Job of the Month #17: Head Of Sacem Lab / Innovation

New episode of our Job of the Month series to discover the many facets of the music industry. This month, Perrine Guyomard talks about her career path, which has been guided by her passion for innovation.

Each month, IDOL presents a job in the music industry. Or more than a job, a person! Because behind the same job title, there are significant differences from one structure to another. Each person can define the scope of his or her job according to his or her career path, qualities and skills! Meet Perrine Guyomard, who has come a long way since she started at IDOL. She tells us about her journey from Key Account Manager to Head of Sacem Lab / Innovation.

First and foremost, can you present Sacem?

Sacem is the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music in France. It’s the organization that supports music creators, i.e. songwriters, composers and publishers, and acts as their mouthpiece. Sacem also represents dubbing and subtitling writers, and writer-directors.

Sacem is one of the world’s leading not-for-profit collective rights management organizations. Its mission is to collect royalties for distribution to its 224,470 members. Sacem pays out a minimum of 85% of what it collects, as transparently as possible. To do this, it positions itself as a trusted partner for those who use music, who broadcast it in every aspect: whether on radio, TV, live, in stores… In addition to its missions of collecting and redistributing royalties, Sacem supports its members throughout their careers via its cultural social engagement with aid tailored to each repertoire. In 2023, it supported 3,657 artistic projects in France and abroad.

What about Sacem Lab?

This is Sacem’s Innovation team, which has three missions: to anticipate, experiment and share. Anticipate new trends and new technologies, and their impact on copyright, music, musical creation and music consumption.

Experiment with POCs – proofs of concept – over very short periods of time to see whether a new technology brings value to the business. If it does, we will pass it on to other teams who will be responsible for scaling it up. Our aim with these tests is to respond to the problems of Sacem’s other business lines: we will listen to their needs in order to support them with innovation methodologies.

Share, in order to be a trusted player and a benchmark for music tech, through articles. But we also go out and meet the creators, at panels in France and abroad, to forge links.

What does a Head of Innovation do?

I define and steer the innovation strategy. We have a corporate strategy defined by our management, supported by the Executive Committee and in agreement with the Board of Directors. I’m responsible for implementing this strategy, but also for structuring and industrializing innovation, which means finding processes and measuring key success factors in order to develop them. I’m also responsible for formalizing and communicating across the board, i.e. with the whole company, and orchestrating the team while involving all the stakeholders.

It’s important to have a good understanding of how the Information Systems Department works and how it’s organized in agile mode, so as to respect its constraints. We work on projects that last a maximum of 3 months, and the key is to maintain collaboration with the business departments. MusicStrat is an example of a project that was carried out as a POC in the team before I arrived. It’s a service that allows you to protect a creation on the blockchain. This simple, inexpensive product, which is accessible to everyone, is now being marketed by the development team.

How is your daily work organized?

I manage a team of 6 people, a mix of technology project managers/developers and more product manager profiles. I try to know how much involvement I should have in the projects, so that I can stand back and work out the strategy.

I have a lot of meetings with the various business lines and departments, but also with external parties, such as students or start-ups, because we’re involved in open innovation. I also get my hands dirty: I don’t think you can work on innovation without knowing how it works! To talk about blockchain, you have to have created a wallet, bought crypto… In any case, personally I need something concrete.

Can you tell us a little about your career path?

My first internship was at SFR Music at the time of ringtones, downloads and the first deals with streaming platforms. After that I went to London to do an internship at Universal as assistant key account coordinator in the digital department. Then I saw an offer come in for a certain IDOL company, and I joined as a key account manager.

What appealed to me was working with independent artists and being in a small company where you quickly learn to swim in the deep end. I’ve always been interested in technology, and IDOL is a very technophile company. Developers are very important, with the ability to adapt products according to business needs, which I found interesting.

After four years, I moved to Warner Music France to become a key account manager dedicated to Deezer. It was an opportunity to relearn my job in a highly structured team, working with other key accounts. Warner Music France then created a cross-functional digital department. One thing led to another and I was given the opportunity to head up the Innovation team. On my return from maternity leave, I became Director of Business Development and Innovation. That meant I was even closer to start-ups and new technologies.

Every year, I attended the conference at South by Southwest, and that’s where I met my current manager, who I found exciting and challenging. After 12 years with distributors/producers, on the master side, I accepted his job offer, to discover the copyright side of things. It’s exciting to explore a new facet of the music industry.

What are the qualities required for your position?

The first quality is undoubtedly curiosity and a thirst for learning. Secondly, you need to be able to quickly develop your skills in an unfamiliar business context, and know how to interact with both technical and non-technical people. It’s essential to adapt what you say to the person you’re talking to. For example, it is vital that decision-makers understand the projects in order to be able to guarantee the human and financial resources needed to carry them out.

You need to be able to analyze, teach, be open and listen – never impose anything – while remaining rigorous, autonomous and proactive. Finally, you have to be able to let go, accept that you only have a partial knowledge of the information, and trust the teams to bring the projects to a successful conclusion.

What do you like about your job?

What I like is coming into something I don’t know, discovering and learning, putting things in place to add value.

But what I like most is working across the board, which allows me to find out what my colleagues are doing and how they work, so that I can develop projects while respecting everyone’s issues. People are very important to me. That’s why I also like to deliver complete, collaborative projects.

What's the strangest task you've done in your career?

In 2018, we started talking about NFTs. At the time, we were talking about crypto-kitty: people were collecting cat cards. They were putting up to thousands of dollars into cards representing cats that were more or less rare, and playing with them, exchanging them… To understand, I created a wallet for myself, but I thought that music fans would never follow the KYC identification procedure to recover their NFT and transfer their crypto-currency… But the fact is that six years later, NFTs are well and truly present in music, and I checked recently, I still have my crypto-kitty!

What's your connection with IDOL?

It’s all in the family! It’s my first permanent contract… When I arrived, I was the 12th employee, we were still in Strasbourg-Saint-Denis. It was a real life experience. And for his farewell party – after thirteen years! – Tarafa managed to get practically all of us to come back, which says a lot!

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