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SF MusicTech Summit notes

Posted by haroldcarr on December 9, 2009 at 4:28 PM PST


I attended the SF MusicTech Summit.  Here are my notes.

Sun Startup Essentials is a sponsor


You've got 7 seconds to impress your audience
Getting first impression is easy.
Getting second impression is hard
Music is still created like it was 1999

9:20 - 10:20 AM

Devices, Deals & Music

Darryl Ballantyne - LyricFind, President & CEO
        rights and content for song lyrics; own iphone app too

Jeff Sass - Myxer, VP of Business Development
        mobile entertainment, artists services

Tim O'Brien - Tapulous, Head of Business Development
        iPhone app dev, titles: tapdancerevenge, taptapmetallica

Roy Kosuge - Heatwave, Business Development Consultant
        platinum life multiplayer online game, isamjackson

Moderator: Dave Ulmer - Sr. Director Multimedia, Motorola
        games, music, video

How do you make money:
- Darryl : license with publishers - share revenue;
  ad supported; subscription; user does not pay
  Used by shazam, pandora, rhapsody,
- Jeff: adds supported; premium ala cart

Go direct to audience:
- 90,000 variation in mobile devices
Work with carrier:
- they take most of revenue
- go to phone developer
What changed this year:
- more like PC business - anyone can market to anybody
Changes how to make money
- new mobile phone/customer every 4 seconds

- taptaprevenge : online tap-to-the-beat game
- games for artists
- online game rooms; buy virtual goods for others; drop bombs on them

Farmville/CafeWorld: 60 million people: forces you to come back to page

6 billion dollars - what was spent on virtual goods purchased in china in 2009

Social listening: who is listening to this same song?
                  what else do they listen to?

- mobile music:
  more than listening
  interacting with artist
  ring tones
  who else is fan?
  direct connection with artist

Music consumption is higher than ever.

No longer about selling a circular piece of plastic.
No longer about selling a single MP3.
Buy track, games, ringtones...
Sell a week with hanging out with artists.

Democratization: all ideas available to ANY artist.

It is not feasible for LyricFinder (and other services) to work with each
artist.  Therefore, artist should be part of a collective.
- FHA - publishing
- AMG and other data services
- Ioda - licensing deals
- the orchard - licensing deals
- topspin - dig distr
- tunecore - dig distr
- sound exchange - satellite radio deals
- ascap
- bmi

Responsibility lies with artist, manager, label

10:30-11:30 AM    

Getting to Popular

David Katznelson - Birdman Recording Group, President
Zoe Keating - Cellist
        Makes living playing cello. 1.3 million twitter followers
Matt Goldberg -, Co-founder
Emily White - Whitesmith Entertainment, Co-founder
Davis Powers - Current TV, VP of Music Programming
        Also manager of band.
Moderator: Francis Ten - West Indian Girl / Lusso Lab
        Bass player in L.A.  Done the business side.

Popular musicians are making money.
How do you get there?

What is popular enough?
- not having a day job
- artists/bands most happy when they can tour and fill their venues
- sustainable career

Sustainable (Retirement plan):
- your email list
- not giving away your rights

How to get an act popular?
- play live (not just pro tools)
- go to shows and meet people
- find people talking about band (good or bad); make direct contact

Zoe / building a music career is multi-prong strategy
- introduce your music to key players
- work with people better known than you
- radiolab - they used her music
- she worked in tech (info architect) in 90s
- do as much as possible in as many spheres as possible

Get fundamentals in place - look like a pro - be ready
- Find influential fans
- Clean up website
- MySpace presence
- Facebook page
- Put yourself in position of a fan

What is most meaningful interaction with fans?
- Zoe: always changing; different for different fans
- some only on twitter, email, myspace, ...

Greatest marketing tool: live show

Email list is critical
- Have GoogleVoice number on stage during performance
- Have email address on stage during performance

Do NOT hang out with band backstage after concert - mix with your fans!

2 types of artists
- those that need a personal to manage their online presence
- those that DO IT themselves

Maintain your rights (license them but do NOT give them away).

Zoe has sold 30,000 albums herself.

Video stream your shows (

Play other venues (like a tech conference)

Read _The Tipping Point_

Dedicated fans can do work for you (e.g., handle your web site)

Need to work with press.

- Artists should only spend 2 hours a day doing social networking
- Need to stay focused on creative parts
- Zoe: do it in chunks
- Francis: use as much time as you can
- David: have others do it for you

What are your favorite tools
- bbedit (zoe)
- tunecore (distribution)
- google tools (analytics, alerts, calendar)
- tweetbeeps (like google alerts for twitter)
- fanbridge
- topspin
- ioda
- bandize
- bandmetrics
- message boards
- cash music
- nimbit
- wordpress

How to do home recording
- Zoe: uses one neumann mic.
- Francis: concentrate on mixing and mastering
- Zoe: have one person you trust to listen before manufacturing

Find a few key fans

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Music Metadata

Rob Kaye - MusicBrainz, Founder & Lead Developer
Maureen Droney - Sr Executive Director, Producers & Engineers Wing, The Recording Academy
Ron Suarez - LoudFeed, CEO & President
Stephen White - Vice President, Product and Content Management
Moderator: Michael Papish - Media Unbound, CEO & Co-Founder

- What artists, releases, instruments, labels
- Concise amount of data - not everything
- Fan entered - peer review
- Each piece has unique identifiers
- creative commons - open data
- crowdsourcing

Maureen: why is metadata useful
- initially iTunes missing liner notes - who did it
- metadata is how you get paid

Ron: how to use metadata to make money
- artist control content/metadata
- tour/concert information
- photo, liner notes
- if one photo use this one, if three use these, 30 second spots
- artist/label/manager enter info

- gracenote
- aggregate and curate data
- factual content (who, what)
- descriptional content (mood, tempo, genre)

- ISRC : flaw: not-unique: self-assigned so duplicate labels
       : many releases do not have ISRC labels
- is ISRC salvageable?
       : not a technical problem
       : social problem
- gracenote and musicbrainz each have own ID solution

Universal IDS are good

How do we get paid?
How do we archive?
How do we organize?

Sound Exchange for online radio
- How do you say what you played?  Needs identifier.
- Stations are sending text (word, pdf) descriptions - not IDs

Who owns the data
- musicbrainz thinks facts are open
- lyrics and cover art are not open
- gracenote has licensed the data

- Standardization of metadata
- Get people to use standard
- Gracenote: structure of DB is copyrighted but not data in the DB


Ron Suarex is about to open source their codebase

Elvis is "The Cool Cat" in Japan

What language do you "return" to a user in Switzerland where they speak many.

CMX - Connected Music Experience - how to associated assets with recording

If you are a creator and you have uploaded your metadata to provider
(e.g, CD Baby, Ioda) they then populate your metadata to their partners.

2:00 - 3:00 PM

The Use and Creation of APIs

Andy Gadiel - JamBase, Founder & President
        Concert list website
Brenden Mulligan- Artist Data, President/Founder
        Portal to push data in - they fan it out
Lee Martin - Silva Artist Management, New Media Overload
        Beastie BOys mgr; online programming
Jason Fenberg
        On Target Media - digital media marketing
Moderator: Gabe Benveniste - SonicLiving, Founder / CEO
        Concert list website

- Just did Beck's new website
- Every piece of content is abstracted and available via API
- Still have website that uses info but available everywhere.
  E.G.,: reviews on youtube can show on your site
- Why reinvent flickr when you can leverage it

- Data coming in is hard.
- Redundant, hard-to find or non-existent input sources
- Asked concert promoters to give data.  
- People starting to realize marketing potential.
- Piece of data that expires (history useful but key in upcoming)
- Seen people build better UIs on top of their APIs
- data stream provider
- event mgr now
- moving toward profile mgr
- one entry for bands
- end user understand widgets
- web developers building site understand power of API

Shareability, Portability, Scalability

- license data
- buy tickets
- promotions
- click throughs

Destination versus Funnel

- make artist life easier - not fan facing
- useful tools for bands
- APIs on top of APIs
- which do you want: the cover of rolling stone or techcrunch?

- what data do we need?
- important: how to differentiate front end / back end use
- big: ability to have artists engage audience
- big change in last 2 years: services can be built and used quickly

playdar API

Lee : dream API
- give artist/track/etc ID.
- get streaming music api

source of data
- fans, labels, artist, APIs, scraping
- base of operation: artist web site: homebase
- but want it to spread to other places
- can't control but can orchestrate
- post once, publish everywhere

- it's the overlaps that are interesting
- APIs provide the possibility for overlaps

Do authorization walls make data mashups hard?

Build your website on top of your API - you are the first user.

Twitter sells data from their API

Facebook gets people back to their site via API

What do you give away?  What do you charge for?

3:30 - 4:30 PM


Ethan Jacks - Silverwood Partners
        boutique investment bank
        previously VC corporate lawyer
        cofounded Environmental Technology
Larry Marcus - Walden VC
        Enterprise and consumer
        Want to see baked and demonstratable technology with happy users
        1-2 million
        Director of Pandora
Mika Salmi - Angel Investor
Mark Sugarman - MHS Capital
        Boutique fund - $35 million
        50% enterprise / 50% consumer
        0.5-2.5 million
        as low as $125K
        Early investor in iBand/iLike
Moderator: Jeff Yasuda - CEO/Founder - previously a VC
        Life is too short not to pursue what you are passionate about.
        It is a wild time for startups in the music space.

- best in world underlying technology
- management
- ideas are a dime-a-dozen
- the results you have been able to generate
- I help bring it to market

- referrals are useful
- big part of bet is management
- LinkedIn helps to surmise if there is a connection
- Management, market and business model
- Being able to quickly articulate what your business is.

- Milestone profiles
- What part of team are you missing
- Legal profile (IP rich?)

Do you want to live with this person and have them on your board?

Do you want to have them to help resolve conflicts with your partner?

Need to have a thick skin.

Be pleasantly persistent (don't take NO for an answer).

Low Recent Exits
- Apple got LaLa
- MySpace got imeem

Small and scrappy is good.

Series C:$500K, B:$1M, A:$2M

Fairly early on you need to test revenue models.
- Break even fairly quickly.
- Raise small amount of capital to remain more in control

It is a great time for investing.
Costs are low.
$2M is the new $4M in both directions.
Capital is more expensive.

How much are founders paying themselves?

Investors want to see founders with some skin in the game.

Big companies coming in:

Orange - streaming

Ethan: Get dressed for success to get bought out.

Mark: differs: have independent value.

Large companies do not innovate quickly.

Ad agencies going after demographic that identify with certain music.

Assume you are not going to raise capital.

Gone are the days you are going to build something and figure out how
to monetize later.

Bootstrap as long as you can.
Get to profitability.
Then get money if you need it.

What about getting help building mgmt team rather than getting money.
- No deal - VCs invest.
- You can have a team with gaps.

What do you recommend for the artist?
- Don't quit you day job.
- It is harder and harder to get paid directly through music.
- Sell gear or services.
- Making music as artist is toughest one to make money.

4:45 - 5:40 PM

Social Networking: The Future For Musicians

Dave Allen - Pampelmoose / Fight / Gang of Four, Founding Member
Tim Quirk - Rhapsody, VP of Programming
Sebastian Keefe - Family of the Year, Musician
Anthony Batt - BUZZMEDIA, Founder & Chief Creative Officer
David Hyman - MOG, Founder / CEO
Moderator: Theda Sandiford - Theda Dotcom LLC, President

Get your own URL.
Don't give your top link to MySpace.
Your website should come up first in a google search.
Link Facebook, Twitter to your blog.
If you don't own message then your message owns you.
The band is a brand.  Handle carefully.
You need to be cognizant of how this works.
Then do it yourself or find someone else to do it for you.
Would you time be better spent practicing/writing or networking?
Actively engage your "friends".
Don't bombard with email (e.g., "go to my website").
Send real content.

5:40 - 6:00 PM

Stephan Jenkins - lead singer of Third Eye Blind

Contests to have people join our website.
Music is about identity.

A new generation of fans found their music, stole it and gave it to friends.

Keep yourself primarily engaged in your core passion.

Play live.  Meet people.  Make direct connections.

Website is a piece of art and communication.
Build a community around that.

Village Church Yard

6:00 - 8:00 PM

Sakura    Room

Cocktail Party!
Sponsored by: LyricFind / Wente Vineyards

Special visual presentation by: Marc Rubenstein, Pig Light Show DJ / Music by Cez


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