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Samira Leitmannstetter is Vice President of BOLD COLLECTIVE, a creative department of Sony Music, which aims to efficiently link artists, creator and Sony Music's own brands to place them in the best possible way on all relevant platforms. At this year's Most Wanted, she spoke about strategic artist building through TikTok and social video platforms. We asked her a few questions about this in advance.
CCB Magazine:Hello Samira. You were speaker on this year's Most Wanted. Did you perform analog or was the whole thing digital?
Samira Leitmannstetter:Hello Boris, I held the speach together with my colleague Jonas Röhrscheid. By the way, we were also bringing along a special guest. This will be available in digital stream.
CCB Magazine:As a strategist, you manage BOLD COLLECTIVE in order to place artists, creator and Sony Music's own brands more prominently on all relevant platforms. Samira, I think I'm getting old, what is meant by creator? The heavy metal band is probably not meant by that, is it?
Samira Leitmannstetter:Creator can also make heavy metal, rap or pop songs. However, by the term "creator" we primarily mean creative people, such as content producers, photographers, filmmakers and other talents, who build their own community through their passion and creativity - mostly in digital space, e.g. on Twitch, YouTube, Instagram or TikTok. We connect these creative people with our network of artists, which has often resulted in further exciting projects and friendships.
CCB Magazine: TikTok has more than two billion users, many from Asia and mostly teenagers. How can an app like this be used strategically to build up artists? Or to put it this way: does this only affect cheap junk pop artists?
Samira Leitmannstetter:The question evaluates music according to subjective quality - and in our experience, there is currently no evaluation or discrimination of music on TikTok. We are currently seeing large coverage of Dance and Deutschrap tracks - our Sony Music "Mein Herz Schlagen Schlager" TikTok channel is currently experiencing massive growth. Just a few weeks ago we were able to launch a big Schlager live stream in partnership with TikTok, with our artists Chris Cronauer and Marie Reim. The reaction of the fans is great. Especially in the artist setup it is important that the artist is active on TikTok, tries things out and has fun on the platform. This is the basis for building a community on TikTok. A great example of this is Vanessa Mai, who is one of the most successful artists on TikTok with over 800,000 followers.
There is a clear tendency for apps and social platforms to become increasingly relevant in artist marketing
CCB Magazine:What makes TikTok so special compared to other apps like Instagram, Snapchat or Triller?
Samira Leitmannstetter:In our view, all platforms are equally relevant for the creation of communities - but they bring with them different usage scenarios and communities that need to be addressed and used differently. When it comes explicitly to discovering music, TikTok currently plays a significant role, as can be seen, for example, in the mega-hits "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X or "Savage Love" by Jawsh 685 & Jason Derulo.
CCB Magazine:Okay. And what about video platforms like YouTube? Aren't they already too worn-out to push the development of artists?
Samira Leitmannstetter:Here we are back to the usage scenarios - YouTube is used completely differently, here more than 30 seconds of tracks and music videos can be viewed in full length - and artists can tell a (and their) story over longer formats. In addition, the artists have other ways to link merchandising, tickets or other products to reach their fans. For us, the platforms are not mutually exclusive, they are complementary.
CCB Magazine:How sustainable is such an artist build-up through TikTok or other apps? And how much is Sony Music paying for it, for instance?
Samira Leitmannstetter:We invest a lot of time in building communities. The BOLD Collective has a dedicated department that advises our artists on content strategies. We also have a team that takes care of the activation of content and target group expansion via paid media measures. In addition, we will soon be able to produce and stream live content for all platforms in our own production studio in our offices in Schöneberg.
CCB Magazine:In your opinion, does the strategic use of such apps and video platforms lead to a certain democratization of artist marketing? After all, theoretically you can achieve a big impact with a small budget.
Samira Leitmannstetter:The influence and the changes in the possibilities in artist marketing have been felt for many years. Where artists used to rely solely on media coverage, they can now set and co-determine the topics and content to be discussed. This is why it is so important to build up your own communities in order to be able to play your fans in a self-determined way and with a certain freedom. But that sounds as if there are no restrictions, which unfortunately is not quite true. The platforms work via smart algorithms, which in turn can partly determine the range of the content. That's why we are building our own channels and communities in parallel - for example, through our own apps or newsletters.
CCB Magazine:Samira, will apps and platforms become more and more important for the marketing of artists or will it finally run out?
Samira Leitmannstetter:Apps and social platforms already play an enormous role. If we look at how relevance has changed across all generations and user groups in recent years alone, we can see a very clear trend. I am firmly convinced that these areas and channels have become an integral part of the marketing and discovery of music and will continue to play an enormously important role in the future.
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