to helping our creators with revolutionary instruments in music manufacturing, visible manufacturing, or lyric help.

We’re collaborating with the Sony CSL analysis laboratory primarily based in Paris on developments on this house, and it’s completely thrilling.

They’ve a staff of music researchers devoted to understanding – with the assistance of Sony Music artists – how AI can profit trendy creators by inventing the following era of “sensible” studio companions and new A.I devices. One in all our artists, Uele Lamore already launched an EP with Sony CSL, leveraging AI, and we plan to develop extra collaborations within the close to future.


What would you modify in regards to the music business and why?

I might encourage the business to tackle a a lot stronger studying tradition, as I really feel there are some components of the business that also affected by an old-fashioned method, in comparison with another industries which progress quicker due to a extra skilled and systematic method. 

Don’t get me flawed: we aren’t promoting yogurts and we have to hold a novel method to artist improvement. Nevertheless, our jobs have gotten increasingly technical on one facet with digital provide chains, algorithms, viewers retargeting, NFTs and so forth; and extra inventive on the opposite facet with the necessity of improve storytelling to distinguish our artists from the opposite ones. So, a willingness to study and adapt to make sure we’re at all times innovating and creating on behalf of our artists is essential for the business.

“I might encourage the business to tackle a a lot stronger studying tradition, as I really feel there are some components of the business that also affected by an old-fashioned method, in comparison with another industries which progress quicker due to a extra skilled and systematic method.”

We’re already engaged on this as a enterprise globally, with our Sony Music Worker Studying and Growth packages which give attention to skilled coaching, teaching, mentorship and hands-on experiences

 However it’s additionally about constructing a brand new pipeline of numerous expertise kind numerous backgrounds with numerous considering. A terrific instance is our Sony Music A&R Academy in France, which first launched 4 years in the past, to recruit the following era of A&R executives. Sony Music France ran a brief A&R video marketing campaign giving individuals a glimpse into the lifetime of an A&R and inspired individuals all throughout the nation to use for a place by submitting a video expressing their ardour for music. In simply three months, we obtained tens of 1000’s video functions from an extremely numerous pool of candidates.

The shortlisted candidates have been invited to spend time in Berlin, London, and New York, the place they’d interviews with our A&R leaders and joined music listening periods to analyse the work of some artists. 

Different divisions inside Sony Music have additionally now taken up this new method to recruiting and we are actually engaged on an analogous marketing campaign in partnership with Sony PlayStation, geared toward discovering expertise throughout the gaming, cinematic, and music communities.


World Leaders is supported by PPL, a number one worldwide neighbouring rights collector, with best-in-class operations that assist performers and recording rightsholders world wide maximise their royalties. Based in 1934, PPL collects cash from throughout Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. It has collected over £500 million internationally for its members since 2006.Music Enterprise Worldwide

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