Ken Gibbs is the Global Head, Social Media Marketing at Spotify, member of the Adweek Social Media Council and co-host of The Art of Storytelling at Soho House. In a stellar career working with leading brands like Viacom, Amazon and AOL, Ken has become one of the most sought after senior digital marketing executives in the entertainment and creative industries.
Boston, USA, born Ken Gibbs is a senior digital marketing executive with more than 20 years of experience.
Gibbs started his career in 2000 in a company called africana.com as an entertainment editor.Founded by Harvard professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Princeton University professor Dr. Anthony Appiah, the Africana.com news and feature Web site on African-American life and culture. There, Gibbs was a witness of the dot com bubble and the rapid digital transformation taking place in the entertainment industry, moving from periodic publications to daily ones and the increasing importance of specific entertainment products to drive growth in that industry.
After moving to New York, Ken Gibbs’ career really took off throughout the entertainment industry, be it visual, audio, and written. He took on the role of Programming Director of the Graphic division at AOL Time Warner in 2004, became the Lead Programming Director at Radio One in 2007 and as Site Development Director/Real Black Network Director at Essence Magazine, a role that he performed until 2009.
From there, Ken Gibbs’ name was attached to that of ViacomCBS, moving between different divisions and platforms of the company. He took the role of Editor at Large at MTV Networks for 2 years, worked as Vice President, Social Media Marketing Strategy at Viacom subsidiary BET and became the Vice President Digital Video and Social Content at ViacomCBS.
After leaving the company, Ken Gibbs moved to Amazon as Head of Series Social in 2020 and finally became the Global Head, Social Media Marketing at Spotify in 2021.
Working with global leading platforms and brands like AOL, Viacom, Amazon and now Spotify, Ken Gibbs has developed himself as a forward-thinking executive with 20+ years of industry expertise and delivering leading global strategies and solutions. Along his extensive career, he has effectively learned how to manage teams remotely, target marketing, content creation, and developed effective social media marketing strategies.
Ken is skilled in managing people and processes to ensure measurable growth and impact, creating a culture of engagement and high performance, and crafting comprehensive plans with a wide communication and facilitation versatility.
Gibbs is highly recognized by the industry as a respected visionary and change-agent leading companies through the complexities of bridging marketing with technological solutions and identifying innovative ways to increase audience and engagement.
In a recent interview with Dinis Guarda, Ken Gibbs shared his insights on key areas of the entertainment and creative industries and the digital acceleration taking place in new platforms.
Artists need to understand the new digital era to get the most out of it
“I think what artists need to understand today is that while all of the tools that the platforms make available allow for an unprecedented amount of independence, and also, you know, generation of revenue, the other side is that choosing to forego that independent paths means that you won’t have the aid of, quite frankly, professionals like myself, right? Like that’s what the machine provides you. Some of the biggest artists today that have come up through the traditional channels, they didn’t have to learn about any of this. They have PR managers, marketing managers, product managers; if you choose to go the independent route, those are all of the roles that you’re taking on, along with artists, and there are complexities within those roles, there is a reason why people who do those roles get paid salaries. So I do think that artists need to be just honest with themselves about their ability and capacity to take on so much of what the machine has traditionally done in the past and I also think it’s key to understand at what point you can no longer do it yourself.”
Platforms don’t control the artists, they offer opportunities
“At a certain point you’ve got to have a conversation about your business being an artist, right, and your job being to produce music, so if you’re handling the business of music, at what point will that impact your ability to produce the product that is that music as well. And just its overall impact on your creative energy, and what have you. But I would also argue that it’s not the platforms that are controlling the artists, right? The other side of this is, the platform doesn’t know you, the platform doesn’t know your mother, right, in the way that old school record label manager might come and try to woo you to be on their label as opposed to another. The platforms offer opportunities and the platforms also, almost encourage, multi-platform presence.”
Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of openbusinesscouncil.org, tradersdna.com, hedgethink.com, and writes regularly for intelligenthq.com, socialmediacouncil.eu. Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.