Our exclusive #30yearsvodafone gig was MC'd by none other than superstar DJ and tastemaker Charlie Sloth. What does Charlie think of the way that music and mobile are interlinked? Read on to find out...
Did you catch our exclusive RUN-DMC and Raleigh Ritchie gig? The superstars were in London to help us celebrate #30yearsVodafone, and Charlie Sloth was in the house as our Master of Ceremonies.
It was a top night, and you can relive the whole thing on the Vodafone UK YouTube channel now. Before the gig kicked off, there was just enough time for a quick chat with Charlie. We grilled him about how he thinks the worlds of music and mobile are connected, and got his views on how the latter has changed the former forever…
A level playing field
“The biggest change to the music industry in the last three decades has to be the mobile phone,” Charlie tells us. “It’s changed the way we consume content, whether it be music, music videos, movies or news – everything is consumed on a mobile phone these days, and that’s only going to increase in the next few years. Mobile phones have the biggest share of those markets now, and youngsters consume all of their content through mobile devices. It’s changed the game.”
But is all that change a good thing? Charlie thinks so, even if it is causing a shakeup in the way the big record companies and artists do business…
“A lot of people in the industry have been really scared of this new territory over the last few years,” he says, “and of how to monetise it, because platforms like Spotify and YouTube have changed it all – artists can get money from these platforms now , and there are new business models popping up constantly.
“Mobile phones have put the music game on its head, and technology has given artists a lot more presence.”
“Before all that, if you didn’t have a marketing budget behind you, or a record label, it was hard to get out there. But now it’s more of a level playing field, where you can be in your bedroom with no budget creating stuff, and if it’s good then people will listen. Mobile phones have put the music game on its head, and technology has given artists a lot more presence.” For Charlie, that also means that it’s never been easier to discover new songs, or for him to engage with his fans:
“I live my life through my phone,” he says, “and I think that the way we share content through these devices now is incredible. Whether it’s through platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Vine, or Instagram, the way we share music and video has almost gone back to word of mouth – people are really talking about stuff that excites them. The power has come back to the people; it’s the people who can dictate what they want to see and hear. Without the mobile phone and the technology that’s available to us, that wouldn’t be the case.”
Ahead of the game
It’s pretty clear that Charlie is a huge fan of mobile tech and its influence on the music scene. But it goes way beyond just using the apps at hand – he’s deeply ingrained in tech, and always has been, considering himself something of a mobile pioneer:
“I knew five years ago that mobile phones were going to be the way people would be consuming content,” he tells us. “I made a mobile version of my website five years ago, before anyone else was even switching on to the idea. I just knew we’d be sharing content on mobile.”
And that insight has helped Charlie get to where he is today:
“Even back then I wanted links to my YouTube videos as texts, and no one knew why. People were saying “Text…Links… to YouTube?” But I knew it would work, and as a result I had the most viewed hip hop show in the world, with two million views a week. It was because I was engaging with an audience that caught onto it and appreciated it. I grew up listening to legendary broadcasters who never had the access to their audience in the ways that I’ve got today. They would have to wait for a letter to arrive to get feedback from the show.
“Whereas today, before the gig, I’ve been constantly engaging with fans and my audience. I’m always online, and always talking with my audience,” he says as our time runs out, “because I can. My career wouldn’t be where it’s at today if it wasn’t for technology like the mobile phone.”
More exclusive access… You can watch the whole #30yearsVodafone gig here. To find out what Raleigh Ritchie thinks of mobile’s infiltration into music, click here. And be sure to check out Charlie’s Snapchat profile (ImCharlieSloth) for a ream of backstage videos from the big day.