Nicola Spokes, Ted Cockle, Char Grant, Nur Ozadamar and more lead the Ultimate Seminar event

Nicola Spokes, Ted Cockle, Char Grant, Nur Ozadamar and more lead the Ultimate Seminar event 


Ultimate Seminar London 2021 event, Picture by Paul H

On Saturday 27th November, The Ultimate Seminar took place live in London, featuring some of the music industry’s top executives including Managing Director of Island Records UK, Nicola Spokes, President of Hipgnosis, Ted Cockle, A&R Director at 0207 Def Jam, Char Grant and Artist & Label Development Lead, YouTube Europe, Middle East & Africa, Nur Ozadamar.

Over 40 guest speakers joined insightful forward thinking conversations on the future of the music industry, exploring various sectors including Knowing Your Business, World of Promo, Major Mindset, Cre8ive Breakers, Hipgnosis Songs – Scoring at Hit and PPL’s Artist Breakthrough. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet one on one with top music industry professionals in the highly sought after Breakout 1:1 sessions. Benny Scarrs, co-manager of Mercury Prize, award winning rapper Dave, royalties specialist and Founder of the Go 2 Agency, Shauni Caballero and The Orchard who specialise in Music Distribution and Artist and Label Services met with attendees and gave advice that enabled individuals to gain further insight into their chosen fields, and inspire them to set personal goals and realise their own objectives and ambitions.

In the ‘Knowing Your Business’ panel, Nur Ozdamar, Artist & Label Development Lead at YouTube talked about making YouTube work for your career. She said: “You need to educate the algorithm that you’re putting in the work and then the algorithm will put in the work for you…If you don’t understand the platform, you won’t come up with ideas that work for the platform” She also discussed YouTube’s latest feature, YouTube Shorts: “There’s a lot of momentum around Shorts. I think that’s one way of building a great audience. You see huge numbers on Shorts right now. It’s a new tool, we’re still experimenting, there are things that are still a work in progress, I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s the thing we’re investing in most right now to adapt to the current day and to make sure artists can have a 360 channel.”

In the 2nd panel ‘Gr8 Impressions: Marketing & Promotion’, panelists talked about how lockdown has changed the promotions side of the music industry. Talent Manager Ella-Bonai Gordan said: “Lockdown for me has really highlighted the importance of being authentically you as an artist and doing things within your perspective…everything starts from the artist”. There was also discussion on TikTok and how to create a viral hit, in which Founder of Blackstar Agency Olivia Hobbs commented: “You can’t force it. You can’t really plan it. You can pay lots of money and try and plan for them, but sometimes that’s not going to work either”.

3rd panel ‘Major Mindset’ saw guests from major labels discuss the industry and what can be done to improve it. Nicola Spokes, MD at Atlantic Records said: “I would love to see more women in A&R. As a business we are working really hard for this. A&R has traditionally been really male-orientated, we need to think about innovative ways of getting women into A&R, maybe that’s looking at women in other areas of the business and in different disciplines”.

The ‘Cre8ive Breakers’ panel discussed A&R, managing artists and the importance of marketing artists in 2021. Artist Manager & Creative Taisha Jay says on managing an artist: “It takes a lot of determination and patience. You have to love the job to do the job”. On marketing artists in 2021, Oksi Odedina, General Manager at 5K Records said: “I fundamentally believe that marketing is how an artist wants to represent themselves and if you think about it with enough emotional intelligence, you can probably think of a way to do that that’s going to be incredibly impactful”. On the subject of what makes a good artist, Lloyd Murrey, A&R Manager at Warner Records UK answered: “Someone that is willing to work hard, has ambition, has a clear direction of what they want to be. I don’t think it works out when an artist is trying to be everything. All the artists’ that I’ve worked with have always been unique and they’ve always been clear on what they want to do”

The final panel ‘PPL Breakthrough Artists’ talked about how emerging artists have made their break. Jaz Karis talked about trusting the process: “Everything has a purpose, your USP is yourself, as long as you’re always honing in on your skill, being consistent and doing what you’re supposed to do, I think it will all line up eventually”. Emerging artist ENNY stated the importance of having a solid team: “I’m signed to an independent label and I think the sickest thing about that label  is that they just care about the music, it’s not that they want to create a star, they just want to put out good music which is how ‘Peng Black Girls’ did so good. They heard it and said “we need to back this as much as we can” and that’s what they did”.

The Ultimate Seminar will return in 2022, to keep up to date with future announcements, follow the Ultimate Seminar’s social channels.

The Ultimate Seminar is sponsored by Atlantic Records, Warner Records, Parlophone Records,  Live Nation, YMU, Island Records Virgin Music, Capitol Records, EMI Records, Columbia Records, Hipgnosis Songs, RCA, Ministry of Sound, WEAV Music, PPL, YouTube Music, BMI, BMG, Tik Tok, The Orchard, University of West London, Dawbell, PRS and Your Army.

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