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“The CD is essentially a coaster now”…. And More SF MusicTech Highlights

This week we made our first appearance at the 12th Annual SF MusicTech Summit.

With over 30 panels featuring speakers from every corner of the music industry, a startup demo show and copious networking parties, it was an inspiring and thought-provoking day from start to finish.

“If computers in the future can compose music that’s 1000% better than anything you’ll find yourself because it knows your brain, how will it change the music sharing experience?”

Without a doubt, the award for the day’s most colorful debate goes to the How We Will Experience Music in the Future panel featuring Malthe Sigurdsson (Rdio), Dave Allen (North), and Max Weisel (RelativeWave). The panelists engaged in a heated discussion about the future of not just the music industry, but the artists, bands, and sounds we listen to. When Weisel, an app developer, and digital artist, suggested future music discovery technologies could incorporate Pandora-like algorithms that go one step further by creating and composing personalized sounds for our ears based on our individual tastes in music, several members of the audience became participants and jumped in to voice their opinions.

Discovery is the intersection of technology and human emotion.”

The Music Discovery Panel featured Ethan Kaplan (Live Nation Labs), Shane Tobin (The Echo Nest), Jon Irwin (Rhapsody), Eric Bieschke (Pandora) and Katie McMahon (SoundHound). They discussed the various technologies and services at our disposal for finding and discovering new music; a topic that made its way into several conversations throughout the day. It was interesting the experts’ take on music discovery as a process that transcends international borders due to technology but is halted due to legal and copyright issues.

“Content is king.”

Nick Adler (VP Business Development, The Cashmere Agency / Stampede), Nic Adler (The Roxy / Adler Integrated), Jaime Robinson (Pereira & O’Dell), Will Hoover (GoPro) and moderator David Haynes (SoundCloud) of the Music, Brands and Technology panel told us about the innovative new methods artists are embracing to connect with their fans. They explained that the influx of interactive content, such as behind the scenes concert video or an artist’s Instagram stream, has brought a new dynamic to fan/artist relationship. Granting fans this intimate a level of access to their favorite musicians, has given rise to branded content and, in turn, opened a previously unexplored marketing channel.

Streamers stream, buyers buy, stealers f*@!%ing steal.”

The Digital Marketing panel, with Jeff Watson (Warner Bros Records), Jeff Rabhan (The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music), Asya Shein (Fusicology), and moderator Bryan Calhoun (The Blueprint Group) hosted an intelligent debate about the varying ways in which music is marketed to users based on how they acquire their music. It seemed that every attendee at the Summit had their own opinion about buying vs. streaming vs. stealing, and it was interesting to hear a debate about whether these different methods of acquisition help or hinder one another.

“A good festival is a 360-degree experience.”

The What Other Genres Can Learn From EDM included John Boyle (Insomniac), Philip Blaine (Philip Blaine Presents / Robot Picnic), Josh Gabriel (Gabriel & Dresden / Mixman Technologies) and moderator Alexis Giles (DJZ). Much of the discussion topics stemmed from the unique relationship between EDM artists and their fans. Moderator Alexis Giles explained that by embracing technology, the EDM genre has given way to a unique revenue model. Essentially, by distributing free online content, artists are been able to collect valuable user data which in turn allows them to effectively reach a targeted audience that is most willing to spend money on their favorite artists.

Throughout the day, we overheard several people comment on how impressed they were with the caliber of the event and we couldn’t agree more. SF MusicTech co-founders Brian and Shoshanna Zisk really hit this one out of the park. We loved exchanging ideas and “geeking” with our peers in the music and tech worlds.

Whether you’re a vinyl lover, a digital music composer, or believe the future of music lies in computer- generated sounds, you can’t deny the power of music to spark debate and emotion among us, a community of music lovers.

We’ll be counting down the days until next year’s Summit, and in the meantime, we look forward to continuing our conversations with many of you at SXSW in just two weeks! (No rest for the weary, eh?).

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