Springboarding off the epic experience we shared with so many independent artists at BBC Music Introducing presents Amplify last fall, we decided to launch the AWAL Sessions series as a way to continue the AWAL experience offline and build in-person connections between artists, managers, industry pros, and more. Our goal is to present valuable panels, keynotes, and networking opportunities to help artists bolster their careers and add resources to their arsenal. Oh, and to enjoy some snacks, drinks, and music with fellow members of their local scene. That, too.
Last week, we held our first-ever AWAL Sessions event in London after tickets sold out in only 20 minutes the day of release. Throughout the evening, over 90 artists and managers heard from industry experts from companies like BBC Introducing and YouTube, along with members of our own AWAL/Kobalt teams, and had a chance to network with other participants.
If you missed the first edition of AWAL Sessions, don’t worry — we’ve pulled together this special recap of photos, panel insights, and feedback from participants. Also, stay tuned until the end to find out how to be the first to know about future Sessions!
Panel One: The Landscape of the Independent Artist
Panelists: Joe Porn (Music Glue), Eduard Castello (YouTube), Victoria Stuart (AWAL), Abbie McCarthy (BBC Introducing)
Moderator: Paul Hitchman, President, AWAL
From what success looks like in 2018 to the role of traditional media (i.e., radio and press) in “breaking” new artists, our panelists took a look at the part they individually play in the path of independent artists. Highlights included a discussion around release planning, branding as an artist, and whether it’s wise for artists to think of themselves as entrepreneurs. Music Glue’s Joe Porn also pointed out the importance of ticket sales and physical merch — a valuable element when considering artists’ different revenue streams in the “new music business.”
“The caliber of panel guests was great. Informative and inspired new branding ideas” — Naphta Newman
“Everything was perfect.” — Virginia D’Alia
Presentation: Beyond the Music Video
Lizzie Dixon (YouTube)
During her presentation, Lizzie shared the 10 things that artists should focus on when communicating with fans through their YouTube channels, ways to create videos with personality and consistency, and incorporate them into marketing strategies. She also shed light on what tactics YouTube uses to keep audiences interested and how artists can use them, along with showing example videos from new and established artists and explaining how and why they worked.
“The insight on YouTube optimization was amazing.” — Meshach Williams
“I learned how to improve and present my Youtube channel, not to neglect social media numbers to drive playlisting, and to remember to make my brand fun/creative on the social media channels.” — Nadine Khouri
Panel Two: Demystifying the Data
Panelists: Rebecca Dixon (Various Artists Management), Amelie Bonvalot (Kobalt), Mark Newman (AWAL)
Moderator: Wesley A’Harrah (MusicAlly)
Data is a crucial piece of any artist’s overall strategy; it helps drive initiatives and make important career decisions. It also helps artists understand their fans and speak more directly right to the people who matter most. Our panel focused on DSPs, playlists, the AWAL App, and social media, diving into the data and algorithms that affect independent artists and how to understand and work with that important info.
“Just a quick message to say a big thank you to you and your team. I really got a lot out of it and I think you guys are fab.” — Simon Fung
“Thanks for the event today, and all the work you put in. It was a massive success. [The food and drink] was a fantastic surprise. Actually, really made me see that AWAL values us.” — Chris Illet
“Thank you for a great afternoon on Friday!” — Louise Golbey
As we plan our next round of AWAL Sessions for 2018, make sure you’re in the loop! Sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to know about future events. See you there!