Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Howard-Spink Panelist On Piracy at SXSW Interactive

(Sam Howard-Spink, left, speaks at SXSW Interactive; Photo credit: Phil Harvey)

On March 14th, Clinical Assistant Professor Sam Howard-Spink traveled to Austin, Texas as a featured panelist at the annual SXSW Interactive Festival.  Each year the conference features “compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technologies… and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new digital works, video games, and innovative ideas the international community has to offer.”

Professor Howard-Spink presented as part of the panel “Neither Moguls nor Pirates: Grey Area Music Distribution,” which addressed digital copyright law, and media and music industry piracy claims. The panel’s description reads:

The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.

In the course of the discussion, Professor Howard-Spink drew on his extensive research and expertise on international music industries, emerging networks and hybrid business models, and international intellectual property policies.

He also recently conitrbuted to FanBridge‘s guest blog post series “How to Leverage Email and Social Media at Large Events/Festivals,” in which he stressed artists to focus on putting on the best performances possible and to not simply rely on clever marketing to get people’s attention.

For more information on the panel, visit write-ups from Center for Social Media, iShed, and Piracy Network.

Grad Student Report: Glassnote Founder Daniel Glass speaks about Label Identity, Artist Focus, and Career Building

(MUBG Program Director Catherine Moore with Daniel Glass at NYU)
Music Business grad student Maressa Levy writes this guest post for VELOCITY.

Daniel Glass stood in front of a room of music industry hopefuls in late February, urging students to “Absorb life, learn life, volunteer for everything and start small!”
The founder of independent music company Glassnote Entertainment Group, Glass offered his input to NYU’s Music Business Masters Candidates as part of their Professional Development Sequence, a program created to help students learn from and connect with those working in the industry.
Glass founded Glassnote Entertainment Group in 2007, building the full service music company on a three-year-plan with the hope that “artists would start coming to the label and acting as word-of-mouth advertisers for the company’s services.”
The plan worked, and Glassnote has since discovered and launched a number of successful artists, including West London natives Mumford & Sons, who released their debut album, Sigh No More, in 2010. Last month the album went to #2 on the Billboard charts, #1 on iTunes and they were the #1 trending topic on Twitter after their Grammy debut performance with music legend Bob Dylan.
Despite his success, Glass prefers to keep his team small and focus on building an identity for his company, which few labels have managed to maintain. “I based my career on doing things differently, but sticking with the artist,” Glass said. “I try to create a haven for artists where they trust each other and want to work together.”
Glass also encouraged students to accept change and innovation, reasoning that although the “media will change, the drive for quality music will sustain.”
Stemming from his passion for music and a fierce drive to set himself apart from his peers, Glass has managed to use his commitment to artist development and emerging technologies to launch a thriving company. Above all, Glass emphasized the necessity of immersing oneself in the music lifestyle, stating, “If you choose to be in music, live the life of culture.”

Grad Student Report: Takeaways from the Digital Music Forum East

(Ned Sherman – CEO, Digital Media Wire, moderates while Eric Klinker of BitTorrent defends his company.)

Music Business grad student Peter Schwinge writes this guest post for VELOCITY.

On Thursday February 24, 2011, Ned Sherman and his team at Digital Media Wire rounded up a diverse group of some of the most cutting-edge minds throughout the industry to get together for a full day at the Digital Music Forum East. The 350+ attendees (many first-timers) were treated to speakers ranging from start-ups, venture capitalists, entertainment companies, leading brands, and other digital media gurus on the state of the industry, monetization, and innovative/forward-thinking concepts.

With the plethora of information to digest in one day it is comparable to drinking from a fire hydrant. Instead of regurgitating a list of what happened, I would like to bullet out some key themes and discussions in a way for you to think about. More specifically… to instigate a discussion on current trends, concepts, concerns and how we as a fragmented industry can work in conjunction to create stability and sustainability.

Consumers are making out!
– Russ Crupnick (NPD Group): Is the consumer taking advantage of us?
– People want to share music
      – Use music to brand themselves
      – Distributive Discovery
      – They want playlists to see what friends are playing
– “Only Suckers pay for Downloads”
– Big music companies upset people

Streaming Services: Are they working?
– David Bakula (Nielsen/Soundscan): “People play what they don’t buy, and buy what they don’t play”
– In the US, only 5% subscribe to a music service
– No single service that is appealing – Consumers want an experience

Venture Capitalists:
– Music still not a hot area but they are coming back to diversify their portfolios (expectations of 4x-5x ROI opposed to the 20x of yesteryear)
– Investors shy away from anything requiring licensing
– How can publishers make it easier for services to license?

– Music vs Technology = Us vs. Them mentality
– Prevalent attitude that technology companies are stealing the music business
– Technology was inevitable, but nobody knew what to do with it
– Ted Cohen (TAG Strategic): Easy to put a tax line item on cable bill

Bands & Brands:
– Andrew Katz (Pepsi-Cola): “TV Still matters…big time!”
– Where is the void? Where can you have deep engagements?
– Ticket sales, are we relegated to enticing buyers with the need to give away albums with the purchase of a concert ticket?

Social Networks and Music: What’s Next?:
– Today’s marketing game is akin to throwing spaghetti on the wall
– Translate Social Metrics: Fans-to-Revenue
– Eric Garland (BigChampagne): “What can we sell that we’re good at?”

– Timo Poijärvi gets my award for most colorful character…and website

With the abundance of brilliant information being shared at this conference, it leaves opportunity for more questions. How do we put this all together? Is there a way to create scarcity? In this rat race, who is leading the charge?

A problem with many of these services is users don’t know about them, how can they be marketed better and create traction?

To take a page from Keynote Speaker Gary Shapiro… How will innovation fuel progress and will it ultimately save the content and music industries?

And most importantly, how can we get BitTorrent into the fold?

What are your thoughts?

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