Posts Tagged downloadable music

SF MusicTech Summit Hits The Spot

IMG_0097Fourth time’s a charm? Maybe. The 2009 SF MusicTech Summit really hit the spot this year. Organizers Brian and Shoshana Zisk brought together a who’s who of music industry executives, managers, musicians, promoters and lawyers, to discuss the current state of the industry and how it should move forward. Topics covered included technology – tools artists and labels can use for marketing, promotion and measurement, and monetization – new models and legal issues related to how music will be delivered and paid for in the future.

There has never been more opportunity for musicians to take control of their careers. Recording and career promoting technologies are now in the hands of the artist rather than the record label. At the same time, there is lots of competition out there among artists. Someone in the band also needs to wear the hat of a ‘creative director’ for it’s often superlative creative marketing across new platforms (i.e. MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that helps gain attention for an artist and his/her music and can make the difference and help elevate music among its intended audiences.

There was a terrific mid-day performance by songwriter/singer Matt Morris, whose new album is produced by Justin Timberlake. My friend and triple-Grammy winning record producer / hit-maker Narada Michael Walden showed up at the post-conference reception to promote Let The Sunshine In, a benefit concert taking place on May 25th in San Francisco, featuring Sting, Earl Klugh, Bob Weir, Dave Grisman, and many others.

This year’s’ event was standing room only…and I suggested to Brian that it might be time for a larger venue. One more thing…there was nobody on the floor I met who was bummed out about the economy. People were excited and optimistic.

(PIC: S. Neil Vineberg, Narada Michael Walden, Brian Zisk, )

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The Collision of Technology and PR, Music

19178163For a tech geek like me, rarely does a search for information, sharing of ideas, and conversation take place without technology – a laptop, desktop, iPhone, or desk phone – as an intermediary. And through social networking tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, AIM, Twitter and Jaiku, I’m in a virtual and constant presence with hundreds of key influencers and friends operating in my areas of interest. For technology — computers, software, the Internet and social networking — has touched my life and penetrated my consciousness.

I enjoy it. It’s good for my business, and it satisfies my need to grow and know. But it’s mere technology, not Nirvana. And I go elsewhere for peace of mind. I ride my bike, feel and appreciate nature, embrace a healthful diet and explore Spirit. I also play and write music that expresses my heart. And I meditate daily and seek my Soul. The latter comprise my personal satisfaction and make it possible for me to handle the former.

But make no mistake about it – technology has changed me and the industries I play in – like public relations and music, especially. This week, the San Francisco MusicTech Summit, organized by my friend, Brian Zisk, brought together the best and brightest developers in the Music/Technology Space, along with the musicians, entrepreneurial business people, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. They met to discuss the evolving music/business/technology ecosystem in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

What was interesting about the conversation was the apparent gap between technology affecting the music industry and the ability of most traditional musicians to use it to their advantage. Social media expert Brian Solis talked about the collision between technology and public relations suggesting that new tech tools are changing the practice of PR and practitioners need to evolve their social media toolset. I agree. I think there’s been a similar collision between technology and music.

Technology has been creeping into the music business for decades. It really gained speed in the late 90s with the advent of digitized music, and, for better or worse, I helped make it happen — working with pioneers of the MP3 movement to help them elevate awareness of their technology and drive adoption. Today, MP3 is the dominant digital music technology, thanks largely to startups like MP3.com, eMusic and MusicMatch. Add to that the power of Steve Jobs and Apple who changed the face of music distribution and sales, with iTunes and iPods.

Brian’s summit brought together hundreds of people and I especially enjoyed the panel that explored the collision of tech and music, led by my friend David Katznelson, of the Birdman Recording Group. Music has taken a back seat to the technology, record companies are no longer the intermediaries between the artist and audience, and if you want to succeed, you better know how to work the tech tools and social networks to your advantage.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of Mashable, was also on site connecting with the digital side of the music business as his brilliant and popular blog is expanding beyond coverage of social web apps coverage into music and other diverse areas of interest.

Some folks at the intersection of music and tech have it down, like my friends, Jonny Kaps and Nat Hays, at +1. They tap the power of technology to their advantage. They have a strong social media methodology for promoting their bands like The Kooks, The Heavy, Kate Nash, and others. They’ve avoided the collision and monetized the tools.

Others are still trying to figure it out, hence a great opportunity for Brian to expand his conference in SF and in major markets across the country.

Ah, the weekend is almost here, and through the chaos I can hear the faint sound of seagulls down at the Marina calling me to take a bike ride, perhaps over the Golden Gate Bridge. Gotta leave tech and engage my soul. See you Monday.

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