Corinne Sadki (Le Bureau Export): “I believe storytelling is the core of a marketing campaign for an artist nowadays, more than ever”

Newsroom 19/03/2019 | 11:21

Master’s degree holder and seasoned marketing and communication manager with strong experience in the music industry, Corinne Sadki has been working as a product manager and head of trade marketing in major record companies (EMI, BMG, Sony Music) developing marketing and communication strategies with a never-ending passion for music.

By Romanita Oprea

In 2016, she joined the French music export office in Paris (Le Bureau Export) enhancing her knowledge of the French music sector with new issues of international development. Getting involved in this new general interest mission, developing artists’ careers abroad, encouraging the competitiveness of the French music sector on new markets, mobilizing the politics to support the music sector have been a strong motivation for the last 2 years.

She also got involved in European music matters; she was elected president of EMEE (European Music Exporters Exchange) in May 2017, and since then, she has been supporting the international development of the European music sector as a key issue of international policy.

Corinne Stadki offered us an interview prior to her coming to Romania as a speaker at Mastering the Music Business 2019.

What determined you to choose music as the niche to work in?

Music has been a passion since childhood and at one point, I decided to try make it a job, even if I was not a musician. And right after a master in cultural business, I started working in music!

What are the main challenges of your day to day job?

After 25 years in record companies where my challenges were to develop business, my actual job is totally different: I am part of a non profit organization, Le Bureau Export, helping French music professionals to develop their artists internationally. My main challenges are to have the best training and communication tools for our professional contacts, to promote through a brand we have created made in France artists and to get the largest knowledge possible of international markets and professionals.

Added to this, as chairwoman of EMEE, the European network of export offices, I try to federate the collaboration of our members towards a stronger European music sector and to work closer to the European Commission to build a long term strategy of support for European music exporters. We have been mandated by the EC, for the Music Moves Europe preparatory action, to make a study on usage and needs for music export within European countries. The policy recommendations that we have to make are key for the future.

How important are marketing and PR in an artists’ name creation and success nowadays compared to 5-10 years ago?

It is key. Our era is that of multichannel media and of infinite numbers of information sources, on and off line! Thanks to streaming, each artist can be available worldwide, simultaneously but, to reach and to move an audience, you need to tell a strong and genuine story. I believe storytelling is the core of a marketing campaign for an artist nowadays, more than ever. The sincerity and the quality of the story added to an impacting promotion campaign can make the difference.  

What are the main changes you’ve seen in music marketing in the last years and how has that impacted your activity?

I saw the revolution music went through with the rise of internet. The French recorded music sector has been divided by 2 since the 2000s. So less people, less money, we had to find new ideas and adapt to a totally new and moving business model! It has been a very difficult and exciting challenge!

Regarding export, it has changed everything! We can see now 2 different ways of exporting artists: through the more traditional touring way of exploring new countries, and, through the new model, coming out of the streaming economy, where a single song can cross boarders very quickly and touch a public all over the world.

The marketing strategy has to adapt to this everywhere, anytime, multi-connected audience! It is true for local market and even more for international development.

What do you foresee for the next years, in that regard?

I think the crisis is now behind the music sector, that the business is growing, that the economic model is now more stable (even if new technologies can always happen and need an adaptation, but not a revolution…) and that the adoption of streaming services by a bigger part of the population will make the music professional more serene and I hope more creative and more adventurous.

If so, the future years will make more chance for diversity, for emerging artists and that is crucial for better creative music scene!

How would you characterize 2019’s international music scene?

Bubbling! I think there is now more place for diversity and it is time to get out of the 20% of international standardized hits! And I would say it is European artists’ chance!

How about the French music scene?

France has always been in love with its culture and there is a lot of public support to artists.  It may explain why the French music scene is rich, varied and talented.

What would you say that are France’s main particularities in music these days?

Like in many countries, the urban scene is dominant in the local market, but as I’ve just said, the diversity of genres has always existed in France and the public has been educated to be curious.

There are publics for songs, electronic music, pop music, jazz, classic and world music. But I have noticed that the biggest French success stories are often out of specific genres: Stromae, Christine and The Queens, Jain, Eddy de Pretto, Aya Nakamura are neither pop, nor hip hop or any other genres; they have their own particularity, out of standards.

What genre of music do French people listen to more nowadays and why?

19 artists out of the 20 best sellers this year in France are French. The only international charted artist is Ed Sheeran! And in the top 200, 48 artists are newcomers!

How have their preferences changed in the last years and why?

The local consumption has always been mostly French, but it might be explained by many factors: a vitality of the French labels, a real impact of the quota in radios (35 French artists charted in the top 100 airplay) and the result of the social media impact which makes a bigger place to new comers, and to artists close to their fans .

Since joining EMEE (European Music Exporters Exchange) you are sustaining international development of the European music sector as a key issue of international policy. Tell us more about activity from this point of view and your goals.

EMEE, as said before, is aiming at strengthening the European music sector. How? By sharing information, best practices and, thanks to the European Commission study we work on, by a better comprehension of how each country treats its local scene.

Music moves Europe aims to build a specific program to support the music sector: we try to be part of the shape of such a program, to make it as efficient as possible. We really believe in the benefits of the union! “If you want to go fast, go on your own, if you want to go far, go together” is our driving force! More practically, we will define how we can, as a European level, help in collecting information, support the capacity building of artists and professionals and how there can be a relevant funding scheme to help European music exporters.

Where do you see the music scene heading in the next years? How will marketing and PR influence that change?

I guess what is true for French scene in terms of marketing and PR can apply for any European artists. The story is the key! The differences within Europe are the structuration of the sector itself which is really different for one country to another. And this can have a huge impact on the timing for an artist to emerge, on the means to develop a carrier etc…

In terms of physical support for albums where do you see the trend going more (vinyls, cds, etc)? Or do you believe soon enough most of it will be only digital? Why?

In 2018, vinyls count for 19% of the physical sales in France (and I’ve heard about the comeback of audio tapes!). At the same time, 51% of the revenues comes from streaming platforms.

The future is digital, but, there is a real interest for objects and, “telling the story” needs nice books! It can be made through very complete and rich objects for fans. Fans have always been ready to pay for specific products, from tee-shirts and it will never stop really.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career in the last years that you would like to pass on?

Talent is the key. Faith is crucial. Strategy is necessary!

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