British Sony BMG Pushes Blog-Focused, Interactive A&R

The rattling cassette demo is a long-gone relic, though CD-Rs and jiffies are still floating around label offices.

Now, Sony BMG UK is shifting away from physical submissions entirely, part of a new, digital A&R process.  Just recently, the label announced that it would no longer accept physical demos from new artists, and outlined an entirely digitized approach.  Moving forward, new artists looking for staff visibility must build a blog, complete with music, photos and videos.  “Blogging is clearly one of the major trends in music, media and entertainment,” said Sony BMG UK chief executive Ged Doherty, whose own blog is part of the community.  “It makes complete sense for the major labels to use the process in a creative way to encourage, discover and communicate with new artists.”  With that in mind, the label partnered with to craft community sites for both the Columbia and RCA subsidiaries.

Bloggers within the and sites are tagged as members of the label’s virtual A&R community.  From an efficiency perspective, the plan offers a more organized avenue for evaluating up-and-coming talent, though experienced talent scouts might cringe at the prospect of communicating with thousands of less-than-talented groups.  But Doherty hopes the streamlined approach will also create a more vibrant and alive avenue for attracting and interacting with new talent.  “There are already over sixty people from our company blogging regularly on this platform and many more will be soon,” Doherty said.  That is part of an unexpected job description for many staffers, and part of a broader online marketing push that strongly encourages company execs to blog.  “If you don’t blog, it’s going to be frowned upon,” a label spokesperson recently told The Register.  “Ged has made it clear that staff are expected to blog and participate in the community. He sees it as part of people’s jobs.”

Story by news analyst Richard Menta.