Creative Rights Caucus Welcomes Sony: Music Industry in a Digital Age

Yesterday, the Creative Rights Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives welcomed Sony Music to present on the promises and challenges music faces in the digital age.

The panelists were: Caucus Co-Chair Representative Howard Coble of North Carolina, Chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; Caucus Co-Chair Representative Judy Chu of California. RIAA CEO Cary Sherman emceed the panel. Sony Music EVP of International Marketing John Fleckenstein and Sony Music President of Global Digital Business Dennis Kooker stole the show with back-to-back presentations.  Other House members in attendance were Rep. Joe Crowley of New York and Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina.

Co-chairs Chu and Coble opened the panel with brief remarks. Representative Chu noted that creative content drives much of online growth.  She also noted that without creative content much of the consumer demand for digital platforms would not exist.

Sony Global Digital Business: New Markets in the Digital Age

Dennis Kooker presented first with a film montage highlighting the music business’s significant transformation over the past several years due to the growth of digital culture. Today, more than 400 providers partner with Sony Music, on a global scale to allow them to reach audiences with their music, according to Kooker. Mobile platforms are the future of music, as they are growing the number and diversity of music consumers that can now be reached. As an example, he cited Africa as a market whose wide-spread mobile adoption is creating a new market for music that has not previously existed in this way. 

Kooker also noted that music is largely what is driving the trends and happenings on social media. The top Twitter, Facebook and Google Images trends and searches are all largely music driven. Nine of the top ten videos watched on YouTube are music related. Kooker noted that people want to be close to the music and the artists they love, and social media platforms have really created new opportunities for the industry to help facilitate that.

After years of sales decline, the industry is now seeing a leveling off in sales, according to Kooker. Physical sales account for around 40% of sales, with digital downloading accounting for an additional 40%. Streaming and other revenue models fill out the rest of the pie. Diversifying revenue streams involving access models (like streaming sites), social media, and foreign markets, opened by new technologies, are the industry’s fastest growing segment. YouTube has about 1 billion active monthly users. Half of them are listening to music. This exemplifies the new possibilities that the industry is just starting to explore and monetize. Kooker ended by noting the possibilities that automobile interactive dashboards are creating. He noted that they are essentially another platform unto themselves, with things like Sirius XM becoming a standard option for most manufacturers.

Global Marketing in a Social Media Driven Environment

Daft Punk’s Story

John Fleckenstein then took over, pulling back the curtain on the global nature of Sony Music’s network of partners. Opening with the story of Daft Punk’s release of the album Random Access Memories and their hit single “Get Lucky”, Fleckenstein described the exciting challenges of marketing the album.