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  • Writer's pictureEric Doades

Big Headlines with Dmitri and Tristra: The Big Now

Dmitri and Tristra scan the horizon of music tech news and discuss the latest ripples and waves shaping our industry. From “multiplayer mode” music experiences, where fans and artists blur the lines in a remix-friendly world, to Spotify's controversial new bundling practices – these are only a couple of the many topics we get into. Join us.

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Episode Transcript

Machine transcribed

0:00:10 - Dmitri

Welcome back to Music Tectonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm host Dmitri Vietze. I'm also the founder and CEO of Rock Paper Scissors, the PR and marketing firm that specializes in music innovation, and here with me is Tristra Newyear-Yeager, our chief strategy officer. Hey, Tristra.

0:00:27 - Tristra

Hey feeling very strategic this morning.

0:00:30 - Dmitri

Yeah, we're going to do a music tech news scanner this week. This is where we look at different things that we're keeping an eye out in the news. We do horizon scanning for our clients and for other folks. In fact, we make this available to anyone. So we have this rock paper scanner newsletter. You can Google search for it or check the show notes and sign up for it. It's a free newsletter where Tristra reads an insane amount of press and sub stacks and LinkedIn's and I have a little RSS feeder that I've set up that helps me keep track of everything in the music industry and kind of peripheral areas and investment and all that kind of stuff. So we would love for you to be part of this by signing up for that newsletter. But this is a little taste of some of the things we not only read, but how we talk in our office at Rock Papers is what we're thinking about and that kind of stuff.

So we were in Nashville last week you might hear it from my voice and while Trister was running panels at Music Biz, I was in back-to-back meetings with some of the coolest music innovation companies and we were also bopping around from parties like the Music Managers Forum and Music Infra Party, where there were ponies and peacocks, and at the Gathering of Music Industry Badasses that's the name of the party that Tom Truitt puts on every year in Nashville. Badasses that's the name of the party that Tom Truitt puts on every year in Nashville. And our buddies Charles Alexander at Vinyl and Salinas Barrington hosted us at their afternoon chill sesh at the Analog. And as I was flying back from Nashville Trista to Portland, I had just enough Alaska Airlines Wi-Fi to find out from Billboard's Kristen Robinson that news broke that the MLC is suing Spotify over their decision to pay out songwriters less as a result of their new music and audio books bundling approach. And that's on top of an already increase in volume from publishers on this and related topics.

So we're here for the Music Tech News Scanner edition of the Music Tectonics podcast. So, tristra, before we dive into the bundling topic because I think there's a lot to talk about there and the backlash that came with it, let's hit some other news that emerged in the last week Some in the rock paper scanner make sure to sign up for it and then we'll dive into what the heck's going on with some of these top stories as well. So one that popped up, I think, on both of our radar from music ally Stu Dredge, great writer and just does so much content that keeps us on our toes. Report claims Epidemic Sound may be planning an IPO in 2025. Why do you think that's happening, trista? What's going on there?

0:02:55 - Tristra

Well, I mean, it's probably a whole variety of things. We were just, we were kind of throwing some theories around a second ago. Part of me, my first intuition when looking at this, is like, ooh, run for the exit, right. So, even if this isn't completely true and hey, folks at Epidemic hit me up and tell me why I'm wrong it does have this feeling like, ooh, ai is going to come and disrupt this very specific section of the music industry. So a lot of people have talked about how production music, especially the sort of work for hire, massive library kind of approach, is the most likely to be disrupted by generative AI music. And so if I were in epidemic shoes, I'd probably be doing the same thing Like let's go for our IPO now because this is probably our best chance.

Though you brought up a good point, Dmitri, that they could be pulling a bit of a Reddit. So Reddit, you know, just IPO'd and one of their big sort of, you know, promises to investors is that they're going to be a really, really rich source of training data for AI in place. You know there was a lot of kerfuffle I believe it was late last year about how they didn't want AI training on them, but now they want to license their content, and how this is going to affect users is a good question, and how it would affect epidemic sounds creators and users is a question as well, but that may also be part of it. They want to make sure that they can move into some new. Maybe use that IPO cash to move into some new areas or create some new revenue streams as AI becomes more and more of a thing, though you know who knows, epidemic may have a bigger moat than I've let on.

0:04:38 - Dmitri

Well, and you know things are moving fast with AI too. So it's like you might initially say, oh no, this is going to tear us down, and then you might say, well, it's coming anyway. So how do we turn things around? I mean, as I was getting onto this podcast, I was thinking about my voice and whether it was podcast ready after talking so much in Nashville over you know, loud networking parties and things like that.

And I remember, not this last NAMM, the Big Musical Instrument Conference, but the one before that some Music Tectonics, loyal listeners might remember we actually removed the background from one of the podcast episodes on the trade floor there, but we actually the company we did it with, they didn't actually remove the background. What they do is they take the signal from your voice, remove everything, not just the background, but your voice as well and then they recreate your voice with AI so that you get something that is totally fabricated, but it sounds exactly like you, in the exact way that you just said it. So it's a really, and you know now this, this, you know, a year later there's these companies like kitsai that allow you to actually, you know, know, turn your voice into something else completely, um, and it's just a pace of things. All the innovation that's happening is really quickly. Totally unrelated to what we were talking about with epidemic sound, but the point being people are looking for different business models.

0:05:58 - Tristra

Um, as fast as new companies get launched or new ideas kind of reach the market and epidemic probably is in a good position from an AI training or other sort of perspectives because they do have a license.

That's pretty strong right so they're not going to have to go back. I don't think again Epidemic folks holler at me if I'm wrong but as a work for hire, which is their model, they're not going to have to go back necessarily to a composer or songwriter and be like, hey, can we use this to train an AI model? Can we license this in this way or that? I think they're going to have a lot more room to maneuver than other libraries might have, so that is an advantage. So it'll be interesting to see how that all shakes out. Also, be fun to see all their papers for their filing for their IPO, just to peek under the hood a little bit. That'll be interesting.

0:06:45 - Dmitri

And you know the fact that they're going for an IPO right now is interesting timing, just if you look at the larger music market too, and just you know there aren't a ton of publicly traded music companies. There just aren't. A lot of things are, you know, bootstrapped, vc funded Eventually, if anything they get, you know, bought by private equity and that becomes part of the picture. So it's always interesting to see the variety of ways that companies mature and, you know, turn into really long-term businesses as well. And I'll jump to our next story, just totally different here, you know, since we are going to get into this bundling conversation shortly, and and uh, and we're talking about how do these music companies grow and get funded and all that kind of stuff.

The music industry, in spite of what we've seen from all these layoffs and and so forth, and maybe because of some of the layoffs are are doing pretty well. So music business worldwide, uh, uh did just released an article this past week. Son Sony generated $2.5 billion from recorded music and publishing in calendar Q1 2024, up 14.7% year over year.

So I just wanted to point out that, in spite of all the friction that we'll be discussing between platforms and rights holders, we just got through the TikTok UMG thing and now we're talking about the Spotify publishers, Spotify MLC stuff. Revenue is still growing for music.

0:08:08 - Tristra

Yeah, and growing pretty substantially. I mean 14.7% year over year. That's, that's, that's pretty amazing yeah.

0:08:14 - Dmitri

It wasn't bad last year, you know. So it's so we're still seeing growth there. You know we had seen concerns about streaming kind of tabling off as the biggest music markets, um, kind of reach top subscription, um. But you know there's more stuff happening with music which is great and, uh, hopefully there'll be more. You know revenue streams coming in as well, um, so another one that I was kind of interested in, again totally different. We're just going to get through some of these, um you know, other interesting headlines before we go deep on some of the other things we want to talk about. From NBC News, of all places I don't get a lot of stuff into the scanner From that House passes Ticket Act in an effort to increase transparency and pricing.

The bill would require sellers to list the total cost of a ticket to buyers, including fees, and I have to say, trifter, I'm not a huge fan of regulation as a category. But ticketing has definitely gotten out of control and to me it creates a lot of friction when fees are hidden or when you're not even sure if the seller owns the ticket they claim to be selling you. So I'm interested.

0:09:22 - Tristra

And it's interesting. I went to a panel on music policy and by that basically the panelists meant music legislation in the House and Senate, et cetera, and there's been a lot of activity that relates to music, not just around things like copyright, which would be expected with the generative AI stuff that's going on, but a lot around ticketing. So the Ticket Act is only one of a bunch of different bills and proposals that are going through and basically trying to force the hand of Live Nation to do what most other businesses would do, which is to show you how much you're actually going to pay for the thing you're buying. So I think this is a good. This is going to be a good development. At least it it shows how serious the problem is. Other fun thing is this is one of the few bipartisan issues you could get the you get people to agree that ticket fees are not good.

0:10:15 - Dmitri


0:10:17 - Tristra

Or should be clearer yeah.

0:10:18 - Dmitri

So this was about the House Ticket Act. The Senate has a related bill, also called the Ticket Act.

Just for fun, yeah yeah, and the article also says a group of bipartisan senators also introduced introduced the fans first act in december, which would increase cost transparency and prevent resellers who list tickets at exorbitant prices. Um, and talks about fans suing Ticketmaster in 2022 after the big Taylor Swift era tour debacle. So, yeah, no, it's great to see something happening there on the live side as well. There's actually, I find, less news about what's happening in the business of live music than there is on the recorded and streaming sides and AI sides and previously, the metaphor and the Web3 and all that stuff, but live it's harder to know exactly what's going on with the business there. So, yeah, so looking forward to seeing some, I think, some friction removal in the whole live side of ticket buying and maybe even some reduction in cost to some extent, so that fans can go out to more concerts and more artists can benefit not just some, but many more artists that are performing can benefit from that side of the business, because it's a huge part of the business as well.

Okay, let's get to the top headlines about bundling and tensions building. So Thursday night, kristen Robinson at Billboard must have stayed up late because, like I said, I was on the plane and happened to see her post on LinkedIn. The article that kicked it off was the MLC sues Spotify for bundling, cutting royalties for publishers and songwriters. News of the suit comes a week after Billboard estimated that bundling would cause a loss of $150 million in royalties for songwriters in the next year, and this is already building from news that songwriters and trade groups were not going for this bundling agreement. There was an article in Music Ally the previous week. Aimp criticizes Spotify parentheses again over bundle royalty changes.

0:12:24 - Tristra

And there's been a lot of stuff from the NMPA. David Israelite has issued very sternly worded op-eds and comments on this whole thing. So a lot of folks are really fired up about this bundling argument, and let me just say the bundling question is actually extending beyond music. So while we're talking about Spotify mostly and I'd love to hear what the audiobooks people have to say about all this but there's also a bundling dispute going on in the world of video, film, tv, ott, svod, whatever you want to call it. So a couple streaming services for example, max is part of this I hate that name, but Max aka HBO, and there was a lot of talk about you know Max and a couple other services coming together into a bundle that you could pay just one subscription rate for and that look, it's cable again.

However, there's one really important thing for creators that's very different compared to cable and that is residuals. So much like this deal from the publisher's perspective. With Spotify and bundles, these streaming services for video are trying to get around residuals so they don't have to pay actors and screenwriters for broadcasting or rebroadcasting their work right, actors and screenwriters for broadcasting and rebroadcasting their work, right. So it's interesting how bundles tend to maybe serve the consumer, definitely serve the platform, but not so great for the creators, no matter what part of the entertainment business you're looking at.

0:13:58 - Dmitri

That's really interesting. And just to be clear, there was news back in February the MLC was suing Pandora for allegedly underpaying royalties and late fees.

So this is a new phase, I think, for the MLC, which is a government-created entity meant to serve all parties, and it's part of that kind of mediation between these parties and that role that they play and may shift the entire conversation about the mlc really, as people recognize that they are really doing like trying to have a balanced approach to making sure this is all all working out the way that it was supposed to um, yeah and uh, and you know it's interesting. What's interesting to me, trisha, is it feels like we all as an industry have said okay, we are in the streaming era, everything's worked out, you know the money is back in and now we're starting to move into this whole new. You know like, if you look at it the Napster moment, the peer-to-peer stuff and kind of the disaster for the music industry that happened there and then see, streaming is sort of was a little less rough in terms of bringing revenue in, even though the balance of power, I think, shifted quite a bit. There used to be tons of retailers and now there's a handful of big tech companies that are the retailers, in a sense, for the bulk of the revenue.

And I'm thinking like I said, in Nashville, I was literally talking to somebody about AI, the complexities of AI and so forth, and I was like, okay, I've had this conversation a million times. So I turned to I was surrounded by attorneys, actually. So I turned to a different attorney and I said so what's big on your mind, like what's big right now? And literally we started having the exact same conversation. These are two groups of people side by side that weren't talking to each other, that were literally having this thing. It was everywhere, um, but here it is streaming and its relationship to rights holders has not fully matured. You know, it's still the, the, the balance, the fight, the tension, the, the market.

0:15:59 - Tristra

Discussions are still underway and in some ways, a lot of the things like the Music Modernization Act that you know was the legislation that set up the MLC. All of that is really setting the groundwork for a space where maybe there are more tensions and where you know conversations have to arise between the platform and other stakeholders in the business and you know those tensions are a normal part of a functioning market right A functioning market isn't like a smoothly oiled machine where everyone agrees all the time.

I mean, the whole point of having a free market is that you have disagreement and you have people who are like I'm not going to pay that price, so what are you going to do about it? You know person who wants to sell me something pay that price, so what are you going to do about it? You know person who wants to sell me something. So, anyway, I think this is very healthy to have these disputes and it shows that there's not necessarily that there maybe is more of a balance of power and that you know, I mean, my dream would be that creators have a seat at the table that's understood to be somewhat powerful, a seat at the table that's understood to be somewhat powerful and where they really haven't in the past per se. So I think there's a lot. This is this is some good signs, and I think we're going to see a healthier industry because of these kinds of tensions and questions that are being raised.

0:17:18 - Dmitri

So and you know, it's interesting for me and our role doing PR that you would think that we might have to sort of advocate for one side or the other and since we do music tech PR, we're kind of like, really we have a lot of breadth in terms of the types of companies not only are we talking to, but that we're actually helping them with their messaging and their strategy around press and the public and so forth. One of these attorneys that I spoke to I asked him like how do you manage to represent both sides, you know, in different clients? And they said I don't, I only work with the tech companies.

I was like oh okay, because you know that makes sense from like a legal and ethical point of view in terms of potential conflicts, you would think, but I think you're right, I think it's healthy.

Potential conflicts, you would think, but I think you're right, I think it's healthy and I think for us as a PR company, it allows us to kind of bring people together and tell stories in a way that's not meant to be intentionally, purely for the sake of adversary, but to really like try to help tell the story in a way that there can be win-wins, which happens a lot more than I think people would think in our work as well, which I enjoy. And, of course, having, you know, built a community around music, tectonics, the podcast, the conference coming up in October in Santa Monica. You know there's another component we want the whole ecosystem there. We want everybody talking to each other. For the very reasons you were just talking about. We have to take a quick break and when we come back, I actually want to get in a little bit more on the AI conversation. I think there's a lot more to talk about there and then I think we'll widen out from there. We'll be right back.

0:18:51 - Eleanor

You've heard Dmitri and Trista on the podcast. Now come hang out with them. I'm talking about Seismic Activity, music Tectonic's free online event series. About once a month, we convene the music tech community for networking, discussions and demos by innovators and inventors. Join us and tune into the tremors that are about to become major shakeups in the industry. Join us and tune into the tremors that are about to become major shakeups in the industry. See upcoming topics on our schedule and register for our next event at musictectonicscom. These aren't your usual sleepy webinars. Seismic activity is fun, fast-paced and interactive. Everyone who works for Music and Tech Meet is welcome.

0:19:39 - Dmitri

See you soon. Okay, we are back, and there really are. You know, in addition to all the conversations in Nashville about AI, there are a lot of news stories about AI the good, the bad, the ugly. You know we do a fresh flavor section of the Rock Paper Scanner. Wbur in Boston has a story on how AI is changing the music industry. An outlet called Ideotech with a Q, the silent takeover. Ted Joya's on AI's threat to music music business. Worldwide reported. Google unveils music AI sandbox with the help of Wyclef Jean, justin Tranter, and the conversation had an, an article.

Ai can make up songs now, but who owns the copyright? The answer is complicated. So it I mean it's just going on and on, like um, you know it's probably redundant for me to um, to, to keep talking about, uh, uh, how there were all these nft stories one year, these live streaming stories one year. You know the mixed reality stuff, and this is this. One feels actually bigger to me. Trisha Like this doesn't feel like it's like something happening on a sign. This, this, this feels like it's a real wave that's taken over and the one oh sorry.

The one. The one other article that I wanted to point out was this music business worldwide article that is titled Sony Music Sends Letters to 700 AI Music Streaming Companies Declaring it's Opting Out of. Ai Training as Well.

0:21:06 - Tristra

There's so many. I mean it makes a lot of sense that they would do this, yet there's a lot of questions about how to even. You know, there's like many, many layers of questions. How do you identify what's been used in a training set right? So, for instance, when I believe it was when Sona rolled out, like the OpenAI's video generation software, everyone was asking the chief I think it's the CTO of OpenAI what training data did you use? And she's like I don't know. Now I don't think that was a lie. I think they actually don't know what data they've used, but everyone can pretty much tell it's copyrighted material in the music world. That's why Suno sounds good, that's why Udio sounds good. That's why Udio sounds good, it's because they've trained on a bunch of stuff that's copyrighted in commercial music, basically.

So what do we do about all this? We can't really identify what's been AI generated. No people claim to be able to do that, but the accuracy is still really low and it's only based on the models that are currently in use. Now what about the models that are about to be updated and have an output that is just different enough that your bot can't find it? That was a big question that we talked about at the panel that I moderated at Music Biz is like you're basically going to have this bot war, right? It's even going to be worse than content ID, right, Because content ID is like something that's set right. You know what the waveform is for that particular release and you can find it more or less on YouTube, for example, using content ID, but you're not going to have a waveform.

You're not even going to have a way to tell if something was AI generated or not, at least, not with the existing technology we have. So there's a lot of questions about how this is going to be even policed, right, Because it's going to have to be. Some people will try to play by the rules and license stuff and some people won't. That's pretty clear already from the attitudes that are being tossed around among AI companies. So it's a really interesting time and not one that's going to be easily sort of through. The other question is, eventually, it's like what's the business model here, right? Is it generating music for video content, which is what I've heard a lot of generative AI companies talk about? Or making parts of songs?

So, for instance, Metro Boomin's recent very popular diss track. Parts of songs. So, for instance, Metro Boomin's recent very popular diss track, right, that used elements that were AI generated. But Metro Boomin put them together, you know, in his own unique, you know, producer way. So, like where are we going to draw the line? How much human is going to be like? The number of questions is so much greater than with any of this other technology, like with blockchain, it was mostly, I think, like what is this and why do I need it? Right, yeah, Whereas AI is like, there's like a whole cloud of questions.

A lot of layers Impact people really differently, depending on you know where they are in the industry or in their creative practice. Yeah, so it's going to be a really, really interesting time, and the ultimate question, though, is why do we need this right? Like, what are we going to be doing with this? And some, you know, I think the question is starting to get answered Again. Thinking about Metro, boomin, and like adding all these little elements that are not necessarily like generated whole hog using AI, like that could spawn a whole bunch of new kinds of music that are really interesting, but what's the but? What if it comes from a model that was trained on copyright material, like I don't know? There's so many questions.

0:24:43 - Dmitri

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And you know, like a lot of these moments where we have these huge technological shifts, like say the peer-to-peer sharing moment, you don't have a single perspective from different constituencies.

So you would think maybe the peer-to-peer would be rights holders versus fans or artists versus fans. But in reality there were artists who grew their careers through free music sharing and they leaned into it because it was audience building for them. And that's the real dilemma, I think, with record labels right now and publishers to maybe a lesser extent, where you don't build fan bases if you don't keep up with you know how everyone's interacting in the world and these technological shifts, you can't really put them back into. You know you can't get the cat back in the bag. You really can't. Once they jump out, you're screwed. They know what's there, whatever. But um and uh, I think that that's a challenge.

So the layers that you're talking about, kind of the you know, like the entanglement of this, this, how this conversation unfolds, is partially because some artists see it as a threat, some labels see it as a threat. Some artists are like, are like oh, a tool that helps me do x with less money or less time awesome. And some artists are actually building these companies, companies like data mind, where they're saying this is an extension of monetization for my art, where, instead of me making all the music, other artists can play me like an instrument, you know, and take the timbral sort of set my musical DNA and transform their music so that we're kind of collaborating without me waking up, you know, like, and so there's a lot of, there's a lot of layers in there as well.

0:26:28 - Tristra

There's. It's interesting to like there's when I think about peer to peer file sharing. That was something that, in a way, like there was I think Jessica Powell of Audioshake had a really great sort of comment on this which was that was something that the market wanted. People wanted to be able to share files. You know, people had been kind of burning CDs for each other, doing cassettes, mixtapes, like there was already kind of a culture of sharing music and with generative AI, the question is what cultural, what existing cultural behaviors will get amplified by this, you know, if any. So, like we look at the metaverse, not, you know, the one of the reasons I think it didn't, you know, really go many places for most people is that it's not really a part of their lives already. Right, it's not like an extension, it seems like it would be, but it's not really to spend a bunch of time in a headset like doing the same things that I do in real life, like I don't know, for most people that's not very exciting. The second life, I know, is huge and there's lots of people that love second life and do all sorts of crazy stuff there. So, you know, take my comments with a grain of salt, but like. So for me, the question is, where are the existing like? Where's the water already flowing? That's going to, basically, ai can just sort of join that stream, and for me that's already. It's already here and and that's all.

In things like remixing, um, you know, sped up sounds, slowed down, um, you know, the sort of all the stuff that people have been wanting to do with music. That's been still technically pretty challenging. Thanks to ai, is suddenly getting a lot easier and I think we're going to see more and more ways that music enters this new, um fluid stage, as tatiana cirisano at Media likes to put it. Multiplayer mode is another way I've heard people talk about music. So there's all sorts of interesting sort of early expressions of this.

Whether we're talking like Stationhead with its fan-driven experiences, or the fans bring the artists in, it doesn't feel like the artist is hosting a space and broadcasting. It's more like the fans are gathering and if the artist joins in, that's awesome and extra. So that's a really interesting example. There's all sorts of folks still working in blockchain to create these more malleable, playable musical experiences, like the folks at Pixalink with their new core protocol that they've launched with a bunch of partners like Emyoka Brands. So there's some really neat stuff happening. Audio Mac they already make it possible to play around with tracks and speed them up, slow them down, do all sorts of cool remixing things. Spotify has been hinting at an in-app remixing feature for a while. I think the music business worldwide sort of hinted at this back in April, at least to speed up songs, since people are doing that so much. Anyway.

0:29:22 - Dmitri

So, trista, you called it multiplayer mode. You mean it's a level of interactivity with the music where fans are not just passively listening but they're leaning forward in a way that either creates fan to fan relationships, fan to artist relationships or fan to music relationships that are totally different where they can. So audio I've played with my audio Mac. We've just they've just joined the RPS roster the audio mod You've got hey listen music tectonics listeners. You've got to try audio max audio mod. It is a blast. Um, so many cool features.

And this is not purely a promotional pitch. I love it. I mean it's so fun. So you find, you discover something. You know they have a lot of Afro beats, a lot of Latin, a lot of Jamaican music, caribbean music. But you find some song, discover some song, and you can instantly speed it up, slow it down. You can add digital delay, add delay to it and change, change how much delay is in there, what the speed is between the delays. You can add a variety of reverb filters. You can do a low-pass filter, all this stuff and then you can share it with somebody else. And the cool thing is this is all with licensed content. So every time somebody does that it creates more engagement on the app with licensed content. So every time somebody does that, it creates more engagement on the app. So artists are actually benefiting because people are spending. You could spend 20 minutes listening to one song while you're remixing it, yeah, so, um, I love your phrase multiplayer mode, trish, I don't know if you came up with that.

0:30:47 - Tristra

I don't know, I totally didn't come up with that.

0:30:49 - Dmitri

For music. I mean for music, I mean for music. I know it's a gamer thing, but Um, I, but I mean for music.

0:30:55 - Tristra

I know it's a gamer thing, but I really think there's been a question kind of floating around for maybe a decade about like when's music's Instagram moment going to come right.

And it's right now, Like AI will basically make the Instagram moment happen right now. And so there's a lot of other sort of behind the scenes work, back office work that has to be done, like licensing, remixes, figuring out how to license stems like how do we pay for you know? I mean the questions are pretty big, but obviously people are figuring it out and there's different roads to the. All roads lead to Rome. I don't know, that's probably a bad metaphor, but, like you know, whether we're talking folks like Pixelink and Core, who are working in the blockchain, or we're talking about folks like Audio, Mac or other other approaches, like there are ways to solve the licensing question and I think there's going to be more and more interest in these experiences and these interactive things. And fans are just doing this for fun.

Not everyone wants to commercially release. Like we need to give music making more than one path. Right, so it's not just like, oh, if you're not recording something and then releasing it on a place like Spotify or Apple Music or whatever, then you're not a real musician and you're not making music. Like, let's get rid of that assumption that that's what everyone wants and give people like dozens of paths. That could all be really exciting and fun for them and could get them involved in music, which you know is our passion as well as our business. So I don't know, there we go Just to the barricades, everyone.

0:32:30 - Dmitri

All right, we're going to take one more quick break and, tristan, when we come back, I want to push back on a couple things you just said. This ought to get fun, we'll be right back.

The news cycle of the music industry, and innovation in particular, is accelerating at such a fast pace it can be hard to keep up. That's why I launched Rock Paper Scanner, a free newsletter you can get in your inbox every Friday morning. Check out bitly slash rpscanner. That's bitly slash rpscanner. That's bitly slash rpscanner. I scan hundreds of outlets for you, from the music trades to the tech blogs, from the music gear mags to lifestyle outlets. So that you don't have to, I handpick everything music tech, including industry revenue numbers, ai, cool new user tools, the live music and recording landscapes, partnerships and acquisitions and everything else a Music Tectonics podcast listener would want to know. Open a browser right now and punch in bitly slash rpscanner to sign up right now. Go ahead, hit pause and go to bitly slash rpscanner. Or find the episode's blog post on musictectonicscom and find that link. Happy scanning, but for now, happy listening. Okay, we're back.

Trista, there are a couple things that I didn't get to get in yet that um came up. That I want to. I want to talk with you about. The one that I wanted to push back on is really when you were talking about the um metaverse actually. This is why because I don't know what the hell the metaverse is, but in my mind, it's actually the future of social networks.

It's digital experiences. It's not necessarily headsets it could be and it's not necessarily avatar-based it could be but it's really these where you get a sense of presence, separate from IRL, right. And so the reason I want to push back is I did get a statistic when we were in Nashville, which is there's 400 million people in Roblox. That is a huge, huge number of people and, granted, our kids are aging out of it maybe soon you and me but Fortnite is also huge, and Minecraft is also huge, and there's probably entities that you and I don't know about, or entities that don't even exist as well, and so, though metaverse, as it was defined, in certain moments maybe didn't pan out, I think there's still a lot of these kind of digital social experiences that are not text, photo and video based, that they're either avatar or animation.

0:34:59 - Tristra

It's all of the above right, it's not just text or video, or it's all the things together.

0:35:04 - Dmitri

Yeah, exactly, and so I just want to push back. I think that, yeah, there was a lot of hype around it. I, I, I guess I can't regret that Facebook changed their name to meta and tried to wrap their arms around it and then take away everyone's legs. That felt less real to me, um, because I think it turned. You know, I think facebook's reputation and their co-optation of this concept actually did damage for a lot of more creative innovators building interesting spaces and platforms and experiences, um and uh, and that you know, once you've experienced it, you can see where it could go. There's no big enough single player for adults right now, um, where we are experiencing it, but I do think that it's not gone through the bullshit and also the content is not very good.

0:36:01 - Tristra

Right, there's a lot of there are there. That's not to say there's not some really amazing content on, like for vr or ar. There's some really innovative stuff that's happened. There are amazing artists that work in this. There's great companies that do really cool stuff, many of them related to music, like beat, saber and amaze, vr, etc. Like. But in the end, like this is gonna content's going to have to be way better to make someone like.

The other thing that I think people that we, you know there's a sense of presence is infinitely nuanced for humans. Like it's things like smell and air movement, and while there are really fun experiments with like haptics and like smell-o-vision for mixed reality, I mean, yeah, let's experiment with that Like maybe there could be a game that's like solely olfactory, like that's an interesting thought A lot of the way all this is getting done is so cheesy and not very interesting. So what we need to do, I think, as a music industry a lot of people in this industry are really creative, especially when it comes to audio and the amazing things that audio can do to us as embodied emotional beings, and we need to be thinking about that a bit more, rather than like trying to be a game right, like video games have their own visual, sonic and story, like narrative culture Maybe there's. We need to be thinking a little bit differently, or not, and not just take cues from from that world. So a lot of the stuff I see, I'm, like you know, visually not very interesting, I don't know.

I think I think we need to have a renaissance era of, like crazy, you know, you got you this sort of like amazing convergence of truly artistic things. But that has something to say, because that is what actually drives art movements, right, it's not? Oh, this is a cool aesthetic. You know, that's not what mclanjo is up to, that's not what the dotus were doing or bauhaus was doing. Just a few random examples.

0:37:54 - Dmitri

But like I don't know that's my, that's my, um, my, but you know, I think it's. It's those, those VR and some of the mixed reality experiences are very expensive to build and I think that's why we've seen not so great experiences. But that just means it's early. That doesn't mean it's dead Totally.

0:38:10 - Tristra

That just means it's early. Totally, I don't. I mean it's, it's.

0:38:13 - Eleanor

the concept, though, is dead, like the way people were about it in 2021 as like we're all gonna like sit, sit in this virtual world all day, or like we're all gonna wear like a vision pro all day, like that sounds horrible to me.

0:38:25 - Dmitri

I think I'd rather there will, it will, it will transform and, and maybe you know, people will wear contact lenses all day, or or you know, or bow's sunglasses or or uh, what is it? The the ray-bans, uh, you know, smart sunglasses and things like that. There was an article in the Rock Paper Scanner last week the rise of the audio only video game.

0:38:45 - Tristra

Yes, I love that one. It's very Tristra you know that's.

0:38:48 - Dmitri

It's not the. What do you call it? Smell-o-vision.

0:38:50 - Tristra

Smell-O-Vision olfactory games. Okay, hit me up if you're, if you're interested.

0:38:55 - Dmitri

Yeah, okay. The other thing I want to bring up before we wrap up is another thing that I heard when I was in Nashville. Might have been one of those attorneys talking and it brought up this concept, you know, like50 billion, something that will put them out of business. And I say unless somebody comes up with content id for ai training data, because if that happens, that's what happened with youtube in some ways a brilliant model for everybody, in some ways a shift of the balance of power. And so the tricky part here is it's a race to. Are we going to legislate or sue the ethical boundaries of where AI and training data goes, or is some tech platform going to get underneath it and create a process that allows monetization of training data in a way that's attributable to the original rights holders but, as a result of kind of owning, the platform ends up with a better rate than they would if it came from the rights holder side of the business?

0:40:27 - Tristra

Yeah, these individual deals with like major media outlets like News Corp and the New York Times that OpenAI is doing. I mean, I have to say that some of them seem quite small, right, just judging by not the New York Times one, but there was, you was, I think it was. I think it might have been the News Corp one. I was kind of shocked at how low the figure was. I was like that's all.

0:40:49 - Dmitri

Was it an advance or was it?

0:40:52 - Tristra

That's a good question, exactly what the terms of the deal were but, that said, it still may be too expensive.

We've learned from Spotify how rough it can be to turn to like turn a profit when you have a pretty high overhead that just comes from licensing Right. So, and with this lack of clarity around exactly how generative AI will make money, at least in the creative fields, like that's a really interesting, interesting question, like where is the sweet spot between that kind of gives rights holders enough to make it worthwhile versus, you know, keeps, keeps, make sure the business model is viable and the overhead isn't so ridiculously high. It's already so high because of just the compute demands you know that are just huge and getting more and more expensive. So it'll be interesting, interesting times we live in, Dmitri.

0:41:44 - Dmitri

It really is, and it's always fun, you know, being able to talk to you about all this news that we're scanning. I mean, in the day to day sometimes we don't have these conversations, so we just hit record, we go through a rock paper scanner and we start knocking out some of the interesting topics. You can sign up for it as well at rpsrockpaperscissorsbiz slash rp scanner that's rpsrockpaperscissorsbiz slash rp scanner and uh, uh, check it out and, uh, you know, get this weekly uh roundup of all these types of articles form. Form your own opinions. Like Trisha said, contact us if you disagree with us. We'd love to hear from you. We're both on LinkedIn. We're very active there. You can track us down we're not that hard to find and let us know what you think. We want to hear, what other articles we should be putting in there or, more specifically, what other media outlets we should be following.

And I have to say, tristra, I think that people think that they get their news from peers and from online forums and from social media, but I have to say, the types of outlets that we are talking about here, I think they're doing a great job of covering what's going on in these transformations and innovation in the music industry and just the day-to-day of the music industry and fandom experiences and so forth.

And I just want everybody out there to remember the importance of this, because even if we've moved from a one-to-many model with big broadcast and publication outlets hitting everybody, to this thing where we have lots of peer sharing and so forth, it's similar to music. The things that you're sharing are still created by somebody and some entities and so forth. And I, you know, we're idea people, we're strategy people and we love that. We have this whole network of thinkers and writers who are helping us kind of understand what's happening in our industry, what's happening in society for music and sound and audio and media as well. So don't forget to just support those outlets, support the billboards and the music business world-wide and the music allies and all the other things, variety.

Get on the hype bot list, you know? And yeah, because these conversations would be a lot more boring if we're just making stuff up. So here's to the journalist Woo-hoo.

0:43:56 - Tristra


0:43:57 - Dmitri

Couldn't do it without you. Thanks, trisha, this is a blast.

0:44:00 - Tristra

Yay, couldn't do it without you. Thanks, Tristra, this is a blast.

0:44:21 - Dmitri

All right, Talk to you're there. Look for the latest about our annual conference and sign up for our newsletter to get updates. Everything we do explores the seismic shifts that shake up music and technology the way the earth's tectonic plates cause quakes and make mountains. Connect with music tectonics on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. That's my favorite platform. Connect with me, Dmitri Vietze, if you can spell it. We'll be back again next week, if not sooner.

Music Tectonics at NAMM 2024

Let us know what you think! Tweet @MusicTectonics, find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or connect with podcast host Dmitri Vietze on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Music Tectonics podcast goes beneath the surface of the music industry to explore how technology is changing the way business gets done. Weekly episodes include interviews with music tech movers & shakers, deep dives into seismic shifts, and more.


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