A bevy of music industry pioneers and visionaries spoke to packed rooms of eager ears during Monday morning and early afternoon New Music Seminar panels.
First, NMS Founder Tom Silverman delivered his opening remarks about the future of the industry. Proclaiming “the music business is back”, Silverman outlined four new revenue centers the music industry will be capitalizing on: subscription revenue (Spotify, Rhapsody, Deezer, etc.), performance revenue (Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, etc.), advertising revenue sharing (YouTube, VEVO), and new products and experiences. SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe also spoke, emphasizing the importance of focusing attention on the value of music; the simple joy of listening. He discussed how the new music business has a much more intricate money distribution system – that “complexity is the new normal.”
Next, the State of the Industry Movement featured three industry leaders. VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff gave listeners a background of VEVO, which has become the #1 music property for video views thanks in large part to the growth of mobile devices and tablets. He also discussed some of the new and upcoming original scripted and non-scripted programming that will be featured on VEVO.
Frank Cooper, Global CMO of Consumer Engagement at Pepsi, stressed the importance of relying on culture when building a brand, especially in a world that is more connected than ever. His formula for building a successful brand is humanity, imagination, and truth.
ClearChannel President John Sykes declared “music is the most powerful form of art in our culture, and it always will be.” Sykes dispelled the myth that radio is a dying industry, showing that it is still the #1 way to hear new music and the biggest gateway to purchasing music. The company’s hottest property iHeartRadio continues to grow, and over 14 million people watched and listened to the 2012 iHeartRadio Music Festival. He also explained how ClearChannel is committed to new artist development through their Artist Integration Program, which showcases new acts to over 13 million monthly listeners behind over $53 million in funding.
Henrik Lorensen, Vice President of Bang & Olufsen Play, spoke during a midday intensive and gave attendees a glimpse of a new mobile app being developed for release in the fall.
The Songwriters Movement presented by BMI featured several incredibly high-profile and accomplished songwriters and producers. Conductor Peter Asher emphasized that this panel was critical because “songwriting is where the whole thing starts, it is still the basis of our industry.” Asher also talked about how major labels have become very risk-averse, since guessing wrong on an artist could result in loss of a job by an executive.
Joining Asher on stage was Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, who has written for or worked with Whitney Houston, The Fugees, Jennifer Hudson and many more. Duplessis stressed the importance of having the right artist sing your song, which could make the difference between a hit and an unrecorded song. Angela Hunte rose to songwriting stardom after writing the Alicia Keys and Jay-Z hit “Empire State of Mind.” Hunte criticized the industry, noting the organic art of songwriting has become lost among the non-musical decision makers.
Sam Hollander recently wrote music for NBC’s hit show Smash, and talked about the importance of having the proper demo singer to perform the early version of your song. Itaal Shur has written for Santana and Maxwell, and shared both Asher’s and Hunte’s sentiment that the lack of open minds is responsible for the lack of quality throughout the industry.
Adam Schlesinger is a member of the band Fountains of Wayne, and started to produce and songwrite after he became frustrated with other producers “ruining” his songs. Jared Cotter got his start as a contestant on FOX’s American Idol, and has also had a show on Fuse and written for Flo Rida.
Billboard’s Glenn Peoples conducted the “Beyond Crowdfunding: Campaigns to Tap Into the Lost $2.5 Billion” movement this morning, where players stressed the importance of connecting fans with artists more directlyvia crowdfunding platforms. Crowdfunding emphasizes engagement, transforming the music consumption process into an active experience. Vlad Vukicevic, co-founder of RocketHub, noted how crowdfunding campaigns are rapidly growing in popularity in all fields, primarily from musicians’ use of the platform, who now account for 10-15% of the platform’s projects. Benji Rogers, CEO of PledgeMusic, discussed the value of being able to purchase albums early, citing George Benson’s recent success.
Mike Doughty and Martin Atkins provided an artist’s point of view. Doughty described his crowdfunding efforts for his upcoming album, including where fans could pay to have him perform at a house show anywhere within a 500 mile radius of New York City. Atkins took listeners on a comedic journey behind the scenes of his upcoming third book, which was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
Stay tuned as more updates from Monday’s New Music Seminar will be posted soon!