not normal records

How Sony deals with fandoms

I’ve been to an international in-house PR summit hosted by one of my clients this week and nearly fell off my chair when one of the guest speakers was a VERY important person from Sony Music Entertainment. Let’s call him John. I won’t disclose his function and real name because I don’t want to reveal where I was, but based on his title he definitely knows what he‘s saying and has a lot of industry experience.

His speech was mainly  about how to engage with a variety of different target audiences. Of bloody course one of the first slides he showed was a picture of 1D engaging with fans which was supposed to drive the point home that there are some audiences who are more passionate about a brand than others.He mentioned then that he’s worked with 1D on their albums which drove me into a bit of a freeze.

Because I’m embarrassing, I recorded parts of his speech on my phone and wrote the most important things down to share some interesting insights he gave about how Sony manages their artists’ target audiences, crafts their artists’ social media actions and deals with the fact that at the end of the day they always need to get people to buy music.

 

HOW DOES SONY UNDERSTAND AND MONITOR AUDIENCES (like fandoms for instance)?

According to John, they have their very own data-driven digital tool that helps them identify and manage different target groups for an artist (it’s not perfected yet but has been rolled out a lot of countries, I think he said 50?) and see where there might be connections to other artists, who the influencers are, what the specific target groups are or will be interested in and to identify collaboration opportunities.

Target groups are being split into four categories: Fanatics, enthusiasts, casuals, indifferents. These segments are being broken down into even smaller groups defined by age, genre preference, gender and country. They found that the older you get, the less likely you’ll be a fanatic or enthusiast.

How does Sony find this stuff out? Well, they survey polled music audiences of every age in a way that covers either nationally representatives or represent one of the major top tier cities. People shared their music preferences, consumption habits, lifestyle, media habits etc. Sony gathered all that information, analysed the insights and created their own audience understanding tool.

According to John, that way everyone at Sony has access to an interactive map of the world of Sony that looks into segmentations and audiences for every artist while being searchable in a number of different ways. The tool is pulling from real data, but they are also adding to that „with things like analytics of platforms like Spotify where we are able to gather lots of informations about user behaviours and reference that against things that we do“.

 

HOW SONY STRATEGICALLY SHAPES PR STORIES

John gave the example of Snoop Doggy Dog who had launched a new album (song? Idk) around that time: „There was a week-long debate in parliament around the legalization of Marihuana, so we just jumped on this conversation and did lots of social marketing around Snoop with his rolling papers and his spliffs… so maybe that’s bad taste, I’ll allow you to judge that for yourselves. The point is though that you are also marketing into a wider cultural context. [You need] an understanding how that works and where you can have a conversation that is seamless and not fake, genuineness is quite important.

“The way you can get people to connect is: You’ve got a lot of stuff that you want to say. Start under the assumption that people actually don’t give a shit about 95 percent of it. And then see which are the bits that might overlap. This is where the understanding of the audience really comes into its own. It forces us to think before we jump to execution. The quest for relevance is vitally important.”

Why are people to connect with a brand/band though? John thinks this is one of the most underused questions when planning an approach. Why is it that they do specific things? He gave an example: „We would normally take a record to radio because we always believe that radio is the thing that breaks the record. But if my core audience, my phase one audience – the people that are gonna give that band its first lift – are on Spotify, what am I doing on radio??“


ENGAGEMENT AROUND ARTIST IS KEY

„The thing is that you don’t start with a conversation around a product. The consumption of the product is the end point of a journey where you built an engagement and a fan. So again, for us that means that when we sit down and do our plan around our next Robbie Williams album, we start with „How are we gonna maximize the engagement around Robbie Williams“? because that will then sell us albums. Not „Okay, we’ll be releasing in a week in November, eight weeks out we need to be here, here and here“. So we’re not doing product launches anymore unless [it is suitable for the target demographic]. We have to built a tension and an engagement around an artist.“

 

ABOUT THEIR ARTISTS‘ SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

„We run most of our artists social media channels or at least their official  pages, so we are involved in all of those conversations.“


Shocking, I know.

Based on the situation we face in this fandom,with this band, feel free to draw your own conclusions about what this information means.

HERE ARE MY KEY TAKEAWAYS:

1.       It’s not news at all, but the existence of their own audience understandig tool confirms it: the 1D fandom is being monitored, segmented and analyzed. Sony’s strategies are tightly tied to that fact. Collaborations or artist interactions such as Louis/James Arthur or One Direction/ Little Mix are most likely the result of a data-driven analysis of whose fan groups are similar and whose are likely to be open towards that particular other artist too.

2.       Again no news, but the example of Snoop Doggy Dog shows that there are strategies behind even the most random photos. Often placements of specific pictures or stories serve a wider purpose. Hello pap walks, hello b**ygate, hello Louis Twitter, hello Liam visibly being linked to L.A.‘s cool singer/songwriter crowd before his first album drop.  

3.       The decision to not promote Louis‘ song could very well have been a logical outcome of the team asking themselves the question „Why?“: Why should we promote his song with huge effort when we KNOW his own fans are going to do it passionately, especially if they think  we don’t give a shit? Why not playing that game in order to make them promo it the hardest way they can?“ Why indeed??

4.       One Direction is a huge deal for Sony. John was talking about a lot of bands during his speech but whenever he was talking about major acts, he always listed One Direction amongst them (along with gems like Beyonce, David Bowie, Adele). He name-dropped them at least 5 -6 times in a 60 minute speech. He really didn’t have to because the audience was in no way whatsoever a target audience. So yes, they clearly have been and are a very huge deal for them.

5.       The part about social media? Well :))))))

Once, I was helping this guy with his chemistry homework and when he finally submitted the answer and the computer told him it was correct, we were both like, ‘yay!’, he said ‘thank you’, I said ‘no problem’, and sat back down in my seat. Then, he turns to me, his expression absolutely serious, and he says, “I appreciate you.” and I do this double take like “that wasnt a joke, was it?” And it was just a little jarring because of 1) he was actually serious and 2) how deeply I was moved by it. Like, it was just three words, completely of the blue, but it made me so…well, appreciated? And happy? And after my initial shock, I reply with another thank you and a “dang, you don’t hear that a lot”. And, working on his next hw problem, he’s just like, “Yeah, I try to say it as much as I can. Otherwise, how are people supposed to know?” and that was just the most casual, wonderful gesture of kindness that I’ve experienced.  

6

Emma Thompson, Very Serious Dramatic Actor™

Mrs. Lovett, what a charming notion                                                      Eminently practical and yet appropriate, as always!                                    Oh, Mrs. Lovett                                                                                            How I’ve lived without you all these years I’ll never know!

anonymous asked:

So this is what we wanted right? Columbia will be good for Harry? And it's still under Sony, but it's not Sony?

I feel like some of you are still confused about the label stuff and I’m definitely not an expert on any of this, but hopefully I can clear it up a little bit.

One Direction was under Columbia and Syco, both of which are under the larger umbrella of Sony. Now, Harry is under Columbia, which is again, under the larger umbrella of Sony. He’s therefore under Columbia AND Sony, just as One Direction was under Columbia AND Sony (and Syco). As for whether it’s what we wanted, well, a lot of us didn’t want to see any of the boys stick with a Sony label (Liam and Niall are under Universal Music Group labels instead, which makes many of us happy) because Sony is definitely responsible for a lot of the terrible shit the boys had to deal with over the years and they definitely have a huge hand in babygate and so on. That being said, I’m assuming that Harry is going to use the record label he created (Erskine Records) and will just use Columbia to distribute his music. From what I’ve read, unlike a normal record deal, a distribution deal would mean that Columbia and Sony have no involvement in the recording process and production of Harry’s music, and then if he also uses his own publishing company (Harry’s is called HSA Publishing), they would also own no portion of the music song rights. That means he has way more control over his music, so that would be a very good thing for him.

And regardless, I think most of us believe that Harry has the wisdom and experience at this point to only sign a deal that benefits him as much as possible and that gives him the opportunity to have the solo career that he wants. One Direction’s success and Harry’s name put him at a huge advantage walking into any negotiations, which is something that wasn’t possible for him or any of the boys when they signed their record deal back at the beginning of their careers. So I am hoping that the terrible shit that Sony has done (which could have been any label, honestly - no record label is “nice” really) will not be repeated with Harry’s solo stuff because he would have hopefully signed a very different and much better deal than he did all those years ago.

I am enjoying the HELL out of dragging Ann-Marie Thomson, and plan to continue to do so, but I want to point out a couple of things for my own peace of mind.

We are dragging her because she is the head of Syco PR.  She’s it. She’s the one.  We’ve dragged Simon Cowell, Simon Jones, Dan Wootton, Richard Griffiths, and Harry Magee, and all for good reason, but until now Ann-Marie has been relatively unscathed.

But the simple fact is, Syco has ultimate control over their artists. Not Modest (though their refusal to advocate strongly for their clients puts them below my contempt as well). Their contracts are stricter and more all-encompassing than regular recording contracts since their business model is different than a normal record company’s. 

Ann-Marie is not just another name we found and are throwing rotten fruit at. SHE IS THE HEAD OF PR AT SYCO.  Her job is public relations for the company, it’s artists, it’s TV shows, and Simon Cowell.  Her husband is the US Editor at The Sun and has personally written several articles blatantly pushing particular PR agendas where 1D is concerned. 

Simon Cowell is interested in making money and looking good, that’s pretty much it. For years he did both. But now he’s under fire and losing all of his money-makers, particularly 1D and The X-Factor, and Ann-Marie is the person in charge of spinning how it’s played out in the media.

As we’ve seen, 1D is being dragged right and left in the very places that Ann-Marie has the most influence - British tabloids. She has directly linked herself to the Jungwirths for no good reason (if the situation with Briana and Louis is what it is claimed to be, of course).

This isn’t tin-hatting, this isn’t speculation. There really is no one with more power over what we’ve seen happening to 1D in the UK media than Ann-Marie Thomson.

I’m just sorry it took us so long to see that.

The story of Phillip Phillips

I don’t know if you guys know Phillip Phillips - he sang those songs “home” and “Gone, gone, gone”. I don’t know him that well but I like his songs. He was the winner of American idol and has since then got into a massive legal battle with 19 entertainment who produce the show and run the record label he is signed to as a result of winning (so like what Simon Cowell/Syco is to the X-factor/5H). 

I know we are talking about American idol here and not X-factor, but they are basically the same thing and this whole thing has everything to do with Fifth Harmony. In fact, the two shows are so similar that Simon Fuller (owner of American Idol) actually tried to sue Simon Cowell by claiming the copyrights to the X-Factor format, and as a result, Fuller is actually now a partner in the X-factor. Basically Simon Cowell worked with Simon Fuller on American Idol but then sneakily fucked off to produce his own show that did exactly the same thing lol. No wonder Fuller tried to sue him!

Anyway, in January 2015, Phillips started a legal battle to basically get out of his deal with his management. His management company was the same as his record company - all run by 19 entertainment. So basically, Simon fuller had set it up so that he can control and reap the benefits from everything in the winning act’s career (similar to what simon has done to 5H). Apparently 19 entertainment  “Manipulated” him into accepting jobs that didn’t benefit him and his lawyer said the contracts were "oppressive, fatally conflicted.“ . 

Some of the ridiculous agreements included being forced to perform for no money and literally not even knowing the title of his album before it was publicly announced!!!!. He claimed that 19 entertainment repeatedly withheld information regarding his career (I think we all know 5H have been in similar situations of being kept in the dark regarding their careers…)

Basically, before phillips actually won the show, he signed a contract with 19 entertainment that allowed them to govern his management, merchandising, recording and publishing. You can assume a similar deal with 5H - From what I understand, the X-factor also makes contestants sign with Syco before the show finishes, making them remain with syco for 3 months after the show finishes… And during those 3 months, Syco/Sony can decide whether they want to exercise their option of signing the act to a full-on record deal. So what I’m saying is that all the bullshit reality TV style contractual stuff that they are able to get away with in that format, probably still applies when they go into the full record deal. These things are set up so that the labels get a lot of passive rights (where syco get a percentage of everything the x-factor contestants do for years) and active rights (where they also get to control everything about the artists’ careers so that the label can benefit the most). Syco/sony still retain a ridiculous amount of control over the artist’s career - probably way more than a normal record deal.

Phillips tried to use the Californian Talent Agencies Act to void his contract with 19 entertainment. (It’s quite a technical thing thats not that interesting). 19 entertainment then tried to sue Phillips’ manager, basically for turning against them and ‘manipulating’ him into trying to get out of his contract. Then, also, in summer 2016 (after 19 entertainment went bankrupt lol) 19 entertainment tried to sue Phillips for millions because he wasn’t carrying on with his contractual obligations to them while the whole legal battle was going on. The latest article I saw on the story from the end of last year was predicting that the label would not been able to sue him because of their bankruptcy. However… I only skimmed through the articles so if you find some more updates on the story please let me know. 

The details aren’t really that important - the important points are that these reality TV shows that artists sign record deals off of are notoriously horrible. The contracts give the label active rights to control almost every aspect of the artist’s career. And even when Phillips tried to get out of his management contract, his new manager was hit with a poaching lawsuit, and he himself was hit with a 6 million dollar lawsuit. It literally took actual bankruptcy of the company for him to not get sued in this process. Usually getting into a legal battle with a label is suicidal - they just have so much more power, money and resources, and have usually covered their backs in iron-clad contracts. i think another really important point to take from this is what Phillips said about how his label treated him - that they repeatedly withheld information from him regarding his own career - that he didn’t even know his album title before the public did. i think this stuff is particularly relevant to 5H. The execs are pulling the strings and the artists are the puppets. At times the girls may know just as much as we do regarding their futures. I’m sure as a coping mechanism they’ve learnt to just roll with it and pick their battles.

Anyway I’m not sure on the latest details of the legal battle… I assume he legitimately managed to get out of his management contract in the end, but here is his twitter is you want to support him.

Unexpected [m] - Mark

Originally posted by got7wings

Paring: markXreader

Word Count: 9.4k

Summary: After a bad breakup, your best friend Mark is determined to show you that you are worth more than what you think and that you mean more to him than you could have imagined.

Notes: Smut, Angst, Fluff


The air in the club was thick with sweat and perfume and while you had been out clubbing more and more recently, you still couldn’t get used to the stench and the way it fogged your senses. It also didn’t help that there were random horny people grinding on each other left and right, but then again you could also be seen as one of those people.

You were caught up in another random guy just as you had been every time you went to a club. His large hands were locked onto your hips as he pressed his lips fiercely to yours. You weren’t interested in sharing your night with him even though he was tall and fairly attractive, but something in the way his fingers gripped your hips was too reminiscent on the one person you were trying to forget.

Keep reading

Armed Detective Agency Off-Set

Atsushi- Atsushi’s personality takes almost a complete 180 off set. He’s quirky, fun and loud. He finds his outfit kind of annoying to deal with because the belt keeps smacking him in the ass and legs when he’s filming. He also thinks he looks kinda like a hobo, even if that is the point of his getup. The hardest part in filming was trying to keep a straight face as Akutagawa spit out the word ‘Jinko’ because of the strange accents he would do. Atsushi is crazy dedicated to filming and is always seen with his script in hand. But, just like the Show Atsushi, they’re both kind to everyone, although irl Atsushi likes to joke around a lot more. When they were filming the Chazuke part in the beginning, he couldn’t finish it all, so the crew teamed up to help him.

Dazai- Dazai is so extra that he refuses to take off his costume until the set is actually closing, and even then, it takes five people to shove him into a change room. He’s really cheeky and mischievous to people that he’s comfortable with, but the entire crew can tell you that he kept to himself for the first two weeks because he was really shy. He’s a crazy good singer, but the only person he sings seriously for is Chuuya. They aren’t officially dating, but everyone knows that he will eventually.He’s pretty good at keeping in his alcohol too. Also, Dazai is the king of pranks. He once switched out everyone’s scripts for the Bee Movie script (even Asagiri’s). Dazai also acted like Yenpress Dazai for a week, driving everyone insane. A not-so-funny prank ended up with him in the hospital after accidentally hanging himself as a joke. The wiring was faulty and he was choking for a good 20 seconds before Yosano panicked and said that it was indeed real. There’s at least one crew member watching Dazai’s actions from that scare.

Side note: The entire crew once played ‘Never Have I Ever’ without Dazai there for fun and accidentally found out that everyone has had a crush on Dazai at least once from the entire time they worked with him. They all vow to keep it a secret (although Chuuya is slightly jealous, he would never admit it) They can’t help it, he’s really charming. 

Fukuzawa- He’s the most like his character than anyone on the set (excluding several other members). But… he’s actually semi-allergic to cats, which kills him inside because he loves animals. He, Hirotsu and Mori are always seen together talking about politics and other things that most of them don’t care about. Fukuzawa is great friends with everyone and is in charge of making sure the studio doesn’t burn down from everyone’s shenanigans

Ranpo- He’s not as lazy as everyone thinks. The guy goes for an hour runs before filming begins because he knows the amount of food he’s going to consume is ridiculous. Ranpo sometimes kidnaps Carl to freak Poe out, which sometimes leads into really loud bickering. He can be found helping with the cameras/filming or reading a book in the corner while blasting rap music from his headphones. He’s also brilliant at chess and graduated early. Ranpo has never found a job he actually likes until he became and actor on BSD

Yosano- Still Queen off and on set. She and Kouyou are best friends, but everyone has been trying to get them together since the production began. Yosano and Ranpo had a slight fling back then, but are still pretty great friends. Because she plays someone with medical knowledge, she does actually have training so everyone goes to her when they have an injury. She also really adores kids and always gives candy to Kyouka, Yumeno and Kenji (and Oda’s kids, but they’re rarely around)

Kunikida- He’s actually pretty laid back off the set and is always willing to give advice. Dazai’s antics have worn onto him, and is sometimes seen helping him out with pranks and such. Kunikida thinks his character is ridiculously uptight, but the crew has already placed bets as to when he’ll discover that some of the behaviours are coming off the screen and into his own life. He’s known to tie with Dazai and Chuuya when having drinking competitions.

Haruno- She’s Naomi’s stylist and helps out in the set and crew when she’s not on-screen. She’s surprisingly handy with technology and constantly wonders how she puts up with all the weirdness on and off set. Haruno loves them all though

Tanizaki Siblings-  Tanizaki siblings love each other, but not that much. The whole incest thing wasn’t really their choice. Junichiiro believes his outfit is pretty similar to how he dresses, but Naomi finds it kind of gross and wants to change his style. She constantly goes to Kouyou to get fashion advice  and drags Haruno, who is her designated stylist to go with her. She finds wearing her school uniform slightly convenient because she has to rush there after filming anyways. Junichiiro is always roped into zooming through traffic on his motorcycle to get her there on time. They are also designated to get coffee each morning because everyone has given up on Dazai getting it for them.

Kenji- No matter what his role is in the show, he is most definitely not a farmer’s boy. If anything, he’s the most corrupt 14 year old any of them had met. His mind has surpassed the gutter and currently lives in the 9th circle of meme hell. Everyone wonders what happened to him. Regardless, he’s still pretty sweet and loves to cause chaos on the set. He’s also quite a charmer and has a small crush on Kyouka, leaving a small love triangle between them and Yumeno. The entire team is divided between the two boys and some of them *cough (Kunikida and Haruno) wonder why their lives aren’t as cute as theirs is. Kenji is also crazy smart and sassy af.

Kyouka- Everyone adores Kyouka so much. She’s the princess around the set and you can see Chuuya and Kouyou absolutely spoiling her. Her personality also takes a big turn. She’s not into cutesy things at all, at least that’s what she said when everyone gave her giant Dango pillows, but unbeknownst to them, she still has them in her room. Her pigtails feel childish to her and she finds it annoying every time Kenjii flicks them like reins. She’s extremely sassy and knowledgeable about the relationships between everyone on set. People constantly watch their back, but she’s like the black market dealer for secrets, no one knows how she does it. Kyouka comes from a rich family, but because of that, she’s homeschooled, so everyone tries to pitch in and make her life fun to make up for all that she’s missing. Also, Kyouka hates the phone around her neck in the show; more than once they’ve had to refilm a part because one of her 5 cellphones go off in the middle of a recording. Normally it’s one of her online friends or a recording studio asking her to come to a cover for them.

anonymous asked:

Hi Cris, what are the benefits of signing a full record deal as opposed to a distribution deal? If the distribution deal is much better money wise, why doesn't everyone do it? Someone told me major labels push their own artists harder than their distribution deal artists. Is that true? Like, Adele and Beyonce have full record deals with Columbia, right?

Distribution deals are really only beneficial for major artists that have already gone through the standard record deal grind and have an established fan base that they can count on to buy a certain number of copies of their records.  

And if you recall, Capitol pushed Niall like he was the literal fruit of their loins for This Town, so the question of who they push harder isn’t the issue.  The issue is who do they think is going to make them the most money?

A distribution deal means that Capitol put very little money on the table up front to get Niall to sign with them. So they don’t have to worry about recouping anything other than marketing costs. But it’s good for the artist, because they retain rights to their masters and make money on every unit sold and don’t have to worry so much about the label using creative accounting. The artist is effectively hiring the big label to promote them for a percentage of sales, very cut and dry (for the most part).

At the same time, the big label gets to claim the artist and has bragging rights when they have a hit, which matters more than you’d think in the industry.

A normal record deal with an established, top level artist is set up so that the label has to give them a big chunk of money up front (usually millions) and then bet on whether the artist will sell enough for them to recoup the advance. Then after the advance has been paid back, the artist begins making additional money (or more specifically, after the advance and all recording, marketing, administrative, and bullshit costs are deducted).

As for Adele and Beyonce, nope.  

Beyonce has the same kind of deal that Niall does, it looks like (this is for Lemonade):

And Adele’s deal is actually with XL, her original label:

psa

hey friends! 

just so you know, it’s that time of year when the current batch of Llewellyn almanacs and annuals go on sale to make way for next year’s! And if you’re like me, this is when you go snatch them up. 

the Llewellyn website is out of stock on most of the titles but Amazon is also reflecting the 75% off discount, and they have more stock, so !! get on it I guess??

Things that are important to me atm:

- “Sure, we texted this morning.” of course they text all the time, no big deal, the most normal obvious thing ever, two friends keeping in touch all the time

- “He’s worried I won’t like his new solo record.” again normal stuff, just Harry being nervous that his friend, whose opinion in music he’s always valued so much, won’t like his music, cause he put so much heart and work into it

😭😭😭😭😭

I was an Electronics sales clerk at a retail store, and there are a lot of US vets that shop there. One time an older gentleman came in with his camera. Now, he didn’t want to return it, but for some reason years of pictures were unable to be found when he tried transferring them to a computer.

I was the only one not busy at the time with a register, so I took a look at his camera. It had a standard SD card in it. Unfortunately the camera was out of batteries, so i couldn’t check to see if they actually showed up in preview. I asked him how he tried to transfer them, and he says he knows how to make new folders, but they disappeared after trying to move the pictures over.

At this point I probably knew what happened, so I went over to a display laptop and thank goodness one of them had an SD card reader. So I plugged the card in and yep, he made new folders within the SD card itself rather than on the computer he was trying to transfer to, so all of the pictures were in like 3 folders down.

I restored the folders to how the DSLR would normally record and read pictures, but I was also aware that he may make the same mistake again. So, as slowly and patiently as I could, I taught him how to set up a new folder in the computer’s picture tab and transfer the pictures over. Luckily he used the same version of Windows that the display computer had, so he could navigate through everything easily. He thanked me profusely and left.

A few weeks later, I answered the phone for our department, and it was the same older gentleman. He was calling to ask if a certain item was in stock, but then he recognized my voice and he brought his wife over to the phone and they both thanked me for saving their pictures.

My face hurt from smiling for the rest of that day.

2

In the category of ‘things I forgot I had’: pictures of me in Nightwish’s old recording studio, holding the mic used for the vocals of Once.

(conversation leading up to this moment:
P: Here, do you want to hold it?
Me: Oh my god no, I’m going to break it
P: *handing it to me* You’re not going to break it, it’s already broken
Me: Nonono, I’m going to break it more
P: …Just take it)

2

I particularly like this idea cause if most alien life has never been exposed to peanuts I suspect it’s highly likely it would be a common intergalactic allergy. So Stan just has emergency peanut butter on him to feed Rick- but in a pinch when the raygun needs to recharge and they’re in hot water, it also can be used for defense against hostile aliens.