It’s all about that influence when it comes to building brand awareness, consumer engagement, fans and loyalty in today’s digital world. And, the key to long term success is the influencer and brand partnership. This theory was ever present last week at the New York Media Festival (NYME), hosted by Digital Media Wire. Leading influencers, executives, marketers, content creators and developers from the entertainment, media, and technology sectors converged here at the intersection of innovation and influence to disrupt, discuss, educate and network about the future in their respective spaces


Three, one-day summits focused on the future of digital music, gaming and television. A key underlying theme across all three summits was clearly that it’s all about the influence and meaningful consumer experiences to build brand recognition, engagement and loyalty.

The power of the influencer in our digital world is omnipotent. As a standalone tool, the right influencer can be the catalyst that stimulates and drives all other marketing and engagement tools for a band or brand. When utilized and optimized as part of an integrated digital marketing campaign, it fires on all fronts.

Brands are realizing that the size of the audience is not what necessarily gets results; rather it’s the quality of the content produced and the ability of the influencer to thread brands into real, original stories. To drive this premise home, here are some key takeaways and highlights from the digital music summit — which can be applied to whichever space you are in.

The Future of Digital Music Summit: The Power of Influence panel

Left to right: Maurice Bernstein, Fiona Bloom, Jedd Katrancha and Ryan Barkan on The Power of Influence in the Digital Music Industry

Left to right: Maurice Bernstein, Fiona Bloom, Jedd Katrancha and Ryan Barkan on The Power of Influence in the Digital Music Industry

tackled how best to use influencers to gain users through the help of community managers, content creators and social media marketers. Moderated by music industry maven and influencer Fiona Bloom of The Bloom Effect, this panel of digital influencers, social media, marketing and brand experts discussed the strategies and techniques used by bands and brands to gain and retain fans and followers and how the right influencers can provide a boost to marketing strategies on their social platforms. The panel of heavy hitters included Droga5’s Ryan Barkan, Giant Step’s Maurice Bernstein and Downtown Music Publishing’s Jedd Katrancha.

Consumer-generated content reaches a significantly larger audience than official branded media on social platforms. Aligning brands and bands with social influencers can be a real game-changer, especially for up-and-coming and older bands. The potential for an artist to reach an audience of millions through a retweet by an influencer can jumpstart or relaunch a career.

“When it comes to creating influence, great craft – whether cinematic or musical – is paramount to our clients and business.”  — Ryan Barkan, music superviser, Droga5


Under Armour, Rule Yourself, Michael Phelps

The aftermath of Under Armour’s ad, Rule Yourself, Michael Phelps brilliantly demonstrates what happens when a brand recognizes how pivotal music is to delivering its intended message. Droga5, the agency charged with the copy and music licensing understood that these were vital key elements necessary in creating the emotional impact. And did it ever. Indie Rock band The Kills’ 2011 song, “The Last Goodbye” perfectly fit the scenes of Michael Phelps and his last Olympic swims — both lyrically and visually.  The ad became the second most shared Olympics ad for 2016, and the fifth most shared Olympics spot of all time. 

Downsides to influencer marketing? All three panelists seem to agree that in order for brands and bands to truly understand the power and ROI they are receiving, a better standardized measurement system needs to be put in place. For now, it’s a grab bag of which key metrics each brand and band value as important to their goal as likes, shares and chats.

The key to long term success for the influencer and brand partnership? The consensus at NYME’s influencer panels was that brands need to let influencers have the freedom to explore, which means they should give up the control. If they believe in their product and embrace the power of the influencer, the influencers will do the job for them, communicating their messages in a way that connect with their audience. –Abbe Sparks is Socially Sparked