Rising star Brittney Spencer and top music executives talk about how they survived and even thrived during the pandemic


There is no doubt that the last 20 months of the pandemic have been devastating. But despite all that has been lost, musicians and the industry around them have found countless innovative and inspiring ways to survive, cope, adapt and even thrive. It was monumentally difficult, but there is a lot to learn and be inspired by their stories.

For last month’s Mondo NYC conference, Variety Deputy Music Editor Jem Aswad was invited to host a ‘State of the Music Industry‘ panel 20 months ago, and has recruited four people from different sectors of the music industry. company – an artist, agent, director and music publishing director – to talk about their experiences.

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The results were so remarkable that Mondo and the participants kindly allowed Variety to post an edited version of the conversation under this week’s “Strictly Business” headline. Panelists include:

* Brittney Spencer, a burgeoning country singer-songwriter – CBS This Morning called her “Nashville’s newest star” – who saw her career grow almost entirely during the pandemic. She talks about the intimate bond she has forged with her fans and how weird and bittersweet it has been to see so many of her dreams come true during the lockdown. She released her critically acclaimed EP “Compassion” late last year, is currently touring with Jason Isbell and will be launching her own “In a Perfect World” tour in December.

* Lucy Dickins, the London-based co-head of music for talent agency William Morris Endeavor – who works with Adele, Mumford & Sons and many more – explains how she and her company have found new ways not not only to keep their artists and clients working, but also how the staff and the company have adapted and found new opportunities for themselves and for the company.

* Binta Niambi Brown – artistic director, lawyer, general manager of Keep Cool Receords distributed by RCA and founder of Omalilley Projects – explains how her artists not only stayed motivated but managed to thrive during the pandemic – and also how she and them embraced the Black Lives Matter Events of Spring and Summer 2020.

* Kristina Hedrick, vice president of business development at Sony Music Publishing, explained how this business managed to skyrocket during the pandemic as the cessation of touring led not only to a boom in songwriting, but to a boom in the value of songs and song catalogs.

Variety thank you to all four of you and Mondo NYC for allowing us to reproduce this remarkable and inspiring conversation. Go here to learn more about Mondo NYC.

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