#SFMT #SFMusicTech / Fun at Hotel Kabuki

06Dec10

The lobby is packed with lounging industry execs soaking up the stellar networking here at SF Music Tech.

Highlights from this morning included a panel with recording artist Mat Kearney, Brooke Wentz of The Rights Workshop, Todd Porter of Goodby, Silverstein, and Raj Ramayya of Strawberry Hill Music speaking on getting music placed in film, tv and commercials. Check out the stream @contentnow for tweets and twitpics but in essence the message was don’t discount the deal without the upfront, they’re few and far between and backend PRO plus exposure from a syndicated network show can yield sizable quarterly checks. Mat mentioned friends getting $10,000 on a show via Secret Machine. He and Brooke also recommended that artists upload songs to the Rumblefish catalogue as a service that reliably pays if placed. Brooke who has extensive experience as a music supervisor and rights clearinghouse has a book on Amazon called “Hey, That’s My Music.” She said she recently secured rights to The Stones Sympathy For The Devil for a small run snowboarding DVD (10,000 copies) for $4,000. That fees are dependent on how much you need and for how long, and permission can be refused if overplayed or not hip. When ColdPlay’s label said no to licensing Vida La Vida, Chris Martin said yes. Mat added if you can get to the artist directly, if they have control over the rights, that could be the best path to yes. (Thus resulting in the long queue to talk w him post-panel.). Todd Porter said some interesting things about aligning artists with sponsors, how apple fanboys are not necessarily the best fit for HP, and how he’s having no trouble signing artists for the hot new Volt electric car from Chevy.

Cecily Mak of Rhapsody was presenting at the same time on permissions and forgiveness on the legal panel in the next room. She promised me her outline and follow on interview, so I’ll post more on that later. The halls were bustling and in passing I ran into Michael Fiebach who just got back from tour with DJ Shadow, Matt Seliga of Pinchit and CrawlSF who shared with me Board news, Joe Barham of The Bone who told me of their amazing Make-A-Wish fundraiser with Steve Perry, Merl Saunders Jr., Chuck Fishman of Cisco, and Darryl Ballantyne of LyricFind who promised a big announcement and kegs of Dos Equis later.

I decided to spend time at the break with the sponsors in the comfortable lounge the Zisks had set up. First, I was thrilled to get hooked up with Sonic.Net’s free wifi which I desperately needed at that moment. Then a spin of the wheel and I won with some help their pink piggy bank which I immediately declared Best of Schwag.

I then ran into the always friendly gang at AOL Music who gave me their stylish tee. They’re here celebrating their enormously successful launch of Winamp last week in the Android Marketplace, already half a million downloads. Winamp let’s PC users transfer their music onto Android phones which iTunes doesn’t support. I was also psyched to hear that AOL Spinner will be back at SXSW next year as I really enjoyed working with them last Spring.

Other very interesting sponsors on the floor included BAMM.tv which produces original live streams of SF indie bands for 50/50 rev share. They’re uploading 2-3 bands a week and already have 150 signed.

Also enjoyed checking out the Karaoke app from Vocoo and FB econmerce app from Payvment.

After lunch Jeff Price of TuneCore advised thexartists to understand the six rights that dictate the music industry: public performance, derivatives, digital transmissions, reproductions, distribution, and public display (more on the TuneCore blog). Jeff was then heroic in his stance against the argument that democratization causes noise. “98% of what the labels produced failed, who says the music police of yesterday, the labels and the media, could have ever filtered better than your friends on FB or Twitter.” Jeff Beaver of Zazzle added how he hears the art and design noise argument but some of Zazzle’s biggest success are niche amateurs who harness the power of personalization and there are many who are making a living off of work on Zazzle.

Following that there was a panel discussing digital innovation at the labels with Ian Rogers, Topspin, Aaron Foreman, UMG, Ethan Kaplan, WMG, Ian Hogworth, Songkick, and Rachel Masters, Red Magnet Media (Linkin Park, Duran Duran). Interesting to hear that UMG has 150 artistts. WMG and Sony builds internally more than UMG and EMI. Ethan Kaplan, WMG build v buy decision is based on implementation, ease of switching, continuity, fits core competency of being a music company, longevity of need, and whether internally can be done faster first six months and last. Aaron Foreman, UMG works with startups that make it easy with php library, APIs, keys and demos. Simplicity of integration is key. Ian Hogarth added that labels should hire a hacker at large from Music Hack Days who understand platform and interoperability. Rachel Masters wrapped up by saying that MidemNet, NARM, FB and GoogleMusic are starting music startup days.

There’s a cool afterparty at Yoshi’s Sake Lounge, 1330 Fillmore/Eddy from 8-10pm. I’ll be with my band at Lennon Studios by then but you can follow all the fun at #sfmusictech. Enjoy!

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