PopShack CEO Conrad Withey talks celebs on social media
Conrad Withey is the CEO of social music company, PopShack, one of our wonderful Cybersmile partners. After working in senior management at powerhouse film companies including Momentum and Universal, he spent seven years as President of Warner Music Entertainment before taking the role of CEO at PopShack in 2014.
Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse?
I think it is a blessing. Not only does it allow friends and family to stay in touch, share moments and connect with one another but it is also proving to be an incredible force for change – both political and across a wide range of industries.
That said it needs to be used responsibly. Our business engages with a wide range of your performers and we are quick to help train them in responsible use of social networks.
After previously being President of Warner Music Entertainment, you have been very well positioned to see the online entertainment industry grow and develop. Do you think ‘Online Entertainment’ is replacing ‘real world’ entertainment or does it give conventional celebrities extra opportunities?
Online entertainment will never replace ‘real world’ entertainment – What it is doing is breaking down barriers and changing the rules. Content is unbundling – whether it is the end of albums as streaming begins to dominate or the on demand nature of TV in the Netflix and Amazon Prime era. Online is also allowing aspiring new talent to reach an audience and demonstrate their potential. We spend an enormous amount of time scanning social platforms for emerging talent and it’s incredible to see the breadth of talent emerging through their own endeavours. We live in very exciting times.
How important is it now for celebrities to have an active social media presence?
I think if you are an established personality with a career and reputation built on a strong body of work it doesn’t matter at all. But if you are part of the new generation of talent – be it music, film, TV, fashion, whatever – it is crucial. It is your social currency that you will leverage to both promote you work and prove your value to brands and advertisers. It probably doesn’t mean you need to be Kendal Jenner level active on socials – but you will need a strong presence.
So, tell us more about Popshack (Instrumental). What do you do?
Instrumental is a social music company. We are the world’s biggest artist discovery and development business and we are focused on a new generation of music talent emerging on social platforms. Our goal is to connect artists via our network and then help them develop and grow their careers and ambitions. We drive revenue through partnerships with brands and advertisers who are keen to reach the fans our artists engage through their music and other content. We have 250 artist partnerships and so 250 unique content channels that can help brands connect with a global audience of music fans.
What made Popshack decide to form a partnership with Cybersmile?
Cybersmile is a charity we wholeheartedly support. As the leading music network for native online artists and influencers the charity’s work is extremely relevant to their careers and fan bases and we wanted to help promote positive digital citizenship – this seemed like the perfect way to do it.
What advice would you give to somebody wanting to develop a career as an internet performer/celebrity?
Work hard! The fact that it is easy to get started on social platforms – especially YouTube – doesn’t make success easier to find. It takes hard work, dedication, passion and professionalism to find, engage and build an audience. It’s not a hobby!
What does the future hold for Popshack and the Cybersmile partnership?
There are so many areas where our two organisations crossover and we look forward to a range of exciting collaborations. Our artists will be involved in spreading the good work and we’re looking to incorporate Cybersmile into future live events. We’re very proud of the partnership.
Do you have a favourite positive quote/mantra?
As my mother always said ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’.
It might make YouTube comments less interesting to read though!
Thanks, Conrad! If you enjoyed this Q&A and want to join the conversation, tweet us @CybersmileHQ!