Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the $50 billion music industry has been hit hard, expecting to take more than a $10 billion loss (as of May) in events and sponsorships. Producer Mike Wise has some insight for musicians on how to survive this crisis.
Consequently, the acceleration of music streaming and instant distribution options will continue to rise, growing from 9% to 47% of total industry revenues in the past six years. Well, the industry is, of course, fighting back, capitalizing off the advantages live-streaming and online album debuts yield for both artist and consumer.
For producers, like Mike Wise, who helped turn James Blunt’s music more ‘beautiful’ than he ever thoughts, this is the time to ‘stay relevant.’ While personal branding isn’t something Wise continuously works on as a producer, he most definitely helps his artists discover and maintain their branding and sound.
In working with many of today’s most relevant artists like James Blunt, Fall Out Boy, Alyssa Reid, and Neon Dreams, understanding digital branding is a major component of music production.
Grit Daily: Why do you think branding is important in today’s digital age of music?
Mike Wise: Today’s music landscape is very dense! Listeners have unlimited access to music and artists have greater access to listeners than ever before. While this has somewhat democratized the music industry it has also made it a bit challenging to cut through the noise. For better or for worse, it can take more than just a great song to reach people and that’s where branding can give an artist an edge.
GD: How do you use personal and commercial branding in your everyday career?
MW: While I’m not the biggest user of social media (perhaps I should be), I’m conscious of the fact that Instagram is essentially one’s business card and this is where you can see what I’ve been working on. I believe that one’s work speaks for itself and that your catalogue becomes your brand as a music producer and songwriter.
GD: Explain how you have branded (yourself) over the years as a music producer?
MW: While I’ve been fortunate to work with some bigger established artists, a lot of my success has come from working with unknown, developing artists. I think to some degree people look to me to help shape a sound/direction for a new project and that’s something I’m proud of.
GD: How has COVID-19 impacted the need for you and other artists/producers to take a closer look at their branding?
MW: This pandemic has made it even more clear that the biggest stage for artists is the internet. Your work and your image are at everyone’s fingertips so it’s important that you put your best foot forward at all times, so to speak. For better or worse, artists and producers need to stay active online to keep people’s attention. The upside of this is the fact that you have a lot of control over your own image and brand which, if used well, can be a great tool.
GD: What brands are you loyal to when it comes to your music, equipment, etc. and why?
MW: I’m a Pro Tools user through and through. For me, it’s the best tool to realize my ideas. I use a lot of Universal Audio hardware and software as well.
GD: What observations have you noticed from the artists you have worked with when it comes to their branding?
MW: I really believe that the most effective branding for an artist is simply being yourself. If an artist is likable for some unique reason, they will resonate with people! While listeners do fall in love with songs and records, they also fall in love with personalities. In today’s world, with the internet and social media, people can smell fake. Any time I’ve worked on a project where the artist is putting forward some kind of facade, it generally doesn’t connect. It’s also way easier to be yourself!