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News Roundup with Dmitri Vietze and Tristra Newyear Yeager

Breaking news! This week, join Dmitri Vietze and Tristra Newyear Yeager for a news roundup of current events and emerging trends across the music industry.

How has AI continued to influence content creation? How do background and social consumption impact engagement and marketing strategies? Learn more about the current state of the NFT marketplace and investments in web3. Find out how event tech and consumer demand have fueled an unprecedented year in live music. Get the latest updates on the upcoming Music Tectonics Conference. What's next for the music industry? Find out on this week’s episode.

Looking for Rock Paper Scanner, the newsletter of music tech news curated by the Rock Paper Scissors PR team? Subscribe here to get it in your inbox every Friday!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] You're listening to Music Tectonics.


Welcome back to Music Tectonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm one of your hosts, Dmitri Vietze. I'm also the CEO and founder of Rock Paper Scissors, a PR firm that focuses on music, innovation and music tech. And I have our used-to-be irregular host, becoming more regular co-host, alternating host, Tristra.

[00:00:30] Tristra: Hi, yes. I'm Tristra Newyear Yeager, the chief strategy officer at Rock Paper Scissors.

[00:00:36] Dmitri: So it's been a long time since we've done a news roundup, and Tristra and I love doing them. Honestly, we share a lot of articles with each other in the slack channels and you know, at team meetings and so forth. But it's really fun to actually be one on one with you, Tristra, because you've got such a broad perspective on what's going on in music, innovation, music tech, and beyond that in society.

So I [00:01:00] thought it would be fun if we would jump on and do another music tech music industry news roundup.

[00:01:05] Tristra: Yeah, let's do it. But I think we're going to start off with something a little bit different, right? We're going to play a very competitive gang of game of ping pong first.

[00:01:12] Dmitri: Yes. It's podcast ping pong.

We're going to ask the question. What kinds of conversations do we expect this year at the Music Tectonics conference, which is taking place October 24th to 26th 2023 in Santa Monica. And so we'll go back and forth and see how many rounds we get to. So we're literally just going to dive in with sort of like what's in the air, and then we'll get into what's in the news for the second half of the podcast.

So what is in the air, Tristra? What do you think one of the conversations we could expect to happen at Music Tectonics?

[00:01:41] Tristra: Well, I think everyone is going to be talking about AI and music. So this is so it's like, how do we slice and dice this topic?

Yeah, totally.

So I think. You know, the generative side of things, there's a lot of very large tech companies coming out with all sorts of models that are both intriguing and [00:02:00] with, you know, a little bit of what the fuck like, what is this thing supposed to be for?

Why are they making this? But then there's also a lot of smaller players who have very specialized. Models and products and great user interfaces that really want to see if they can get AI into the hands of producers and creators. So that could be everything from the companies that are making different voice models that are much more and they're building platforms so that artists can use these voice models and have licensing regimes for fans that want to play around with these things.

For example there are, yeah. You know, all sorts of interesting ways to integrate AI into production processes. So, you know, whether we're talking about BeatStars and their recent deal with Lemonaide which is a really cool AI startup that's trying to help producers for one, one thing, come up with better melodies and chord progressions.

So really looking closely at how AI can aid creation in a really organic way that boosts humans’ abilities. to get over some of the hurdles that [00:03:00] come up sometimes when you're making a track or trying to write a song versus creating a song sort of from nothing, which has very, very limited use cases.

I think we can all agree on that. So speaking of making music using new things, what about mass music creation, Dmitri? I know this is a topic you love to talk about and think about what's on your mind.

[00:03:19] Dmitri: Yeah, no, I mean, I think it's so interesting. People got really, I don't know, they got a little bit excited, a little disturbed, a little bit concerned about how much more music is going to flow into the streaming services and listening because of artificial intelligence and some AI music making tools or platforms.

But I really think we still haven't seen enough attention given to this larger wave of people just creating music, regardless of, of what tools are out there, whether they're AI powered or not. And so we're not seeing as much attention given to that. And sure. Some of these new tools include AI as a component.

Some of them are things like what you just described, but I think it's really interesting to think about. Just the [00:04:00] switch from laptop music making to mobile phone music making or from software to cloud. There's just been so much that has shifted in that area. And I think that'll continue to be a strong conversation at Music Tectonics as well.

You know, obviously companies like BandLab with their 60 million plus users all over the world. And you know, there's just so many new examples every day about either. Apps or platforms that are making music, making more accessible, or even musical instruments that are allowing people not to have to necessarily have years and years of, of study or mastery.

And so you have just massive amounts of music coming out and, you know, the other piece of this conversation that I think is always interesting, and I think we'll come up with Music Tectonics this year as well, is that. It's not just about like, what is this going to do to the market? What happens when, with market share, when you have this tidal wave of new creators, but also the idea that.

People are feeling connected to [00:05:00] music in a way other than as a passive listener. They're feeling like they can be a part of it, even if they're not going to reach professional level. They're not going to hit a certain bar necessarily in terms of audience building or will commercial radio play them or would a, you know, a label of significance, sign them.

It still says something about shifts in music and innovation that more people can just start. Making music, you know, use a beat, start playing with effects without even knowing how it works.

[00:05:25] Tristra: And it’s really not about music as an end product anymore. It's about music seeping into all sorts of other places.

And you know, just to shift gears a little bit, I guess, I guess I'm about to like yield the paddle and plink the ball back to you.

Dmitri: Ping the pong.

Tristra: Ping the Pong? Is that what they call it? So one thing that I have been obsessed with and anyone who you know, follows me on LinkedIn and sees what I'm writing about can see is I'm really interested in how music is coming into other places, so, and more than just as sort of like a [00:06:00] background texture, so yes, obviously music Is really great.

And for example, in fitness apps, like it's really hard. I find it’s next to impossible to work out without some really great music to motivate me. However, music is becoming more and more you know, baked into the experience in, in new ways. So whether that's adaptive music or music that responds to you know, bio signals, like there are people using things like EEGs and heart rate in order to make music really, really conform to the activity someone's doing and to help, or to help them reach a new physical or mental state.

And I think we're going to see more and more of that. And that's going to be part of the conversation. So I'm thinking of things like Alphabeats and Endel. And there's a bunch of medical music companies that are working with Alzheimer's patients and, or with people recovering from stroke or who are, you know, seeking relief from Parkinson's syndrome.

So there's a lot of really interesting areas where music is going to be a serious component. And thanks to digital music, which [00:07:00] allows us to do all sorts of really cool things match our bodies with the sounds we're hearing and to sort of monitor the reactions to those sounds, we are able to create new products that have a lot more precision.

And I think that's, there's, that's just like a whole new horizon. And I'm sure some of the technology as well as the issues like licensing and you know, what kind of music should we create for these things? We'll, we'll come up a little bit at Music Tectonics. But you know, one of the biggest questions I think everyone always has is, and this was something that was brought up last time at the last conference in the keynote by Mauhan Zonoozy, about market share and growth sectors. It's not exactly how he framed it, but it was kind of like the underpinning question is how can music grow? How can music stay relevant and important and retain its or grow its market share?

In what ways can it grow? And I'm wondering Dmitri, what you think people will be talking about in terms of sort of the overall health of the music industry financially, how things are [00:08:00] growing, where things are growing. What do you think?

[00:08:02] Dmitri: Yeah,you're making this ping pong pretty easy. You're serving some pretty

[00:08:05] Tristra: soft serves over there. I'm a soft serve. I'm a terrible ping pong player, actually.

[00:08:11] Dmitri: Yeah, no, I like what you brought up because it sort of is talking about like how these different music forms for other verticals is maturing in a sense. They're developing to a point where it's not just like playlist for this, playlist for that, playlist for this, playlist for that.

It's more like. These things are actually in tune with what the experiences you mentioned the fitness, the health, the medical, you know, the gaming side of things is another one where we're seeing some really interesting things. I'm sure that will come up at Music Tectonics as well. So there's this sort of maturation of how do you apply music to these verticals?

And then there's your question that you just asked, which is okay. So how will this affect Music Tectonics? The market share of music overall, where will be the growth sectors within music? I mean, luckily, we're seeing streaming. I mean, I think it's luckily working in the music industry. I want to see a rise in income for all, you know, all boats, [00:09:00] but seeing this increase in, in subscription fees for how much benefit and value that fans and listeners, even passive listeners are getting from the streaming services.

I think that's good, but I think partly what's happening is. The streaming services are feeling like it's the baseline for listening to music, but the types of things that you're talking about are adding value to the experience beyond just pick a song or pick a playlist and listen, where it's much more of an interaction.

It's almost like as our friend Jim Griffin from the PHO listserv says music as a service, thinking it that way. I mean, I like to think of it as music as an experience, but his, I think his...

[00:09:37] Tristra: Well, Tim Exile has a great way, right? The multiplayer music model. Like he's really thinking about it as a multiplayer, as opposed to a broadcast experience or a passive experience.

[00:09:46] Dmitri: That's interesting. But that's more about collaboration and interaction for making the music, right?

Tristra: That's true.

Dmitri: Some of the stuff you're talking about is... The music becomes interactive in its own way. So in a sense, the music is in service of whatever you're doing, fitness or getting [00:10:00] well, or being well, or gaming, you know, accelerating your game or, or making your game more enjoyable.

And so, and so forth. So I think what I think is if we can get people to continue to pay these newly slightly tweaked, although when you look at cost of inflation, not very much tweaked, maybe not even tweaked at all.

[00:10:17] Tristra: It's not that much more.

[00:10:18] Dmitri: Yeah. Continue to pay that base layer to just enjoy music in the traditional way of listening to music in your car, listening to music as you're doing things and so forth, but then say, you know what, if you're going to have this next level of experiential music where music is changing for you, or it's custom fit or researched or developed specifically for something functional, like you mentioned, Endel does then maybe you pay another a bit on top of that as well.

So I really think that'll be an interesting topic at Music. Tectonics is how innovation is no longer simply disrupting music and screwing with the economic value of the exchange, but actually adding new value and creating new markets and seeing it as additive. Yeah.


[00:10:58] Tristra: Cause I really love that. And in some ways, a lot of these platforms like Deezer launched its own little health and wellness. extra subscription Live Nation has, has even started their own health and wellness app. So there's, there is this sort of like, let's add more and more layers. I think you used recently a great metaphor, which is a cake. I mean, it's lunchtime. I'm hungry. I have a cake with icing, and that icing gets thicker and thicker until the icing is itself kind of the dessert. And that's really what you're describing. [00:11:29] Dmitri: Yeah, exactly. And so that's where I think the technical shifts and some of the innovation shifts that you talked about in terms of these new ways in which music's getting used is leading to new markets and new growth within the market.

And you know, I think, you know, music is competing with a lot of other things now. And so as music becomes, I've always liked to think of music as this emotional layer. Like, when you think about sync in film and TV, but also in games and fitness and so forth, it's like it adds this other piece that carries the rest of your soul along [00:12:00] with you, you know what I mean?

Like your body might be doing something, your mind might be doing something, but the music frequently is actually bringing your emotional self, the soul into whatever you're doing as well. So so what else, Tristra, let's do a couple more of these. Like, what else do you think is going to be brought up at Music Tectonics?

[00:12:14] Tristra: You know, it's, it hasn't been the easiest time for our startup friends in terms of investments. So there have been, we've had a couple of great years of, of well, investment get seeking investment and, you know, securing investment is never easy. It felt perhaps a little bit easier than it does now. However, it looks like, I mean, fingers crossed that by the time we get to Music Tectonics, there will be some like light. breaking on the horizon. People are going to feel a little bit better about, about the availability of investment, but you know, for startups, you know, and I've heard from our startup friends, various, various ins and outs of this, but it does really make you focus on what you're doing on your business plan on making sure it's going to be profitable.

So perhaps in the long run. this is a good development, [00:13:00] but it's been hurting a lot. It's been hurting for certain for a lot of startups in the last couple quarters. So but I think there are brighter days ahead. I mean, you know, inflation's been tamed. There's a general feeling fewer and fewer of our, of our economist friends are promising an imminent recession for no particular reason.

So I think that should be in general, I think people are feeling like things are looking up a little bit and I hope. By the time, like I said, we get to Santa Monica and the beach, everyone's feeling in slightly cheerier spirits. Now, one big area of investment, Dmitri, that we are really familiar with at Rock Paper Scissors and that has been a little bit extra difficult now has been Web3.

Where has all the, where, it's like, where have all the flowers gone? Where have, where has all the Web3 news gone? It feels like it's been a really rough patch for our Web3 friends. Don't say that three times fast. How are you, how are you seeing that?

[00:13:53] Dmitri: I think it'll definitely be a topic at Music Tectonics. And I think we'll find out a little bit like that. Maybe that in October when [00:14:00] people get together in person, we might find out the real truth about like where, where did the folks that were doing NFT stuff or blockchain stuff or metaverse stuff? I mean I think, you know, I still sort of feel like the Web3 group of stuff didn't necessarily all belong together anyway.

So we might see some of these things kind of extract themselves in relevant ways that wouldn't necessarily tie them to other other pieces. But I think that it's certainly, you know, you want to talk about sobering. It's certainly been something I think for folks that were all in. on NFTs, for example to see that that market really skyrocketed and then really tumbled pretty far.

And then obviously some, some things where you were based in a particular cryptocurrency that lost all of its value and kind of fold it all together or face certain government campaigns that made it really tough to continue operating things, things like that certainly had it took, took its toll, but I think, I think you know, it's all still there. Do you know what I mean? Like people who are running businesses around blockchain or using cryptocurrency in the [00:15:00] mix of what they're doing for the music industry. It's all still present. It's just, it's not about that. That becomes, you know, a tool for getting something done or a framework for getting something done, but it's the, it's the.

What are you getting done part that becomes more relevant and so I think it'll continue to stay alive and emerge and it, you know you know, we had Scott Cohen on the podcast in the past and he, he said, No, this isn't a crypto for winter. This is a, this is like a crypto ice age, but he still strongly believes that we're going to move in a decentralized direction. And I think, you know, wise founders and CEOs and entrepreneurs are still integrating it into their plans. They're not just selling it as the main thing. It's really like, well, what are you doing with blockchain or what are you doing? Cryptocurrencies and seeing how that fits into Current markets rather than future markets is I think a big piece.

So I think, you know, smart folks are integrating it as they go and being and future proofing themselves. because it is going to come back around, I think, but and [00:16:00] I, and I would slice the metaverse stuff off as its own thing, because it can mean so many other things that does not have to be on the blockchain and does not have to, you know, have a crypto focus or anything like that.

And I think that really has to do with, you know, growth in audience. Audience demand for it, as well as like innovation, like supply side driving a market too. And so we'll see what happens with the Apple vision pro. We just launched a great conversation about that with Lee Kebler. So make sure to go back to last week and check out that episode as well about like, what is the potential here?

For, for kind of like this, this new tool that will be used in the AR world. I don't know if you want to call that as part of the metaverse, but I think it all fits together eventually, eventually as well. But the other thing that I would say on this point, Tristra, is I noticed a lot of the Web3 folks all of a sudden are talking about AI.

[00:16:43] Tristra: Yeah.

[00:16:45] Dmitri: And some people are very good at surfing the waves of where the, where the interest lines, whether that's investment interest or media interest or public interest or so. So I get it.

[00:16:53] Tristra: I got to hand it to the folks at certain there’s certain startups that have actually [00:17:00] cultivated a meaningful community of pretty successful NFT artists.

And then provided them with a bunch of AI tools. Cause it's kind of like chocolate and peanut butter. There are two different things, but they go together really well. And you can make really neat generative NFTs using AI, whether it's like generative for images or for, for, you know, taking stems and playing around with them.

So there's all sorts of neat stuff. So you know, I think we're going to see more and more actually like beneficial combos of AI and blockchain because there's some cool things you can do with them together.

[00:17:30] Dmitri: Yeah, and the dream of putting together tools and art and form factors of music that allow an artist to make a better living, have a more direct relationship with fans, it kind of like goes against some of the distancing that happened with the platform. Platformification? Platformification?

[00:17:48] Tristra: Oh my goodness, that's even worse than glocalization.

[00:17:49] Dmitri: Platformification of music that really, like, separated listeners from, you know, creators is super cool. So the dream is there, and some folks have been able to [00:18:00] pull it off, and make a great relationship through the use of NFTs, But they were always messing around with fun visual art to make it something more unique than just just a track and also to make it so that you can make something that was unique. So that even though you're buying something that's easy to replicate digitally, you at least own a fingerprint of some sort that's very unique to whatever it was. So well, this has been fun.

You know, there's so much more we could be talking about.

[00:18:30] Tristra: You know, like we have a whole, we have a whole list of potential ping pong shots that are, that, that we haven't touched on. And I'm sure there's like even more that will be developing before October.

[00:18:40] Dmitri: And, you know, the thing is, if we didn't mention the topic that you're interested in talking about at Music Tectonics, one of the great things about the conference is it is a super informal, great vibe.

All of our venues are on the beach or beachside, there's lots of opportunity. We always build in lots of opportunity between sessions for people to network to go [00:19:00] to the exhibit booth or just, just hang out in one of these beautiful spots we've got and bring up your own topic, you know, and do a lot of schmoozing there too.

So can't wait to see what everyone does there. Amazing. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.

[00:19:19] Eleanor: Do you hear that? It means time is almost up to get your early bird ticket for the Music Tectonics conference. You're listening to this podcast. So you belong at this event right now. You can get a conference ticket for just $249 on August 15th. The price goes up to three 50. So get yours now. at You'll meet your people at the conference, guests you've heard on this podcast, other listeners, and of course our hosts, Dmitri and Tristra. Oh, and guest hosts like Travis and Eleanor. That's me. At musictectonics. com, you'll find out about everything we have planned for October [00:20:00] 24th, 25th, and 26th in Santa Monica, California. And what makes this Crazy Pants Conference the best music innovation event of your year. Get that early bird ticket before time runs out.

[00:20:16] Tristra: So we're back and we're going to do a news roundup. But first, Dmitri, I have a few questions for you.

[00:20:21] Dmitri: Oh, okay.

[00:20:24] Tristra: I'm shining- You guys can't see this because this isn't a video podcast, but I'm shining a bright light in Dmitri's eyes. Do you need your lawyer present? You've okay. So this is seriously now the whole way you have built your businesses is by going to conferences.

And you, you have an amazing I mean, I I've gotten to witness Dmitri at a range of conferences and I was always impressed cause I was like, how does he do that? So, but why have conferences been so important to you and why did you decide to start Music Tectonics a few years ago? What was that? 2019. Feels like it feels like an eternity ago. Yes.

[00:20:58] Dmitri: But honestly, like when I first started Rock [00:21:00] Paper Scissors, the PR firm, the first thing I did was go to a conference. And you know, like if you don't have a network yet or you're building your network, conferences are just such a great place to start those relationships.

It’s almost like you gotta kind of like put your flag out there and see who else is gonna join in with whatever it is you're working on, whether it's you're selling something or you're looking for partners or investors or all that kind of things, you kind of have to just get out there. It's pretty tough to do door to door.

I mean, I did that actually, before I went to my first conference, I went to New York and I started knocking on record label doors and it was kind of cool because I was like, "hey I mean, I'm just going to be in town for a few days. This is my portfolio. This is, this is the PR that I do. We'd love to talk to you about you know, what I can do for you."

And honestly, I was surprised how many people said, "Sure. You know, always looking for more resources and you sound enthusiastic and energetic, let's spend some time together." So I'd bop around New York city, but then I went to my first conference in Europe, actually. And I realized it was so much more exciting to meet that many people in such a short period of time.

So it was a [00:22:00] lot less set up of like scheduling meetings, getting places, just everyone was there. I mean, I know that sounds very like 101 of course, that's why you go to a conference, but it turned out and I started tracking like, where did my leads come from for the business and I realized over time, like the majority of them, more than half, were coming from conferences, and so it was just such a great place to get caught up on the state of the industry, but really it was the networking, running around the trade halls, going up to presenters and building a network.

And then, as some people who've been coming to Music Tectonics year after year know, you start to build a posse of a specific conference and it feels almost like camp. You get back together with those folks and maybe, you know, you go to the same town and you, you practice some of the same rituals, go to the same restaurants or bars or take the same walks or just get a vibe for the place, stay at the same place and Music Tectonics has a really special community as well, but it's built on my passion for how much I've gotten out of [00:23:00] conferences from, from getting business done in a really fun setting. And that's, you know, one of the things we try to do with Music Tectonics is make sure the setting is almost more important than anything else.

And so we've, you know, we've picked places that are really ripe for interaction and picked and sort of developed a schedule that allows for that sort of thing. And so. You know, I had gone to conferences SXSW, Music Biz, music tech conferences, and I realized those were even better as we continue to sort of like focus more and more as a PR company on music tech PR, I realized that the, the more specialized conferences were even better, they were less expensive, more accessible, not as crowded, easier to access people and so forth. So. I wanted to create a conference that I wanted to go to. And so that's pretty much why we started Music Tectonics back in 2019.

And also, cause we wanted to mix it up with some of these practices around the conference that they're kind of subtle, you might not realize they're happening until after you've been to Music Tectonics, that we're kind of like [00:24:00] engineering it for people to simultaneously feel good, get lots done and get business done.

[00:24:06] Tristra: I love that you mentioned the setting because I really think that's an overlooked factor in our, in professional relationships. It's almost like we, we think of, we think of ourselves as content that could be. Posted on any platform or whatever, but you know, if you're in an airless windowless hotel ballroom, probably going to be a little different person than if you're standing next to somebody on a, you know, and looking out at nature, like at the, you know, the Pacific or whatever different conversations will happen.

[00:24:35] Dmitri: Yeah, totally. Yeah. So I'm gonna flip it. I'm gonna flip it.

[00:24:37] Tristra: Hey, it's my turn! Go ahead.

[00:24:38] Dmitri: I'm gonna flip it and ask you a question. Then we'll get into the news roundup. So because I think this will kind of prep us for this conversation. I mean, as you know, Tristra, we started the new Rock Paper Scanner newsletter and I had to create myself, I had to create a whole new method of tracking and scanning news to build that newsletter.

I'm super excited. It allows me to [00:25:00] really dip in and see everything that's going on and really curate it. But you somehow always find a broad swath of articles that include the types of stuff that I'm looking at. Music industry, music trades, but you go so much wider, which means we find other articles in your own method.

How do you find so much interesting off the beaten path news?

[00:25:19] Tristra: Well, first of all, I admit, I have a problem. I, I really, really, really love reading about all sorts of issues. And, you know, we, we tend to think sometimes about our, our work in very narrow terms and the more. We, we, you know, I think if we all devote a little bit of time to thinking, you know, what are these peculiar customs or practices or other industries that are informing or brushing up against what we're doing we can get a really more nuanced and exciting exciting thing.

So part of it is self interest in that I at RPS have to come up with a lot of ideas and talk to clients who are doing all sorts of different things and try to coax out. Things that are really different and unique about what they're [00:26:00] doing. And to do that, I need to read about everything from like crazy internet culture to scientific discovery.

And fortunately, all those things make me very, very happy. So in terms of just basic process, I've subscribed to basic, I would probably say it's in the hundreds of newsletters. I don't read everyone every day. And fortunately they're not all daily but I go through and I at least take a look at the content and see if it's something that piques my interest.

And then I try to share it with our team here and with anyone else I can think of clients or with you know, unfortunate friends that are constantly getting emails from me with links. And we also, I also throw it into the notorious Slack channel that's come up already in this conversation so that it can go into the scanner.

But I think one of the best ways to go about doing that is just to not expect yourself to be able to always keep on top of everything and to never decide that something is completely irrelevant to your work unless you do have just like your job [00:27:00] is to understand you know, best accounting practices in publishing royalty administration.

Then, you know, yeah, you gotta, you know exactly what you need to learn and keep on top of. But if you're thinking more broadly, it can really, really help and it can add a lot of interest and spice to what you're doing. So I don't know if that's a helpful answer or the answer that you were looking

[00:27:20] Dmitri: for.

I mean, I, I don't know if it needs to be a helpful answer because I'm, I mean, I'm curious.

I'm always curious because You're such an asset to Rock Paper Scissors with the way that you approach stuff and how much information you're able to sort of scan process, curates and share, and then, you know, educate the rest of us on the team about what you're learning about along the way. And it's so different from my method and it's so different from the stuff that I come up with.

So I think together, you know, between the two of us, it’s really been fun to curate the Rock Paper Scanner newsletter, which we'll talk about in just a minute. We're going to take one more quick break and then let's talk about the latest newsletter and give people a taste of what's there.

We'll be right back.[00:28:00]

Are you ready for Music tectonics pre conference event, the shock before the quake? It's happening online, September 13th, from 9am to 12pm Pacific, that's 12 to 3pm Eastern or five to 8pm UK. Mark Mulligan of MIDiA Research will kick us off talking about the deep trends, shaping music and innovation.

If you've ever seen him present, you know, Mark's going to bring an incredible slide deck full of data insights powered by MIDiA's research. Then, get a first look at where the most cutting edge new ideas are bubbling up. Hear pitches from the semi finalists in our Swimming with Narwhals startup competition and the feedback from the jury, including Juliette Rolnick, the VC investor at BDMI and Tracy Maddux, the chief commercial officer of Downtown Music.

And they'll stick around for a Q and A with the audience. Now, how can you be a part of this event? Get a ticket for the Music Tectonics conference at Music Tectonics dot. Everyone who registers for the conference gets into the online pre conference. So go [00:29:00] there now, MusicTectonics. com.

Okay. We're back.

And this is kind of a fun episode for us. At least I hope it is for you in podcast land because we're just vibing on all sorts of ideas, you know, what. What to expect conversations to expect that Music Tectonics, what our approaches are to scanning the horizon and finding stuff out. And now, you know, I kind of want to give you guys a sense of what's in the Rock Paper Scanner.

It's a newsletter that we just started about a month ago that you can sign up for free at that's And you know, it gives us an excuse to do a little news roundup of articles that appeared in last week's scanner. So let's just open it up here, Tristra, and have that conversation.

When you look at the last week, what are some of the articles that we should tell folks about?

[00:29:52] Tristra: I'm going to pitch a bit of, well, I don't know if this is a ping pong term, but I'm going to I'm going to throw in a little bit of a curve ball because I have this, [00:30:00] I don't know. I love to find out about corners of the music industry that I don't deal with every day. And so there's a fun article on it that's called "An Updated Look at Artist Merch Trends in 2023." And a lot of these trends are not going to surprise anyone like everybody, newsflash: black t shirts, medium and large. Like that's what sells the most.

But there's a lot of, there's some fun additional things. So like the number three best selling item for different bands and genres is completely a wild card and there's lots of exotic and crazy things and you know, but merch is something that the people who are involved in think about a lot, but the rest of us don't think about it, even though it's really important to artists.

So I think it's really fun just to see what's going on in that realm. So definitely check out that article, and if you're in country music, you definitely need a hoodie that will sell well.

[00:30:54] Dmitri: Yeah, you know that's the thing about, yeah, that's the thing about the scanner is some of it's like, you know, like it has [00:31:00] sections.

The top section is called industry revenue and like this last week we got Believe revenues up 17. 9% year on year in first half of 2023 from Music Business Worldwide. Actually, all of the articles about industry revenue came from Music Business Worldwide this week.

[00:31:15] Tristra: A lot of earnings calls this week.

[00:31:18] Dmitri: And they're really great about reporting on that. That's the other thing about the scanner. It’s a great chance for us to really read and share what articles we're reading in various places, but they also talked about these are had lower revenue forecasts, but Reservoir revenues grew 31% year over year and in Q2 and "Live Nation's booming earnings aren't just a post COVID rebound and four of the things we learned from the company's Q2 earnings call." So Music Business Worldwide does a great job at covering that, so if you're not able to like read everything there I'll, we'll frequently pull that, that, that part of it from there. We do an investments, acquisitions, and partnerships section which is part of the newsletter that goes to clients.

We have kind of two versions of the newsletter. But, but then there's like all sorts of other stuff [00:32:00] that we're tracking on. And one that kind of caught my eye just because I wasn't tracking on it and I was like, well, I'm sure other people who are listening to this already know, but Amazon has something called Amp, which is this under the radar app that's trying to reinvent radio. We read about it from Engadget. If you want to DJ with music and share it, you know, like live stream it, just the audio, you can go into Amazon's Amp product and do that. I had no idea that Amazon had this. It's so interesting to me to see Amazon building other things. Obviously, they bought Twitch.

So that's, that's kind of a big, a big deal and has been for a while. But you know, I still think of Amazon and the retail side of things or the, you know, cloud server stuff.

[00:32:44] Tristra: Streaming, streaming music for boomers.

[00:32:47] Dmitri: Yeah. Well, see, I don't know. That's not as much on my, on my radar.

[00:32:52] Tristra: No, some of my best friends are boomers, so please save your angry emails.

[00:32:57] Dmitri: And you know, there's still all the, all the [00:33:00] smart the smart speaker stuff, you know?

[00:33:02] Tristra: All the Alexa stuff, which apparently Alexa is like, a country music you know, like it's like a country music portal. It's like one of the most popular genres that people search for.

[00:33:11] Dmitri: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:33:13] Tristra: It's super fun. Well, the Amp thing is so interesting. I think, now I could be getting this totally wrong, so along with your angry things about boomers, you can, you can send me a note about how I suck when it comes to remembering the history of Amazon Amp. But I recall it was partly in reaction to that big audio craze that happened around the clubhouse.

For a second there it was like, Oh my God, we must have audio, audio is amazing live audio. And this was Amazon's answer to that, which was kind of innovative and interesting. And I think there's some pretty cool creators that have gotten involved in it that are doing some neat stuff.

But yeah, it's neat. I, I mean, I even thought about wouldn't it be fun to try it out. So if anyone's tried it out, let me know. Cause I, I want to know what the experience is like.

[00:33:54] Dmitri: And they're not the only ones, obviously, you know, Stationhead's been around for a while. Turntable, the all new [00:34:00] Turntable Live is back and doing stuff and it doesn't, it's, they're still playing with the audio the voice mic part of it, but it's a fun way to sort of DJ with friends. And I just like the fact that there's, you know, new innovation, new ways in which people are. You know, messing around with music and that's where the multiplayer, the Tim Exile multiplayer network on the listening side, it's like, wait, are you listening or are you playing, you know, like when you DJ and stuff like that.

[00:34:28] Tristra: I think that the blurriness around curation is starting to get really interesting because I think we're really going to start seeing how people putting stuff together is no longer going to be just like setting up a playlist that looks like kind of like a spreadsheet, you know, there's going to be all these interesting new experiences, but that's a whole other conversation,

[00:34:47] Dmitri: you know, and when we brought up our kind of like topics that might be discussed at Music Tectonics, this kind of scanning the news is another interesting way to sort of think about what, you know, what's on people's minds or what will be on people's minds. And I've noticed just [00:35:00] in this, this last week scanner, there were a couple car related things. BMW and Tomorrowland create a whole new experience with the help of artificial intelligence.

That's. That was one. And then I think Sirius XM is using data to drive growth beyond the car. That was in AdWeek. The first article was in Benzinga. com. So that's kind of interesting to look at too. Like those other verticals we didn't bring up is automotive. And I know that you know, some of the folks at, at Music Tectonics in the past have been doing things with cars.

I know LyricFind is, it'll be interesting to see what they say.

[00:35:30] Tristra: It is going to be, I mean, if there's any place that any space that's like totally ripe for better voice commands and other things like that. It's the car. And like audio is just so made for driving. It'll be really interesting, interesting to see what crazy stuff could happen in that sort of mobile listening space. Not like mobile as in cell phone, but literally you can drive it around space. It feels like we're really there, there's a lot, I mean, there's a lot of room for improvement with voice assistants, says the person who screams [00:36:00] constantly at her car for not playing the music she's asked for.

But I also think there's just like all sorts of other interesting things that could happen. And I know that there’s integrations that have occurred and I'm sure there's lots more coming. The Tomorrowland one is interesting. You know, why do that in a car? Or is it, you know, BMW sponsoring that with Tomorrowland?

Like what's the connection between? It's interesting.

[00:36:23] Dmitri: I think it's more of a brand activation.

[00:36:25] Tristra: Yeah, it's more of a brand play then.

[00:36:26] Dmitri: But it shows that car companies are paying attention to music music experiences as it relates to who, How they want to be branded, you know, music is cool, right?

[00:36:36] Tristra: You know, and that, you know, that's how I decide what car to buy is. It's like, did they sponsor a festival? Well, yeah. So I had a great time at that festival. So I think I'll get a BMW. That's definitely how the decision happens. But anyway,

[00:36:48] Dmitri: I have a hunch the experience is a little more than that, but you know, but you brought up the voice thing. There was another article from TechCrunch about Artifact, which was, is the personalized news app [00:37:00] that the Instagram founders released recently where they add AI text to speech voices, including Snoop Dogg and Gwyneth Paltrow. I can just imagine you're reading the New York Times in Snoop Dogg's voice.

I mean, you're listening, you know, or something like that.

What other articles from the scanner caught your eye this last week, Tristra?

[00:37:18] Tristra: Well, I think this one may have I mean, this one definitely was when I was thinking about, about turning brain activity into music.

[00:37:24] Dmitri: Yeah, I got that one from you, I think!,

[00:37:26] Tristra: the, the way there’s been a lot of research, both, both on like language and music. So how can we use AI to translate? The brain activity that we can detect into back into sort of some approximation or simulation of the audio source that caused it or that, I don't know. I mean, if you hear a song in your head now, maybe thanks to this Google study, there's technology that can let other people hear it, but what really intrigues me is if we can do that, like, what could we do to make new kinds of music, right?

As more of a generative thing, as opposed to just like, I can, you know, Oh, I [00:38:00] can tell you're thinking about Rick Astley, like you're Rick rolling yourself in your mind. You know there, I think that's a, such an interesting space. And as things like EEGs get more accessible, it's going to be really, really cool to see what wild stuff we can come up with.

You know, can we finally play our brains like instruments?

[00:38:20] Dmitri: I mean, that's the other thing about this Rock Paper Scanner for me, when I look at it I mean, there's like 20 or 30 articles in each one. And when I look at sort of what's in the content, we have a section- so I mentioned we have an Industry Revenue section, Investments and Acquisitions section- Big picture is about like the context of the music business, live music, social media platforms. And then there's the Fresh Flavor section and the fresh flavor is where I was putting all this Web3 and metaverse stuff. Like what is the new stuff that's emerging? A lot of that stuff has disappeared from any of the news coverage and there's so much AI stuff in here.

So we have Meta opens framework for generating sounds and music from TechCrunch. "Meta's AI music generator could be the new synthesizer- [00:39:00] or just Muzak" from The Verge. The article you were talking about with the brain activity and music that was from DJ techreviews. com. Not something I read every day, but super happy to have that in the mix.

And then TuneCore released kind of a survey on artificial intelligence in music and pointing out that a lot of artists are already saying they use AI to make music.

[00:39:21] Tristra: It was somewhere around 30% and I was like, that feels so low. Like, maybe, maybe I'm in a, in an echo chamber or a bubble, but it seems to me like that.

No, I mean, I'm sure that the not, not criticizing the survey or Tunecore at all, but the number seemed to me strikingly low considering all the stuff that like Splice has done. It's for just off the top of my head and just how long AI has been around LANDR. I mean, it’s like, that's why.

[00:39:46] Dmitri: Well, but you have to remember like some artists play the guitar, you know, and then they, and then they'll send somebody else to master it or mix it or, or something else. So just, it just, I think it just depends where, where they are. But I think it was [00:40:00] like, yeah, Tunecore reported 27% have used some type of AI music tools. 50% are aware and engaged in AI and have a positive perception of its benefits and opportunities.

39% are unaware and apathetic toward AI, have fears and concerns with the technology. So it's it's a bit all over the map. But and then the flip side is, this is self reported, right? Maybe they used LANDR and they didn't, they didn't know it was AI. Like, I don't know, it's a website. What are you talking about?

I didn't do any large language models or you know download a bunch of songs to reference. No, I just put it in.

[00:40:36] Tristra: Exactly. I think that's, that's like why that, that statistic feels a little low is because they're probably people are interacting with AI without realizing it, which is kind of maybe the best way to interact with AI.

[00:40:48] Dmitri: Hey, there was another article, there's another section we have called Extra Credit, and it's sort of like, sometimes it's sometimes it's just like too fun and cutesy, it doesn't fit into any of those sections, but sometimes it's more like parallel universes, like other [00:41:00] verticals that have not exactly to do with music but feel relevant.

So, for example, I think one of us found a Washington Post article called ""Jingles are out. Sonic identities like the Netflix Tudum are in" but then the one, both of us flagged from RAIN news, the radio trade mag "Agency giant Dentsu study: Audio ads drive attention better than other platforms."

[00:41:22] Tristra: I know that was really exciting. That was really, really exciting. And I kind of wish I wish people were maybe leaning into that a little bit more because I don't know, not that we necessarily want to base the entire music industry on, on ad models, but that's a pretty exciting. That's a pretty exciting bit of information right there.

[00:41:39] Dmitri: Well, I mean, there's always going to be a mix of people willing to pay subscriptions to get like a premium experience for those who don't and who are willing to pay with their eyeballs until they bleed. Or in this case, their ear balls, that's exactly, I love that word.

So you know,

[00:41:54] Tristra: The pain in my ear ball, yes.

[00:41:55] Dmitri: You know, nice, nice to see that audio a k a music plus [00:42:00] podcasts have sanctioned, but it do have, you know, do you have some potential for additional kind of revenue streams into the platforms and things like that? I don't know. I think we just wanted to give folks a taste of kind of what, what kinds of news we're tracking in the way we used our Rock Paper Scanner newsletter as a way to go through that.

So if you, you know, like the podcast, yeah. But you also like listening to this kind of news, you can, or keeping track of this kind of news, you can sign up for the scanner. Again, that's at RPScanner, because it stands for Rock Paper Scanner, RPScanner. And then if you are interested in conversations and meeting people and talking to people and getting business done, you should come to the Music Tectonics conference, Music Tectonics. com. And see if Tristra and I are right or better yet, come and bring the topics you're interested in. Bring it to our community of music innovators and check things out. I'm looking forward to the conference. Are you looking forward to the conference, Tristra?

[00:42:56] Tristra: I always look forward to the conference.

It's it's always a [00:43:00] really wonderful time to just sit down with some folks that either I know or I've never just met and talk about the things that, you know, honestly, I can't talk to with the, to the normies about. You know, I want to hear my thoughts about AI data sets. When I start talking to my, my neighbor about AI data sets, he, for some reason he goes inside and locks the door. I don't, I don't understand.

[00:43:24] Dmitri: Don't invite him to the conference.

[00:43:26] Tristra: I don't think he wants to come.

[00:43:29] Dmitri: All right. Well, we're looking forward to seeing the rest of you there. Cause obviously you just listened to 45 minutes of us to geeking out on the music news music industry news and so forth.

You're in the right place and we appreciate you so much. And we can't wait to hang out. with you with some warm ocean breeze in October, hanging out, having a taco, having a drink and schmoozing with our whole international music innovation posse. Hey, Tristra, thanks for taking the time. I had a blast talking to you as always.

[00:43:54] Tristra: Yeah. Same, same here. I always enjoy these little ping pong matches. I don't know who won. But yeah, [00:44:00] but you owe me a diet Dr. Pepper.

[00:44:05] Dmitri: Thanks for listening to Music Tectonics. If you like what you hear, please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. We have new episodes for you every week. Did you know we do free monthly online events that you are lovely podcast listeners can join, find out more at Music Tectonics. com and while 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.

You're listening to Music Tectonics.[00:45:00]

Music Tectonics at NAMM 2023

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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