laus Schwartau (Noisey - Vice / Editor-In-Chief, Germany) was a speaker at Reeperbahn Festival 2017 as part of the session “Social Gap Versus Value Gap - Music Industries 4.0 and the Imbalance Of Payments“.
Reeperbahn Festival: What has been the most important issue for the music (and/or entertainment) world in 2017 and what has been the best strategy to deal with it?
Claus Schwartau: Do-it-yourself continued to be one of the big themes in the pop music field in 2017. The major corporations, it seems, are becoming more and more sluggish – it’s in the online indie world that you find the real sensations, especially in German rap. Performing without a big record deal, even without management, publisher, etc., at the biggest European hip-hop festival: that’s totally doable in 2017. As a music medium, it was important in 2017 to always be on the ball – and fast. Our YouTube/Instagram/Facebook feed does the best promotion. The topics that big and major labels approach us with figure into our work on any given day only about 20 per cent of the time.
Reeperbahn Festival: What development/s will shape the music (and/or entertainment) business in 2018 and how do you think this will influence our world?
Claus Schwartau: Music streaming will be expanded, moving away from pure playlist pushing toward a fuller, more comprehensive experience. What’s more, festivals and other major offline events will continue to gain because they are the last outposts where you can really physically experience music.
Reeperbahn Festival: Which problem within the music (and/or entertainment) world should be solved by the time we convene again at the next Reeperbahn Festival Conference?
Claus Schwartau: The problem of dishonestly in music marketing. The barrage of empty words and clichés – we reached the height of this long ago. New momentum, new ideas are being communicated to the fans by the artists directly, using their own original language and from their own viewpoints. As soon as big agencies and corporations have a go at this, get involved, it becomes stale, boring, and ordinary. At least for those who are really interested in music.
Reeperbahn Festival: What’s your favourite media format (print, online, radio, etc.) for music journalism? Which format will be the most relevant in the future – and why?
Claus Schwartau: My favourite format is a fusion of online article plus video – or radio plus video. This form of presentation lets me learn the most about an artist or a subject. Alongside the text, video also ensures that I get an idea of what makes a particular artist tick and the kind of energy he/she delivers. The artist becomes more tangible. As far as I’m concerned, this kind of hybrid form still has great potential.
Reeperbahn Festival: How should – and how will – music journalism monetise itself in the future?
Claus Schwartau: Hard to say. I have nothing against financing through advertising. But here too, you need to pay attention to who you are – and who you’re not – climbing on board with. From a public service point of view I’d like to see more courage to experiment.