Recently the iHeartSummit, the big radio group, offered up two-day showcase by record companies, managers and artists including Justin Bieber, for some 100 key influencers. Another upfront-like effort was a daylong presentation of the Universal Music Group’s current projects.
The first obvious question: What took the music industry so long?
A short answer might be hubris. For a long time, music labels didn't need marketing help. As a matter of fact, some early music events were not only closed to potential partners -- but to the press as well.
When you are dealing with “art,” sometimes commerce can get in the way. Now, of course, much has changed.
Still, TV networks have been charming advertisers/marketers for about 50 years through various upfront events showing off their TV programming wares.
And TV companies can also be full of hubris. But not as much recently.
For three years in a row, recent upfront markets, and the scatter markets that follow, have been lackluster -- if not declining.
Over the last few years, digital media companies have been getting into the act with their version of an upfront.“Newfronts” haven’t exactly lit the world on fire -- especially when it comes to those near-term big media deals.
For the music industry, opening up the store is good news -- though some might say it’s too late.
Still, anything attached to the word “upfront” can be a lightning rod for media platforms. Perhaps the always embattled music business needs a different kind of spark.