Posts Tagged 'SanFran MusicTech Summit'

SanFran MusicTech Summit 4: Singalongs, Video Interviews, and Twitter Gossip

What started out as a seemingly humble local gathering of music and tech geeks has – thanks to its visionary founder, Brian Zisk, gained momentum and recognition and is now the premier event of its kind. For more on speakers/panels from the last three SanFran MusicTech summits, click here. To read my review of any of those three, see below:

SanFran MusicTech Summit 1: Rockstars, Lawyers, Nerds and Me
SanFran MusicTech Summit 2: Guestlist Wish, Artist Activism, and Label Survival
SanFran MusicTech Summit 3: Albums Die, Social Media Kicks Ass, and Songs Find a Home

Now, on to summit #4.

In the second review above, I put in a request for some sort of attendee list (using the Web 2.0 Expo’s use of crowdvine as an example), thinking that this would facilitate more effective networking. Let’s be honest, tech people aren’t always the best networkers. Well thank you Brian for listening to the suggestion! This event saw the introduction of SFMT’s very own crowdvine page! I’m curious to know whether people found it useful?

Speaking of suggestions, musician Chris Stroffolino (also featured in the video below) thinks there is room for a panel on the “fostering of connections between the already established live music scenes in the Bay Area, and the major labels and web-distribution networks.” Perhaps we’ll see this topic discussed further in the future.

Like a nice red wine, this conference is clearly getting better with age. With its shiny new reputation and rapt audience, SFMT attracts a pleasing blend of big names in the music industry, Silicon Valley thought leaders, social media celebrities, and starving musicians. Although, as attendee Kwan Booth points out, the conference overall was noticeably “light skinned and testosterone heavy.” I’m not sure how the demographic breakdown compared to past SFMTs, but it is certainly a good point.

Let’s make a collective effort to change that, shall we? All you minority and female music tech geeks out there: get on it! Next time we want to see you there.

Early in the day, the tone was set when musician Matt Morris, the first artist off of Justin Timberlake’s label, Tennman Records, asked the audience to stop twittering, put down their iPhones and close their laptops. And then proceeded to lead an audience singalong, which he promised to record and post on YouTube. Ah, music 2.0… Here it is:

That whole episode got me thinking about how busy we all are engaging with each other through technology all the time. So much so that we forget to engage with each other in real life. There we were, a room full of music fanatics watching a powerful new voice perform, and some of us were so busy writing witty tweets about the performance or sharing interesting facts about the performer, that we had to be reminded by the performer himself to pay attention!

Matt Morris also got some good face time in the NBC coverage of the event.

Whereas last time I focused on capturing the look and feel of the event through pictures, this time I went with video. All of the following footage was captured using one of those ghetto-fabulous flip minos and edited in iMovie.

Intead of reviewing topics covered, panelist cat fights, and the like, I want to provide a more haphazard organic insight into the experience. Here are a handful of tweets (search #sfmusictech on Twitter Search for more) that tell the story.

donald: Just posted my favorite takeaways from #sfmusictech http://is.gd/BxPF 8:41 PM May 19th

MattMorris: My SanFran trip: met some cool techies (#sfmusictech), ate some good chowder, & had a Twitter name-change (@MattMorrisFeed to @MattMorris). 7:44 AM May 20th

SoulMajestic: Attended #sfmusictech conference in San Francisco. Digital is ruling. Must dig our music into the social networks. 10:46 AM May 20th

hansveld: If you’re in a band or in artist management you really need to check out bandize.com and bandmetrics.com. Very useful services. #sfmusictech 10:24 PM May 18th

KISSmyBLAKarts: Is this why Spears signed to Pepsi @Boothism tip:coke does background checks on every member of every band before they license. #sfmusictech 5:45 PM May 18th

denverdan4life: The gloves are coming out. I hope we see a fist fight over the fact that labels slept at the wheel for almost 10 yrs. #sfmusictech 5:16 PM May 18th

Boothism: true story: preparation H wanted to license “Ring of Fire” for commercial. Fail. #sfmusictech 5:11 PM May 18th

SocialSound1982: “The music industry is the world’s biggest law firm” – Jim Griffin #sfmusictech 4:59 PM May 18th

Thanks to Brian and Shoshana for another great event and I look forward to seeing you all at the next one!

SanFran MusicTech Summit 3: Albums Die, Social Media Kicks Ass, and Songs Find a Home

For those of us in the music tech space, attending an industry event can be a great opportunity for fruitful networking, a way to keep up with emerging technologies, and a place to learn from brilliant people. Or it can be boring and kinda pointless if not well run. Luckily for us, Brian Zisk has a knack for recruiting excellent panelists, solid sponsors, and exciting new startups to form the foundation of his SanFran MusicTech Summit.

Having attended both the first and second summits as guests, this time around MixMatchMusic was given a presentation slot. Booyah!

An obvious draw for this particular summit was featured speaker Stephan Jenkins, of Third Eye Blind, who had some poignant thoughts on the future of the music industry and the role (or lack thereof) of the album therein.

I heard mixed reviews of the panels overall, but found the ones I attended to be fairly compelling. In “Social Networks: Marketing & Entertainment” there was a heavy emphasis on the power of peer recommendation. As consumers continue to tune out traditional media such as radio and billboards they place more value on social media. When we were asked how many of us thought social networks will influence this year’s election, basically every hand in the room went up. Other topics included microblogging, the death of banners, and viral marketing. Cool takeaway for musicians: Use Pinger to group fans by area code and notify them of a show in their area by voicemail.

In “Building Social Networks around Music”, Rachel Masters of Ning noted that if fans are engaged they are going to buy more. She also said that every musician should have a community manager. This is a great tip. Musicians, or someone they delegate the task to ideally (so the musician can focus on making great music), should be using social media tools as much as possible to engage fans – by listening and responding to those fans and monitoring what is going on in their community and the culture that their music is a part of.

The best part of this summit was the “Special Presentations”. If you’re an emerging technology junkie you’ll understand. A host of interesting startups gave brief demos of their services and were met with a healthy mix of encouragement and skepticism from the audience. The most exciting one was Bandcamp (.mu not .com) – “the best home on the web for your band’s music”.

Rather than spending a grip of cash on a fancy band website for your music or having songs on a ton of profiles on other social networks like myspace, last.fm, and facebook, you can have it all in one place. They will be building out additional features later, but right now they focus on providing the following: ownership (your own design, logo, URL etc), speed and reliability, viral distribution, stats (who are your fans) and being “your fifth (very nerdy) Beatle” that handles everything in the background. And – it’s free. As far as selling your music you have a choice: give it away for free, set a price, or let your fans set the price. Pretty freakin solid.

Also noteworthy were Apture, which helps you “add multimedia to your site in one click”, and JamLegend (currently in private beta), the free online version of Guitar Hero. Speaking of guitars, near the end of the day, a Gibson and some other goodies were raffled off.

Overall, it was another solid event (go Brian!). The bay area locals who attend seem to be getting more and more well acquainted and there are always some guests from afar to spice things up. Then there is the cocktail party, where the tech nerds, rock stars, marketers, and their respective fans mingle. Always an interesting mix…

View more pics here.

Upcoming: SanFran MusicTech Summit 10.20.08

The SanFran MusicTech Summit is making yet another appearance next month (Oct 20th). If you missed the first two summits (which we covered here and here) and are anywhere near the bay area, I highly suggest you get yourself a ticket. (Or at least follow the live Twitter stream if you can’t be there in person).

Photo by Samantha Murphy

In their own words, the summit strives to “bring 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.” Whether you want to learn about the evolving music industry from the people who are most entrenched in it, introduce your product or business to the audience that most needs it, or just be a part of the (r)evolution that is taking place, it’s a great experience.

Between the intense panels (some of which involve heated discussions analyzing complex issues and some of which simply celebrate the exciting innovations at the intersection of music and technology), the relaxed and stimulating networking opportunities, and the insane amount of intellectual and creative juices that are flowing, there is much to look forward to. Brian Zisk continues to impress with his increasingly popular and well-run event that is more relevant now than ever before.

So, what are you waiting for? Go buy your tickets here.

The SanFran MusicTech Summit: Rockstars, Lawyers, Nerds and Me

Last week, a few of us attended the SanFran MusicTech Summit to worship learn from some of the innovative leaders in our rapidly evolving and still young(ish) industry. After nearly breaking off my big toe during a confused jog through Japantown, I limped into Hotel Kabuki armed and ready for note-taking, question-asking, and hand-shaking.

The group I found there was a rather predictable (yet lovable) mix of demographics including your standard socially awkward tech geeks (my favorite), the token I-was-born-for-networking (and my-Rolodex-is-bigger-than-yours) schmoozers, some badass rocker chicks turned marketing gurus, the young and fearless CEO/CTO/COO/founders of countless startups, the smartypants intellectual property attorneys (bless their souls – I’d rather be forced to listen to Mariah Carey* on repeat for a year while locked in a windowless room than be in their shoes), career musicians and producers, and a smattering of randoms. Each hour we had the choice of attending one of two panels or general schmoozing in the lobby.
* To be fair, I think she has an amazing voice, I just hate her music. A lot.

Halfway through one of the panels I noticed someone on their laptop twittering. Of course! I thought. Twitter! This is the perfect time to twitter. (Until then, I had only used the service a few times to say mundane things like “sore from working out” or “yay iPhones” or some such nonsense, and when you only have two people following you that seems pretty pointless). Suddenly it was starting to sink in how Twitter can be a very powerful tool. I quickly logged on and found the SFMusicTech live feed which, to my pleasant surprise, was filled with commentary ranging from concise updates about the panels (helpful for those not at the summit or just in the other room) to snarky comments about the speakers. It felt like a cross between real-time news coverage and anonymous chatroom blather.

When I twittered later in the day noting that most of the food on the snack table was yellow, someone promptly reiterated my observation and wondered if there was a hidden symbolism we were missing. Later one of the panelists messaged me directly and thanked me for quoting her earlier. That’s when I suddenly felt like part of some sort of cozy little invisible family. Want to join my twitter family? Follow me here.

Here are some highlights from the day:

  • During the “Future of Radio” panel – major trends include personalization and recommendation (think Pandora and Last.fm) and mobility (internet radio integrated into your car stereo, tabletop devices, on your phone, in your stereo etc).
  • During the “Creator’s Perspective on Technology” panel – Creeper Lagoon‘s Sharky Laguana talked about a cool service he created called MixPal. MixPal allows you to upload your music, choose the price, place a “MixLink” anywhere online (website, blog, MySpace, whatever) and you keep almost all the proceeds (they get 10% commission). Look at how their pricing compares to iTunes and Snocap. Since they’re non-exclusive you can use them in addition to any other service you use. MixPal is simple, straightforward and all about letting the musician decide.
  • Also during “Creator’s Perspective…” – panel moderator and summit co-producer Shoshana Zisk commented that now in the music tech industry “People don’t have to learn the language to speak music”, which resonated with me because that is very much one of the things that MixMatchMusic is facilitating – allowing non-musicians and music fans to participate in the creative process too.
  • During the “Social Networking and Music” panel – Ali Partovi, CEO of iLike, noted that they DO compete with MySpace Music. He recommended that artists keep a MySpace presence, but also use iLike because they will find far more fans on the latter.* Also interesting – apparently, people who use iLike purchase 250% more music online than people who don’t! I bet the ringtone companies love them… Toward the end of the panel, Ali asked with a note of exasperation in his voice why there isn’t just a “buy this” button anywhere and everywhere that you find music?? Excellent point. Anyone know if this is a realistic expectation in the future?

*Are you a musician who has a profile on both iLike and MySpace (and/or other sites)? I’d be curious to hear where you feel you’ve established a larger fan base. Leave a comment or email me.

  • During the “Business Models That Work…and Those That Don’t” panel – moderator Andrew Stess, CEO of Music IP, mused that someone should build a choose-your-own-price service for concert tickets a la Radiohead. I so agree. In the meantime, Inticketing, one of the summit sponsors, has a great online ticketing system and event management solution (not to mention a green business) with clients like Burning Man, the Great American Music Hall (where our buddy Scott recently performed), Yoshi’s, and Victor Wooten.

After the panels ended, we were unleashed into the boozing and networking portion of the event, which also included a performance by singer-songwriter Samantha Murphy. Though I had to run off to my own weekly musical endeavor, in the hour or so I was there I met some interesting people. One musician/student I was chatting with about MMM emailed me later to say he was delighted to see that I had blogged about the Bubblegum Sequencer. Turns out he is one of the Berkeley students that made it! Small world.

Overall, I found the Summit to be helpful and inspiring. What struck me was how nobody really knows where the music industry (especially the online music industry) is going. Licensing, copyright, distribution…these areas are rapidly being dismantled and slowly rebuilt without any concrete blueprint. Or vague guideline for that matter. All I know is that I’m excited to be riding the wave that is technology and I can’t wait to see what kind of distant exotic shore it dumps us on.

Social media, which wikipedia says uses “the ‘wisdom of crowds’ to connect information in a collaborative manner” is redefining the way that we interact with technology, one another, and our environment. I think this is especially true for those of us who are building something online (a fan base, a website, a blog, a clientèle, an identity) or those of us who simply enjoy being a prosumer/producer/content creator/participant (via blogging, twittering, digging, social networking, posting YouTube videos etc) rather than just a consumer. Passivity is so…well, passè. But it’s not just a matter of getting involved. Once you’re involved, you have to participate. And regularly. Let’s face it – no one is going to read a blog that you update once a year.

Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity put it best when she said: “New media is like an endless garden – you can’t just plant it and walk away”.


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