Stacey Mitsopulos colour WARM

Interview: Stacey Mitsopulos

Stacey Mitsopulos was recently promoted to Director of Legal & Business Affairs and Music Partnerships at the British company 7digital. 7digital is a B2B company that provides digital music solutions to its clients, who include everyone from record labels and retailers to radio stations and telcosWe talked to Stacey about how she ended up in the music industry, the solutions 7digital provides for its clients and what she will be doing in her new role at the company. 

How did you find your way into the music industry?

I’ve always been a lover of music. When I was working in broadcasting in Canada, I heard about a music lawyer who was representing bands and securing good deals both in Canada and the U.S. I spent a few months dropping off CDs at his office, CDs of bands that I liked and thought he should represent, and convinced him to hire me. We later co-founded a music-focused law firm together, and I ended up representing the band whose CD I dropped off first – a band called The Constantines who signed to Sub Pop. I had been looking for the chance to combine my legal know-how and my passion for music into a fulfilling career, and to work with creative, interesting people. The music industry has certainly been the place to make that happen.

How did you end up at 7digital and what was your initial position when first joining?

Before joining 7digital, I was working in London for a music video broadcaster. I wanted to move into the digital music space, and 7digital was on my radar at that time. The impression I had was that 7digital was innovative and brought together music and technology in an exciting way, so the opportunity piqued my interest. I first joined the team’s London HQ early in 2018 as Head of Legal and Business Affairs, and then recently moved into my current position as part of the senior management team.

Could you describe what 7digital does and your current position? 

7digital is a b2b company providing end-to-end digital music solutions. We use our technical infrastructure and extensive global rights to create music and radio services for leading brands. In addition, we also offer award-winning radio production services, editorial strategy and one of the industry’s best content management and reporting systems. We think of what we do as “amplifying the world’s music experiences”.

I’m now Director of Legal & Business Affairs and Music Partnerships, which means that I am responsible for the strategy and operation of those critical areas across the business. The senior management team here is experienced and dedicated to the growth and success of the company. Having acquired 2 of our last European competitors over the last 18 months, we have the best technology in place and a great team to move forward with, which makes for an exciting future and place to work!

What kind of professional background(s) do the people on the 7digital team have? 

We have a fantastic team here who have come to us via different routes. Just in the legal and music partnerships corner of the office, there are talented people who came to 7digital from roles at the major labels, or in the digital space, and we have lawyers who worked in music and intellectual property in tech for years. In the wider team, there are talented developers, producers of radio and multimedia content, journalists, product leads, salespeople, and many more.

What kind of partners do you work with? 

Our customers are concentrated in a few key verticals such as retail, telecoms, broadcast radio, or connected devices which encompasses automotive and in-flight entertainment as well as smart speakers, wearables and so on. MediaMarktSaturn, the European electronics retailer, is one of our biggest customers and we’re working with them to build music services in 15 markets.

The Danish telco TDC is another client of ours – TDC has provided premium-tier customers with a digital music service for over a decade now and its YouSee Musik service has an impressive share of the market. In addition, the major labels are all customers of ours – we’re not just making their catalogue available to the various music services we power for other companies, we’re also building and running services specifically for them. Beyond our paying customers, we also have a broad network of partners within music and technology with whom we work to deliver digital music solutions.

What’s the process when someone comes to you for your help with f.ex licensing, content etc?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and we need to ascertain what each client needs first. However, in general terms, we either work to bring partners under our current licensing arrangements with a broad range of rights holders, or we offer consultancy to help them get them the best deal possible. We work with the major labels, independents, publishers, and PROs on a daily basis. We have a trusted relationship with the music industry and an ability to expand to new territories on short lead times, so we can move quickly to support new services and companies looking to expand globally.

What kind of opportunities/prospects are there for ‘non-music’ companies to enter the music service game? 

A lot of our clients are non-music companies, actually. They are brands who know the value of music to consumers – whether they are telcos bundling music into contracts (like TDC), or retailers incorporating music services into their loyalty schemes. We know that music is ubiquitous in appeal and can have a real benefit to businesses: it can provide a point of difference from competitors, enhance their brand, capture precious consumer data and increase user retention. Those companies need a supplier with access to an extensive music industry catalogue and a technology platform to deliver it, licensed anywhere in the world to any device. That’s where we come in! And we love what we do.

Learn more about 7digital here