Music labels have depended on radio airplay for so long, they have never learned the art of effective and relevant marketing, a scenario that has contributed to the current industry slump.

That is the damning message from Terry McBride, co-founder/CEO of Canada's Nettwerk Music Group and author of the recently-published report "Meet the Millennials," which identifies and analyses the habits of young music fans born around the turn of the millennium.

"The record companies and the management companies should understand their audience," he says. "They should know what their audience do from when they wake up to when they go to bed. That is the marketing process."

McBride was speaking to Billboard.biz just before his arrival in London to host "Face to Face With the Millennials," an industry forum taking place July 17 at London's Imagination Gallery.

"The industry used to think that way in the past, but it was an add-on to the radio media. They based their strategies around radio, press coverage, and (point-of-sale) advertising. Everything else came after that," he added.

"But radio and traditional media have been thrown out the door," he continues. "Consumers now ignore the radio and print media, and they no longer go into stores."

McBride advised that the industry should now raise the bar of their previously neglected marketing skills. "The bastard child that used to be kept outside the door should now be made to feel welcome. All that lifestyle marketing is now much more relevant."

Several label and industry executives will also be among the discussion groups at Thursday's industry gathering, including former recording artist-turned-radio DJ Tom Robinson, who will interview a group of young consumers from the millennial age demographic.

"Face to Face With the Millennials" is organized by Music Tank, the five-year old University of Westminster think tank that sponsored the "Meet the Millennials" report.

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