It’s no secret that major labels dominate radio, and recent MBW analysis found that just three of the top 100 biggest tracks on UK radio last year came from independently-released sources.
However, speaking at AIM’s Indie-Con in London on Friday (Jan 29), Inertia Music MD Tim Kelly said instead of that being a concern for the indie community, it provides an opportunity to offer a point of difference.
He explained: “As the Top 40 has become more and more homogeneous there’s a huge market out there that doesn’t want that, that does want something different, and wants to appreciate diversity in the music.”
The way to find those listeners is to utilise data, said !K7 boss Horst Weidenmueller, whose label spends time looking into where listeners are coming from and in which independently curated playlists on streaming services its tracks appear in.
“We spend a lot of time finding people who are curating our music and creating playlists, you need to look into data quite deeply but it’s all possible and is what’s in front of us. I think that’s a great advantage now.
“In the physical world, if you buy a record in an indie store in Italy it’s most likely that it never got there by an Italian distributor, but with digital it’s very different.”
Secretly Group Co-Founder Darius Van Arman, meanwhile, issued a word of warning to the indie community to ensure the new music destinations of the future aren’t ruled in the same way the airwaves are.
“In the new systems that have been developed for radio products, it’s important to have ways to ensure that hype doesn’t dominate, where we don’t have gatekeepers and can keep the systems open.”
“In the new systems that have been developed for radio products, it’s important to have ways to ensure that hype doesn’t dominate, where we don’t have gatekeepers and can keep the systems open,” he said.
“That’s one of the things we need to focus on as a community. We have a real opportunity here to help shape the services and radio products of the future.”
Van Arman drew a parallel between today’s digital world and the retail scene of the ‘90s onwards, when “big companies exerted a lot of leverage in retail markets, [telling retailers to] prominently feature repertoire at the cost of indie repertoire.”
While that caused the emergence of a thriving independent retail scene to serve the wealth of music fans that weren’t interested in being told what to buy, “Now it’s a little bit more ominous,” he said.
“Because of the way people are interacting with music on their devices, it’s really hard to imagine there being an indie streaming revival of some sort because we all have to play in the same pool.
“So much of the streaming company’s content is paid for and some of the terms underneath the hood are not transparent. One of our significant challenges moving forward is how can we co-ordinate as independents to give us all strength to maintain our fair share of opportunities, and to negotiate [as a collective] instead of individually.”
Pictured [L-R]: Horst Weidenmueller (!K7 Records), Luciana Pegorer (Delira Musica), Justin West (Secret City Records), Alison Wenham (Worldwide Independent Network), Darius Van Arman (Secretly Group) and Tim Kelly (Inertia Music)
Music Business Worldwide