Off The Record : Sébastien Perrier

30th September 2019

World - ibis team

Off The Record : Sébastien Perrier
« The music industry has had a hugely transitional decade, moving from the difficult early 2000s when online piracy devastated its income, to the current era when growing streaming platforms like Spotify are establishing a new structure. The major record labels like Sony Music have evolved over these changing times, but their key role - the signing and promotion of new talent - remains at their core. »

We spoke to Sebastian Perrier, Head of Communications & Brand Partnerships for Sony Music France, to learn about the work that major record labels do, and how brand partnerships have become a key new part of their work.


What work goes on behind the scenes between signing a band and launching them?


Between signing a band to a major label and launching them, it’s important to involve our different departments to ensure the band is going to be successful. There are four key areas:


·        A&R - the team involved in the artist’s musical direction

·        Marketing - the team working with the artist’s image and concept

·        Promotion - the team promoting the artist through different channels, both online and offline

·        Distribution - the team sharing music through digital platforms such as streaming channels, but also physical CDs and vinyl to record shops


There are also other key parties, such as Business Affairs and Legal, who protect the artist’s interests, and as Head of Communication & Brand Partnerships at Sony Music in France, I’m here to find new ways to promote and expand an artist’s career through different brand campaigns and partnerships.


As an example of how many people can be involved, the hugely successful international artist Jain has a team of around 80 to 90 people to support her musical projects, from artistic to logistics aspects.


With so much music out there now, how do you generate the buzz to get people’s attention?


We don’t get people’s attention the same way we used to. In terms of music, it’s obviously important to create and release innovative sounds that connect with an audience. However, the concept and image are more important than ever before when launching an artist; social media and music videos have a tremendous power to attract the public and generate major online interest. These are tools that major record labels can use to maximize an artist’s success, but there is no magic recipe and success often happens randomly; it’s about being in the right place and moment with the right concept.


How many acts does Sony Music in France tend to sign across a year and is this increasing over the years?


Sony Music in France has between 120 and 130 national acts, and this is expected to rise to 140-150 artists by the end of the year, mostly urban artists. We’ve seen that Sony Music Entertainment is expanding its musical repertoire and growing in the music industry, mostly in the US but followed in Europe. Therefore, this allows us to expand our teams and skills to launch new artists.


What is your proudest achievement with one of your acts?

My latest and proudest achievement is the partnership between Jain and FIFA. She was the brand ambassador for the FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament and the official artist for the Opening Ceremony, which enhanced her promotion abroad. This partnership was successful as the event complemented Jain’s values as she shares feminist messages in her songs.


For new artists, is there one key bit of advice you could give them to help attract the right record label?


The main piece of advice I can give them is that music is above all a human relationship – it’s important to develop and build a real connection with the people you’re planning to collaborate with, before rushing ahead and thinking of contracts and business. A record label is a partner and at Sony Music, we promote trust and transparency when we collaborate with artists. Otherwise, it’s difficult to develop a project and make it successful.