The biz's brightest new talents tell their stories. This week it's the turn of Atlanta Cobb, artist manager, Crown Talent Group/AM Music.
What made you choose music?
“Growing up, it was always something I knew I’d end up doing in some ...
If you’ve ever heard me rant at a conference over the last 10 years, or been at dinner with me after two glasses of Pinot Noir, you’ll know I’ve been banging the drum for a while now on the potential for ticketing within streaming services and social networks.
I’m still genuinely surprised none of the live giants have bought a streaming service yet. Although, on the other side of the coin, it’s worth noting Access Industries appear to be barking up that tree with their current portfolio, which includes Deezer and Songkick. Vivendi also has See Tickets, Paylogic and stakes in various streaming services. There have also been disasters in this space, with the likes of Amazon Tickets and Pandora buying (and then selling) Ticketfly but, one thing’s for sure, it’s an interesting space right now, even if some people have not fully realised its potential.
On the whole, there is still a long way to go before technology, data and the music industry collide to become truly significant globally, but with the news that TikTok is rolling out ticketing capability in South East Asia and with the continued success of Spotify’s Who We Be shows, now is a good time to have a little look at where we are and where we might go.
YouTube integrated ticketing a couple of years back and you can now sell there via AXS, Eventbrite and Ticketmaster in the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and, as of last month, the UK. There’s still a long way to go with joining the dots; they don’t offer any form of notification system like some others to fully utilise Google’s insane data pots. That feels like a missed opportunity for everyone (and a missed ad product for Google). Out of all the major streaming services, Google not only knows what you’re listening to and watching but likely what you’re searching for, how many event-based Google Ads you’ve clicked on and what you’re buying your granny for Xmas. But for now, if an artist channel is opted-in to, dates appear under that artist’s videos with ticketing links.
Spotify is still one of the smarter ticketing tests out there. Their tour pre-sales have long helped not only boost initial sales, whilst having a real fan reward feel about them, but they undoubtedly also raise general awareness of tours taking place. Spotify stands out from the pack for me because they actually use their listening data to communicate with fans about shows and music they are very likely to be interested in. Their subsequent integrations with companies like AXS, Eventbrite, Songkick et al allow API scrapes to update artists’ listings and are a great addition outside of any comms direct to fans.
They were early to the game with Songkick integration (we all know how that particular cookie crumbled) but the potential for what they could do in this space is incredible. Not to mention how it could drive revenue if they integrate some new ad products around it, along with affiliate revenue on sales.
Facebook and ticketing... Again, it’s only in limited territories but Facebook have both tried, tested and, in many cases, implemented various ticketing solutions over the last few years, with both big name ticketing companies such as AXS and Ticketmaster, and event-owners direct via a partnership with Eventbrite. They’ve seen ticketing success in all manner of areas, including sport and cinema in-app, and music is no different in active territories. But if the rumours of an alleged new Facebook streaming service are to be believed, we’d all do well to keep an eye on the bigger potential there going forward.
Pandora’s entry to ticketing was a costly one. They bought Ticketfly for a pretty hefty sum back in 2015 but went on to sell it to Eventbrite, for much less. Since their SiriusXM acquisition they’re revisiting those relationships and earlier this year they integrated with Ticketmaster’s API in a set-up much like that of Spotify: on-sale notifications based on location and listening habits. Outside of the API scrapes, artists can access these functionalities direct via the back-end AMP facilities.
Tencent is also a really interesting case in point here. When we look across global markets, they’ve fingers in more pies than your local baker, stretching across just about every sector in our industry (and beyond). If the reported UMG investment completes, Tencent would be a real beast to contend with on the global stage and I don’t doubt for a second this is likely one of the many reasons IMPALA has said it’s going to contest it.
And finally to TikTok. I’ve written before about some of the bonkers numbers we’re seeing on ads there but, with parent company Bytedance’s streaming service waiting in the wings (with reportedly a real emphasis on social functions), and the unstoppable rise of TikTok installs, this is absolutely an interesting offering, globally.
Of course, these progressions come with their own challenges: the ever-complicated live industry with its allocations, bids, secondary ticketing and the rise of dynamic pricing… But if I could offer some advice to the ticketing industry it would be: Get mobile, get innovative, get integrated.
British DJ and producer Duke Dumont achieved consecutive UK No.1 singles earlier in the decade. Here, he recalls the making of his first, 2013’s Need U (100%), co-written with MNEK, which altered the trajectory of his career...
The recession hit a lot of budding DJs hard. Venues were closing in and around London and I was struggling to make a living. I took a hit to the point that I was ready to sign on or get a ‘proper job’ because I was making so little money. I even had to go back and live with my mum at the age of about 30, which was quite emasculating.
It got to 2010 and I said to myself, ‘One more year: just work your arse off, don’t leave the studio and be fully committed’. And with that kind of mentality and ethos, things clicked into place.
I had a song called The Giver (Reprise), which did pretty well on the club scene, so there was a little bit of buzz and it got a bit of specialist play on late night radio. My name was known on the London scene and A&Rs had heard of me because I’d done a gazillion remixes. I think that made my life easier when a slightly pop-friendly dance record came around. It wasn’t out of the blue, I’d been around for a while.
Need U (100%) was very UK-friendly, it wasn’t a million miles away from the house records that had been getting into the Top 10 20 years before. It actually started out as a six to eight-minute house record, just effectively a dub.
I remember speaking to my manager at the time and he was like, ‘Let’s try and get MNEK on the record’. MNEK had done a song called Spoons with Rudimental and I thought his voice would lend itself to the underground and also potentially make it more successful. My manager said, ‘You can work with MNEK, but you have to work with AME as well’. So I replied, ‘That’s cool, just send them a backing track and let them do their thing’.
To be honest, I don’t think the song would have been as successful if I’d been in the recording session. I think I’d have tried to steer it away from the pop sensibilities that they brought. It was a mix of someone who had been making dance records for a long time and the vocals from AME and MNEK, who co-wrote the song. That’s what made it a happy marriage, musically.
When they sent me the vocal I took the initial, more clubby version and arranged it into three minutes. I never thought it would get to No.1, but it ended up going through Ministry Of Sound and David Dollimore and Dipesh Parmar did a fantastic job at marketing it up and down the country. It was one of the most playlisted songs on Radio 1 and brought me into the pop charts, which was a terrain I wasn’t used to or really wanted to be in. However, Need U (100%) helped change my life. It helped give me a business in the UK and got the ball rolling worldwide.
Trying to have chart success can be a double-edged sword. I’m lucky enough to be able to navigate through that, but I’ve seen a lot of acts get swallowed up by it. The most glaring evidence for me was when I did a song called Won’t Look Back, which got to No.2.
When you get a No.1, everybody comes out of the woodwork. You get people from high school you never spoke to sending you messages on Facebook and it’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But I remember when Won’t Look Back got to No.2, nobody said a fucking word!
I don’t think any act can ever allow chart success to define them because, when you stop being successful, that is also going to define you. Appreciate what it brings by all means, but do not let it define you.
Publishers EMI, Kobalt, San Remo Live, BMG Chrysalis Writers Adam Dyment, Aminata Kabba, Uzoechi Emenike Release Date 14.01.13 Record label Ministry Of Sound Total UK sales (OCC) 634,070