EMI Music: “New media asset management approaches require large-scale transformational change”

Richard Piercy of EMI Music

Richard Piercy of EMI Music

Richard Piercy, EVP transformation & digital supply chain at major record label EMI Music, on the broadcast industry’s pioneering of digital licensing models, the key features of a successful media asset management system, and how to implement it.

How have digital distribution patterns affected the music industry, and what parallels do you see for the video/broadcast industry?

The shifting pattern of consumer consumption from physical to digital is well documented, and its implications have been absorbed by content owners at varying speeds over the last ten years.

The music industry has been at the vanguard of this transition to digital download models, and has broken much ground over the years.

In parallel, the broadcast sector has pioneered digital licensing models – and now there is increased commonality in the business models and thus the digital asset management challenges across all sectors of the media industry.

There is much that we can learn from each other as an industry group and much that we can do to jointly determine the solutions to the challenges we face.

The challenge for media businesses is to drive the most effective commercialisation of the intellectual property that they represent – to effectively capture and manage intellectual property in order to optimise commercial opportunity from the creative output.

Fractured business processes and underlying systems have historically mitigated against this, with “digital” being implemented as a crude overlay on legacy “physical” processes and assets being poorly described, fragmented and kept in isolation from key data that would make them commercially actionable.

What features are key to a successful media asset management system?

Delivering effective commercialisation of Intellectual Property requires four key ingredients:

  • Integrated, end-to-end business processes which enable content to flow smoothly and deliver control and visibility to both internal and external (creative) stakeholders
  • A content management strategy that is led or informed by opportunity, ensuring that the right content or intellectual property (IP) is generated according to the market opportunities and commercial uses
  • An asset management strategy that reflects manages the broad range of IP that is generated and that is genuinely asset-focused and not product-focused
  • Lastly, a codified connection needs to be established between assets and the rights which govern their usage – not only does this facilitate efficient operational processes, but more importantly it facilitates much more effective commercialisation across a wide range of distribution channels.

What advice would you give to those looking to build a new media asset management system?

Successful adoption of the new way of working requires a significant business process change and bold decisions, including:

  • Working with external creative agencies (e.g. studios, post production houses, photographers) to agree changes to the manner in which creative assets are delivered and described
  • Changing both the mindset and the business processes internally from a siloed product focus (based around assets, data and artwork) to a single holistic asset-led business process
  • Determining a commercially driven approach to deal with the “long tail” of existing assets and data
  • Redesigning the downstream business processes and commercial channels to optimise the business impact of the new approach

Consequently it is clear that the successful implementation of new media asset management (MAM) approaches requires large-scale transformational change – across function, across geography and across internal and external stakeholders.

To deliver the commercial benefits upon which large-scale MAM projects are predicated, they need sponsorship at the highest level, as well as an unerring focus on organisational change management.

Richard will be speaking at the Digital Asset Management World Summit event taking place in Amsterdam on 23-24 October. For more information and to register, please visit

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