WMG’s CEO Reveals Winning Strategy For Dominating The Dance Music Scene
Warner Music Group is well-positioned to dominate the booming dance music industry, according to Max Lousada, CEO of Recorded Music at WMG. In a keynote interview at the International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza, Spain, he revealed the company’s dance music strategy and discussed the importance of research and data-driven decisions, specialist A&R, and immersing oneself in the culture.
As part of its strategy, WMG has made several key moves in the dance music space. In 2017, the company acquired Spinnin’ Records, a prominent Netherlands-born dance music company, in a nine-figure deal. In June 2021, Warner purchased the entire recordings catalog of French DJ/producer David Guetta for over $100 million and signed a deal with him for future recordings. The label also works with global superstars such as Tiesto and Skrillex, as well as stars in their home markets like Ofenbach in France and Joel Corry in the UK, and rising stars like Fred Again and Eliza Rose.
Lousada explained that dance and electronic music is still undervalued as a genre, and that WMG has a history of investing in independent labels. He noted that traditional investors often go for well-known acts they understand, but that they don’t always understand the value of independent labels like Spinnin’ Records.
In addition to working with established and rising talent, WMG has also launched new label groups to expand its presence in the dance music industry. In the US, the company launched Warner Records’ first-ever flagship electronic dance music label called Major Recordings, and in March 2022, veteran dance music executive Patrick Moxey launched a new label group and signed a global strategic alliance with WMG for two key record labels: Payday Records and Helix Records. In 2021, Warner Music Asia launched a Pan-Asian dance label called Whet Records.
Lousada stressed the importance of specialist A&R in modern music, and emphasized the need for A&R executives to be fully immersed in the culture. He believes that being a generalist is no longer sufficient in today’s music industry, and that A&R executives need to be specialists with a deep understanding of the culture and the music.
According to the new IMS Business Report 2023 by MIDiA Research’s Mark Mulligan, the dance music business has grown 34% YoY and is now valued at $11.3 billion. With its acquisitions, strategic partnerships, and focus on specialist A&R and immersing itself in the culture, WMG is well-positioned to continue leading the dance music industry in the years to come.
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