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Marketing Week (MW): As a music publisher, how does Imagem go about choosing the artists it represents?
Kim Frankiewicz (KF): We generally work from a creative input. We’re not data people at all. Basically, we like the music, we see them live, we put our money where our mouth is and then go for it.
Natasha Baldwin (NB): It’s always useful for my team to be able to feed back to Kim’s team and say we’re seeing electro-pop music. But we have A&R specialists who hopefully know how to pick a hit.
KF: It’s the passion, but most importantly it’s the sound. If you hear a song and 10 people in the room get it, then usually there’s something right there. Yes, there are trends, but there are trends in everything, whether it’s fashion or whatever. Everybody’s aware of them, and even more so because of the internet so you can keep an eye on them. But it’s mostly gut feeling.
MW: Which kinds of artists do you represent, and when do the ‘sync’ teams get involved in working out what media or brand partnerships might work for them?
KF: On the pop side, we’ve got artists like we’ve got artists like Daft Punk, the Stone Roses, MIA, Vampire Weekend. Basically we don’t go chasing market share, which is what record companies do. Every artist we look at signing is a group decision. The sync team gets involved very early on because that is so much a part of the future now, and being able to survive in the music industry.
NB: That allows us to be a bit more flexible in terms of creative development with the writers and managers. If we were chasing market share my team would be needing to push whatever was about to hit the number one chart position to all advertisers, all film companies, all TV broadcasters. The fact that we don’t have to do that means that we can be more strategic about the way that we match music, films or directors. It adds a bit more breathing space to find more interesting way to reach people.
We speak to some brands who say, we need something that will be a hit in three months’ time, for example. That’s when we’ll work very closely with our A&R (artists and repertoire) team to work out who’s releasing what, when and where. Having artists that don’t necessarily have a scheduled album release coming up, it’s a combination of back catalogue and cutting-edge stuff.
MW: How important are partnerships for maximising the audiences of songs and artists?
NB: We can have commercials that don’t move the dial for a band. Commercials can come and go and nobody notices the difference, so advertising or films is not a guaranteed way to create a hit. It’s just a helpful added vehicle.
KF: My personal feeling is that we have more outlets than ever before to get music to an audience. The problem is that the little buggers don’t pay for it.
NB: If the record labels are struggling to find ways to monetise digital sales, that’s the downside of it. The exciting side of it is that there are so many vehicles now to get music out.