UMG’s Advice to Artists in the Smart Speaker Era — Have Your Song Title Front and Center

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At MWC in Barcelona, Lucian Grainge offered some relatively simple advice for artists and songwriters amidst the rise of smart speakers.

According to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), the installed base for smart speakers in the US grew to 66 million in December 2018.  That number rose from 53 million last September, and from 37 million in December of 2017.

Amazon Echo devices led the US market with a 70% share.  Google Home and the Apple HomePod followed with a 24% and 6% share, respectively.

According to a recent report from Adobe Analytics, 36% of all American consumers now own a smart speaker.  Surveying those who use these devices, 75% use their smart speakers at least once or multiple times per day.

The first figure, says Colin Morris, Director of Adobe Analytics, jumped from 32% last August.  Usage levels stood at 71% at the time.

The double-digit growth we see in ownership, along with continued daily usage, shows that the path for smart speakers has diverged from other emerging technology trends like 3D TV and VR headsets – now becoming a part of everyday life.

Now, one major label has directed its artists and songwriters to change the way they make music.

Adopting your style to the sound of smart speakers.

On stage at the Mobile World Congress (MBW) in Barcelona, Universal Music Group (UMG) CEO and Chairman Lucian Grainge discussed the evolution of smart speakers.

Stating that smart speakers present both a risk and an opportunity, UMG’s top boss explained,

The amount of traffic there is with them is incredibly compelling.

But he added that people may have a difficult time asking their smart speakers for a specific work.

Our experience is people can’t ask for a song when they don’t know what title is.

Grainge shared a piece of advice for all songwriters and artists around the world – keep your song’s title front and center in the lyrics.

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Using the example of ‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?’ – a classic children’s song – he explained,

If you’ve got something that is a brand, is a soundtrack, is a song where the title is in the chorus and the melodies, we’re seeing really explosive data and activity.

“That helps us in the creative process because it enables us, with the data and with consumption, to use the technology to say to the talent, you need to have something as basic as the song title…in the chorus.

At MWC, Grainge then went on to discuss other topics.  These included the rise of mobile devices and signing Taylor Swift.