Believe's Marie-Anne Robert on which artists should maintain their release plan during the lockdown

Believe's Marie-Anne Robert on which artists should maintain their release plan during the lockdown

Album release schedules have been ripped up as artists and labels adjust campaigns in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the latest issue of Music Week, we look at the big records that got pushed back and those artists and labels that stuck with a release date. 

The global lockdown is a challenging time for physical releases, though streaming consumption is also down.

Artist and label services company Believe has issued a creative marketing playbook with advice during the lockdown. Here, Believe’s global head of artist services Marie-Anne Robert provides her advice on release strategy…

How should artists determine whether to go ahead with a release at this time or possibly delay? 

“There can be multiple answers to that question, depending on an artist’s key markets, stage of development & fans’ demographics. To make it simple, we distinguish two cases. First, if you are an artist with high physical revenue and older demographics, you should obviously think about postponing your release. On the contrary, if you have a young and digital audience, we advise you to keep releasing for several reasons: the message we received from the main streaming services is that users are hungry for new music, and editorial teams will continue to heavily promote new content. 

“There are also some interesting opportunities to advertise your content to wider audiences at a much cheaper price – we’re seeing drops between 20% & 50% in CPMs on social and video ads in markets under lockdown, as many advertisers are cutting their campaigns, and with a higher engagement (+60% since lockdown in France on socials). Last, as a lot of major artists from the first category are postponing their releases, it means more room for independent and younger ones to surface on DSPs and media. And autumn might be intensely packed with new releases, so you probably don’t want to be lost in the crowd.”

The message from the main streaming services is that users are hungry for new music

Marie-Anne Robert

How do you anticipate the current uncertainty will impact the streaming market as new music is pushed back?  

“In markets where populations are confined, we’ve seen a 15-20% decrease in consumption on audio streaming platforms. However, it doesn’t mean a decrease in revenues if paid subscribers continue to increase, as recently reported by several partners. On the video side, we are unfortunately anticipating a strong negative impact from the crisis, with a substantial (30% to 40%) decrease in revenue on ad-supported platforms, as advertisers reduce their spends.

“We think that it is our mission to always be transparent with artists and labels, even when the news is not nice to hear, to enable them to anticipate their business decisions. For instance, some artists might want to re-evaluate their video production investments, anticipating lower video revenue. Similarly, some labels might want to postpone signings involving high advances.”

To read the full story, see the latest issue of Music Week – subscribers can click here

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