Mastering social media

SEVERAL global music insiders are to share their years of insight at the Island Music Conference set for February 8 to 12 at The Courtleigh Auditorium, Jamaica Pegasus hotel, and The Courtleigh Hotel and Suites in New Kingston.

Adam Gross, president of Ineffable Records, is among the speakers. He recently shared his thoughts on the "language" of social media platforms, saying it is something artistes must master to maintain and build on their fanbases.

We sat down with him ahead of the conference.

You've spoken to the necessity of independent artistes learning the language of social media platforms. Can you expand on that?

So there are eight billion people in the world; 60 per cent or so have access to the Internet. Essentially, there are people placing their attention on different platforms around the world at all times, so that's anything from streaming platforms like Spotify, YouTube, or Pandora, or Audiomack or Apple Music. Then you have social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and others, such as TV shows, films, video games — a number of places where people are placing their attention.

So it's essential to figure out how you optimise the performance of a song in any one of those places. Each platform speaks its own language, right? So Spotify speaks its own language, and learning how to do things within that platform is important: how to maximise the streams on that platform to maximise the algorithms. Basically, you're not reliant on others.

"It's super important to learn how to speak the language of TikTok and put things out the right way so that you can grow and can take as high a percentage of people's time on that platform by constantly pushing your music. We're living in the best time in history for independent artistes. We have all these tools at our fingertips and the cost of getting things out there is much less. It's about optimising and maximising performance instead of having big budgets."

How important is it that artistes target multiple platforms?

You need to grow your audience on every single platform so it's sustainable. You never know if the Government of a country might ban one platform tomorrow or another platform comes in and [dominates] that other one. You want to be in a position where you have access to your fans so you don't lose your fans and are not relying on one platform to reach them.

How many artistes from the Caribbean are you currently working with or have worked with in the past?

We've released a number of projects from artistes from the Caribbean. We've done projects with Konshens, Anthony B, Demarco. We're working on an album with Kes right now, a live record, and have rolled out a number of singles from it. We're working with Hector 'Roots' Lewis. Also, doing some projects with Conqueror, Kaliyah, and a number of other artistes from the Caribbean — some of which I can't announce right now.

Is there a difference in the way you market (and manage) artistes from the Caribbean as opposed to those from other regions?

I don't think there's any difference in how you manage artistes from the Caribbean or different parts of the world. I think it all falls into the same bracket of understanding that projects go best if you have the right people as part of artistes' teams; people that can execute the plan and strategy. The way we think about any project, it's just that it's important to have the right partners in place.

Other speakers confirmed for the Island Music Conference are renowned attorneys Lloyd Stanbury, Andrew Krents, and Sapna Lal.

YouTube's Director of Black Music and Culture Tuma Basa; Tanya Lawson from Audiomack; Madeline Nelson from Amazon; Diego Herrera, Pandora; Loretta Gadson of BMI; Damien Granderson and Steven Carless from Warner; and SeaniB from BBC1Xtra are among some of the industry experts who will be in attendance.

The conference is the brainchild of Jamaican Grammy-winning artiste Shaggy, whose real name is Orville Burrell, as well as music industry stalwarts Judith Bodley and Sharon Burke.

Adam Gross

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