Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun and CAA Music Dept. head Rob Light were two of the six panelists holding forth on “The Evolution of Music and the Music Consumer” at yesterday’s Milken Institute Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton. They were joined by Billboard Power 100 mainstays Irving Azoff, of Azoff MSG Ent., UMG head Lucian Grainge, Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman and EDM impresario Pasquale Rotella in a wide-ranging discussion on the dynamic changes undergone by the music business over the last 16 years, moderated by Billboard/The Hollywood Reporter co-president John Amato.
After the discussion, Braun and Light dropped by to discuss the issues with THR. “Streaming only improves the other ways we consume music,” says Scooter. “It just gives us more access to it… People want music to be near them all day long.”
About his breaking of such acts as Bieber, Psy and Carly Rae Jepsen, Braun says: “You can build the greatest brand in the world, but it’s short-lived if you don’t make great records. We’ve been very fortunate to break acts, but it starts with the music and that connection. What we’ve done with social media is put more eyeballs and let the public decide.
“At the end of the day, our industry is built on the demand of the consumer and what they want. We have to find the middle ground. We can’t hold on to the old model. None of us has a crystal ball. It’s exciting to have an open frontier ahead of us, and how we’re going to create this business.”
CAA’s Light is bullish on the live concert business and its relationship to the music industry as a whole, saying it’s gone from an afterthought to a crucial element.
“Touring has now become a critical part of any marketing mix, rather than an afterthought” says CAA’s Light. “How do you create demand that builds future demand? Wben it’s done right, I think it has a huge impact on the career of an artist.”
Light is also optimistic about the rise of the multi-day festivals, like Coachella, Bonaroo, Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza. “The real holy grail of festivals is [to create] the next generation of headliners,” he says. “Lifestyle is important, but it’s not the whole ticket. You need stars to drive them. ”
About the role of viral marketing in promoting concerts, he says: “We’re just at the front edge of how social media can help promote our clients. It’s a huge game-changer.
“The more technology we have, the more we want to spend time together. Live music will always be important.”