Major Labels

EMI Shifts Focus From Sales To Fan Relationships

It almost sounds like EMI has been listening to Seth Godin, Gerd Leonhard and Ian Rogers or maybe reading Hypebot. The artist to fan relationship is taking center stage as the label group looks beyond music sales to find new ways to turn a profit.

Cd_broken is being retooled as a hub for fans and to gather information. “What you’ll see is less of a focus on sales of individual tracks
or the conceptual equivalent of little round shiny disks, and more
about helping artists learn things about their fan group that they
can’t directly see … ," new EMI digital president Douglas Merrill said in a recent Billboard interview. "The value of a label going forward is to be the
platform to connect artists and fans and teach each more about the

Licensing and sponsorship revenues will also contribute. According to the UK’s Guardian,  EMI has hired Rafael McDonnell as VP of brand partnerships, licensing and synchronization for the UK and Ireland. (see the press release of annoucement after the jump below) The former Coke executive helped launched the now shuttered  A North American counterpart has not yet been named.

Press Release:

EMI Music has appointed Rafael McDonnell to the new role of vice president – brand partnerships, licensing and synchronization for the UK and Ireland. Reporting to Cynthia Sexton, EMI Music’s Los Angeles-based executive vice president of global brand partnerships, licensing and synchronization, McDonnell will be responsible for creating partnerships with major brands and agencies in the UK and driving revenues from the growing areas of music licensing and synchronization. He takes up his new role on 8 December.

McDonnell has spent the last three years as founder and managing director of RED Entertainment Marketing, a marketing consultancy specializing in music and entertainment, working with brands such as Coca-Cola. Prior to establishing RED, he held a variety of senior marketing positions within some of the biggest consumer brand organizations including Pepsico, where he was marketing manager for Walkers Crisps, and Coca-Cola where he was head of marketing activation and strategic marketing alliances. While at Coca-Cola, in 2004 he established and ran, one of Europe’s first major legal music download services.

Cynthia Sexton said: “At EMI Music we are focused on delivering the most compelling products to consumers and business partners and the most powerful services to our artists. Rafael’s background, experience and love of music make him the ideal person to lead our UK team managing brand partnerships, licensing and synchronization business and I’m very pleased he’s joining us.”

Rafael McDonnell said: “As music consumption continues to grow around the world and more and more brands and other commercial partners want to work with music, EMI’s fantastic roster of artists and catalog make it ideally placed to serve this growing demand. It’s an exciting time for the music industry and I’m looking forward to joining the great team at EMI Music.”

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