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  • Writer's pictureEric Doades

What’s in Store for ‘24?

Unlock the secrets behind the rapidly evolving music tech industry as Tristra and Dmitri take you on a journey through the latest innovations and investment trends.

We're dissecting the major shake-ups caused by recent buyouts and what they mean for the future of music technology. Against the backdrop of shifting investment landscapes, we find a glimmer of hope in the resilient end-of-year investment surges, especially in the exciting realm of Web 3. Venture with us as we explore what the latter half of 2024 might hold for music tech pioneers riding the wave of innovation.

Next, we discuss the role of AI in music that goes beyond beats and melodies. We're peeling back the layers of how artificial intelligence is setting the stage for a revolution in rights management and financial transparency for artists and industry moguls alike. Hear our take on the crucial need for the music community to embrace AI's power in deconstructing data complexities, and how this technological marvel is paving the way for new revenue optimization and precise royalty distribution. 

Finally, we look towards the horizon of music innovation. Imagine instruments with new capabilities birthed from hardware advancements and AI, enabling a symphony of possibilities for musical expression. We're discussing the transformative potential of MIDI 2.0, the enchantment of integrating music with immersive media, and the futuristic concept of ambient computing turning spaces into interactive musical canvases. Explore what lies ahead in the intersection of music and technology, and how these advances promise to amplify the experiences of music creators and fans alike in this week’s episode.

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Episode Transcript

Machine transcribed

0:00:10 - Dmitri

Welcome back to Music Tech Tonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm host Dmitri Vietze, the CEO and founder of Rock Paper Scissors, the PR firm that specializes in music, tech and innovation, and you're Tristra Newyear Yeager. 

0:00:24 - Tristra

Tristra Newyear Yeager. I am the Chief Strategy Officer at Rock Paper Scissors. 

0:00:29 - Dmitri

It's 2024. How did that happen, Tristra? 

0:00:33 - Tristra

I don't know, I think I blinked for too long. 

0:00:35 - Dmitri

So for today's episode, Tristra and I are going to do some hot takes on what we see emerging this year in music tech and music innovation. We just completed a complete year of putting together the Rock Paper Scanner newsletter, which is a Friday collection of all the news of the week, and Tristra and I are constantly absorbing the news of the music industry, as well as parallel industries and tangents, all of which helps us guide our work with our PR clients at Rock Paper Scissors, as well as the programming for the Music Tech Tonics Conference and this podcast and online events. So, as we kick off the new year, let's talk about what's front of mind for what we see emerging in music innovation in 2024. 

0:01:15 - Tristra

So, Dmitri, why don't you start us off here? I'm curious what are your thoughts about the investment market for music tech companies? What's your hot take? 

0:01:25 - Dmitri

All right. So for me, when I think about the market overall, it's kind of not exactly an investment, but I guess it is. In a way it's really about the consolidation of music tech. This year we've seen a series of acquisitions, more so than in recent years. Bandcamp was acquired by Song Trader. Just at the end of the year we saw Rotor Videos, the AI video making platform, acquired by Lyric Find, the kind of financial management company. Hi-fi was acquired by Block, the owner of Title. 

This is one that I don't know if everyone who listens to Tech Tonics would have heard about, but Hal Leonard, the sheet music company, was actually acquired by Muse, which is the company behind music creation software like Audacity. Earlier in the year One, Sheet, was acquired by Chartmetric, Jimmy Radio, Rune Banzugo, Jukebox, the social listening platform. Those were all acquired by various companies, not only one company. So there were a lot of acquisitions. I think it's a sign that certain companies are either maturing and kind of are ready for a strategic owner that's different than the founders, or some of them are having some turbulence. They kind of ran out of runway. They still had something available for somebody to buy and got acquired, and I think that is going to continue, at least in the first half of 2024,. 

This consolidation is going to continue with the maturation of other aspects of the music industry that I'm sure we'll be talking about later on the show. We'll see either some more fire sales and I'm not saying all the ones that I mentioned were fire sales, but some of them maybe were as well as just companies that are playing larger ecosystem plays will have a reason to bring on another department. It's that question of buyer build and sometimes it's just quicker and some of these kind of investment plays as larger companies to just go ahead and buy something that has not only an existing product but an existing brand and an existing audience or marketplace or consumption group or something like that. So that's what I'm thinking is going to be kind of a continued pattern in 2024. But speaking of investment, I'm curious, Tristro, if you have kind of a hot take on this. 

0:03:48 - Tristra

Well, I think we're seeing so much murder and acquisition activity because of the high interest rates and the resulting sort of slowdown in investment from private equity and venture capital. That seems to be those two things seem to be connected and you know, I'm not an economist. I should just I should just put that on like over my desk not an economist, but from what I see and hear out there, the, you know, the public markets have done really well in 2023. So it's going to be interesting to see if the private markets pick up a little bit more, if we start to see more investment. And we did see a little flurry of investment activity, especially in Web 3 at the end of the year, which I found really surprising. 

The one that comes to mind off the top of my head is, you know, over 13 million to medallion, you know just some which is a fan sort of fan based artist, fandom, kind of platform. Sorry, medallion, if I'm getting your business model totally wrong, but it's so that there's something really interesting happening and I think we're about to see. Probably, you know, you're first seeing these sort of first two quarters of continued consolidation and, I'm sure, as sort of investment ramps back up and people are feeling a little bit more optimistic. I think we're going to see in the latter half of the year more, a lot more, investment announcements and new startups kind of coming out of stealth mode with some money in their pockets and stuff like that. So I think we're looking at a rosy year for at least through, you know, the last quarter of 2024. I think we're looking at a much rosier year with a lot of exciting opportunities for innovators. 

0:05:28 - Dmitri

I think you're right. I mean, even at the very tail end of the year, there were several more investments. There was a period, kind of in the middle of 2023, where it was very quiet on the investment front, but Breaker raised a couple million dollars at the end of the year. Prismfm raised five million dollars. Let's see I'm just looking through my rock paper scanner history here to see Baton raised four million dollars at the end of the year, or at least announced it anyway. There was Sona another I think another Web3 music streaming platform was also raising money then. So I think you're right, I think it started to pick up and we'll probably see some more of that happening in 2024. I hope so. So let's move on to another one Tristra. What about music streaming? What's the pulse check there? 

0:06:20 - Tristra

Well, I've been thinking a lot about streaming with some of the announcements that came at the end of last year, both on the sort of business side and on the business model side. 

I've been thinking about a lot from an artist's perspective, from a creator's perspective, and of course, there's an ongoing wailing and gnashing of teeth some of it very justified, about payouts and the inability to make a viable living based on streaming Though I think we're going to talk later on in the episode a bit about looking at that. 

So myopically is not very wise. In general, I think streaming is going to be seen as a loss leader for a lot of artists, so especially those who are emerging or who have very niche audiences, streaming will just be a way to kind of plant a little flag out there on the internet, but all of their business and creative activity is really going to be happening elsewhere. In some ways it's like, if we compare it to publishing, I think it's going to be the way some people will eventually throw a book up on Kindle, but they're not using the sort of platform driven Kindle exclusive method for reaching an audience. They're going to be reaching an audience in different ways. Streaming is going to be just kind of like one of many streams that artists are looking at, and it may not even be the most important one for a large group of artists out there. What do you think, dimitri? What's your hot take? 

0:07:44 - Dmitri

on streaming. Okay, well, I think it's kind of related to that. As streaming peaks labels I think your perspective is a little bit on the artist side. I think labels will want to do more experiments and monetization, and I'm sure this is related to what you're thinking about too. But I think there's the aspect of sort of like, what does that experimentation look like? But I think from a music tech perspective, it means labels may be more open to trying some things out in 2024. The licensing conversations will not be cheaper. 

I don't think music tech startups are going to have an easier time funding the licensing relationships, but I think the conversations may be moved a little more quickly than they have in previous kind of disruptive moments, because labels now are like they get it, Like streaming brought them back into the business. 

Spotify, followed by Apple and Google, YouTube and Title and all these other DSPs kind of brought the music industry back to oh, let's pay for this and labels benefited quite a bit. Labels that were able to make the transition to streaming benefited quite a bit and learned how that worked and sorted that out. But now that it's peaking, I think labels are going to start to look for more opportunities that are different from what's happening right now. I think they learned enough times that you can't just wait it out completely, because you kind of miss the next wave if you wait it out completely, and that's why I think they're going to continue to keep the prices of licensing. The cost of licensing is probably not going to go down, but they're not going to hold it up in legal as much. Now that we've kind of made the complete transition to digital and streaming, there are going to be ways to license digitally and streaming in new places. So yeah, that's what I think. 

0:09:37 - Tristra

Yeah, and that completely harmonizes with all you know what we heard at the Music Tech Tonics conference this autumn in 2023, a lot of very positive signs from people at major labels saying, hey, we're open, come talk to us, and that was really, really exciting to hear. It feels like a sea change. This is super fun. 

0:09:57 - Dmitri

Um, we've got other topics to jump into, but first we're going to take a quick break. We've always got upcoming news and announcements for you. 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. I launched rock paper scanner, a free newsletter you can get in your inbox every Friday morning. Check out bitly slash RP scanner. That's BIT dot LI slash RP scanner. 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 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 tech tonics podcast listener would want to know. Open a browser right now and punch in bitly slash RP scanner to sign up right now. Go ahead, hit pause and go to bitly slash RP scanner. We'll find the episodes blog post on music tech tonicscom and find that link. Happy scanning, but for now, happy listening. 

Okay, we are back. Tristra, where are we with this? 

0:11:11 - Tristra

So, dmitri, let's talk about the two little letters on everyone's lips in 2023 and what we're going to be looking at in 2024. Of course, that's AI. You've done a ton of exploring of AI and music, both with our PR clients and at the tech tonics conference. Where are you seeing things going? Where's the heat really going to be in the world of AI and music in 2024? 

0:11:34 - Dmitri

I mean, I think 2023 was definitely the year of AI on everybody's mind, just like in prior years. We saw Web 3, metaverse, live streaming, tiktok. Those were kind of if you go in reverse order of the yearly conversation, the big topic was AI. But I think the conversation kind of got to a level where people were first concerned about how disruptive it would be. But I think there was a good amount of conversation saying, well, is it all going to be disruptive? It's all going to be bad. And I think 2024 is going to put kind of the primer coat on the resolution of that conversation, which is AI is going to be seen as an opportunity, not solely as a threat. I think it will continue to be a threat in some ways, but as far as record labels are concerned, artists are concerned and rights holders, it seemed like we were getting very close in 2023 to a consensus that there's an opportunity here. 

And I even heard in one conversation somebody referred to AI as a wet dream for record labels and I was like, wait a second. This is a different kind of conversation about a disruptive technology. If everybody's concerned about the fake drakes taking over the streaming services and dominating everything and all of a sudden, who owns the market share of streaming, the point made could be that record labels can now take this existing IP and repurpose it in ways, now that streaming has peaked, repurpose it in lots of interesting ways that increase fan engagement, not decrease it, and extend. It's like a product extension. You take the main song and then you turn it into infinite other things that fans or listeners or prosumers or people who always wanted to make music but couldn't pull it together on their own can now feel like they're really. They're inside the song instead of outside of the song. 

0:13:30 - Tristra

Yeah, it's so fascinating. In some ways, I think TikTok really opened up labels' eyes to the magic of catalog and especially really deep back catalog stuff that they never thought had perhaps market potential in this environment and all of a sudden the kids were really into like Harry Belafonte and Fleetwood Mac, and so in some ways the scales fell from their eyes and I think they saw like we can make a lot of cool stuff with this older music and I think that's really exciting. It's great that people are listening across eras and it's great that labels are letting or kind of opening these maybe not the floodgates, but they're opening the doors to these new iterations of recordings. 

One thing that I wanted to bring up that I don't hear talked about as much but I find really interesting is the fact that AI might let us basically do what's been really hard to do in the business for decades, and that's audit. So AI in some ways could be one of the technologies that bring, if things fall into place, could that bring that usher in a lot more of that sort of golden age of transparency that has been discussed a lot in the last 20 years or so since music started to go digital, and I think that's a really hopeful thing for artists, for labels, for publishers, for everyone involved that we could start to really make matching, for example, of compositions and recordings, a thousand times easier. We could make it a lot easier for teams to hunt down revenue streams and to investigate exactly how you know where usage is coming from and what it means. So maybe we're finally reaching the era where we can have some real business insights and not just a bunch of data that we have to then analyze and try to interpret. 

0:15:20 - Dmitri

Yeah, it's like the fragmentation was one of the biggest challenges of the current digital era in music. That music is all of a sudden being used in so many different places. Even promotion, even the marketing side, is fragmented. Where you know you're as an artist or a label or a manager, you're having to put out information and new types of content and all this stuff constantly, but it's so many different pieces all over the place. It's like how do you put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and so it would be interesting to see if we're now reaching the place where AI is getting tamed enough to put it to the purposes of good. As it relates to what you're talking about in terms of finding the transparency, like finding out where's the music being used, what royalties are being paid and what royalties are not, what is AI guessing? What are the estimates of where you're missing opportunities, whether it's complete revenue streams or whether it's actual payouts? You know like you're aware of the revenue stream, but you're not getting all that you're supposed to get as well, and I think both of those topics whether it's labels and artists and seeing AI as an opportunity versus a threat, or this idea of using AI to capture money to me is a moment. This is a moment where I think all artists and record labels and managers and publishers, any kind of rights holders or team members need to readjust their lens a little bit. Twist the little thing on your binoculars to get a little more focus. This is one of those waves that is not going to stop right. 

What's happening with all the innovation around artificial intelligence is not the genies out of the bottle. There's no putting it back in, and what we've seen over the past 25 years at Rock Paper Scissors is the people who jump on those waves the earliest are the ones that benefit the most, whether it was user generated content, videos and how they use music, whether it was social videos and how things became viral, whether it was streaming services, whether it was downloads, whether it was, you know, changing to other formats of physical mediums, the ones who get the timing right, as in early, are the ones that benefit the most. So this is your. This is your sign. If you're waiting for a sign about what you should do about AI, this is your sign. The Music Tech Tonics podcast is saying don't ignore it. Don't pretend like it's going to go away. Don't pretend like it's solely going to be a problem. Learn it, jump on it, because it's going to be a huge wave that's going to create monetary opportunities for music creators and music rights holders. 

0:17:50 - Tristra

Find your AI. Find your inner AI and then find your outer AI, but find it, find the way it can work for you. 

0:17:57 - Dmitri

So a lot of this is woven into something that you've been exploring for a while, for the past few months, especially writing about it, researching it, which is fandom. What's your hot take on where fandom is going in 2024? Tristra, I'll tell you right up front, I don't have a hot take on fandom, so I'm relying on you for this one. Maybe I have more than one. 

0:18:16 - Tristra

Well, I'll try to make it like extra, extra hot this take. Well, first of all, super fans, fandom. It's always mattered in the industry. There's always been discussion of how to find fans, what fans are, what they're doing, how to track them, how to get them excited, etc. Etc. But what we're starting to see now, with all this usage data and with sort of streaming as a massive revenue stream not really working out for some artists, is this hope that there are these super fans out there and there's, you know, folks like Tatiana Cirisano has done some great, great writing about this. I totally check her out. She's with Midia. We can link to her in the show notes. 

But one of the problems is we know kind of these people exist. Maybe we have some data around their usage and some other habits. But what I'm really hoping in 2024 is we really dig into who the heck are these people. What turned someone from I don't know, a 10-year-old in Kansas City who hears a BTS song or hears a Blackpink song and is all of a sudden really, really, really into K-pop, will go into ESPAs metaverse, will study Korean with BTS members Like who? How does that happen? How does that? What's the psychological shift? Or how does someone just become a fan of the music and not a particular artist Like? There's many, many layers to this and I really feel like this is a great opportunity in the coming year to dig a little deeper into the qualitative and the psychology of fandom and, hopefully, with some of these new, with things like AI, new insights, where fans are starting to become creators and really expressing themselves more, not just like being a passive audience that's being broadcast through broadcast, too, through social media or through traditional media we really get to see, like, what's making people tick, like what is it about? And it could be a thousand different things, but hopefully they'll fall into some categories. Anyway, I'm really fascinated by what makes someone go from zero to 60 when it comes to being a fan, and part of that, you know, and this is we're talking a bit about fragmentation. 

For a second, in terms of streaming and marketing, I really think we're going to see a big uptake and interest in really really direct sales as a mindset. So, instead of even a platform like Bandcamp, which I know has been a real boon for a lot of artists making really amazing, culturally important or audience specific music, we're going to really start seeing artists going directly to people and not necessarily by. You know, we talked about a lot of. There's a lot of talk around direct to fan with sort of the social media, you know efflorescence that happened what 10, 12 years ago. But that's not really what I'm talking about. I'm talking about people making really direct connections and maybe that even involves a physical exchange of products, so sort of the reanalogization. That's sort of what we've seen with vinyl, but perhaps with a whole other range of different things, and the direct to fan model has been thriving in certain pockets, like there are people who've built their music careers around live streaming, there's people who've built it around NFTs, I really. 

But I think we're going to see this whole mindset kind of spreading wider in the industry as independent artists gain more and more clout. So this is going to be a really, really interesting year and there's going to be incredible tensions between what platforms need and what artists need. So I'm really excited to see how this goes. But I think it's for those of you who are creators out there or are close companions or or encouragers, coaches, managers of creators, in some ways this is what artists really part of, what artists really love. They love the control of their work and they love the human connection. 

A lot of platforms don't provide very satisfying human connection. I mean Spotify sorry other streamers being perhaps in that category for a lot of artists, but we you know artists really want other people and not just to pay them compliments or give them thumbs up, but really want to hear what, how their art is affecting them. So this might be the year we start to have a more traceable record of that as fans become creators. So those are my crazy hot takes and I want everyone to get a little bit of a break now after after me rambling philosophically for a moment. These are great Trotra. These are awesome. 

0:22:57 - Dmitri

Now you always get me thinking, which is super, super fun too, and I think the Music Tech Tonics podcast community knows and comes to us for these kind of big ideas, kind of stretch a little bit. Yeah, you wrote a little bit about that direct to fan one at Music X, right? 

0:23:13 - Tristra

Yes, I wrote a little piece and it's kind of an interesting experiment in comparing book publishing or, you know, storytelling, direct storytelling and the music world, and there's a lot of similar talk going on in both industries for some very similar reasons. So if you want to see a full blown expose of my thoughts, go there and maybe we can link to that as well. But first, what do you think? Do we need to give everybody a little bit of a breather here? 

0:23:40 - Dmitri

Yeah, when we get back. I want to talk a little bit more broadly. We've got a few more hot takes up. I think we want to go over around the bigger topic of where innovation is going to come from in 2024. We'll be right back. 

0:23:52 - Speaker 1

You've heard Dimitri and Tristra on the podcast, now coming out with them. I'm talking about seismic activity Music Tech Tonics 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. See upcoming topics on our schedule and register for our next event at MusicTechTonicscom. 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. See you soon. 

0:24:37 - Dmitri

Okay, Tristra, here's a biggie. We might have to ping pong a few times on this one. Where do we think innovation will come from in 2024? Why don't you kick it off, and I think we'll probably have a couple to go back and forth on this one. 

0:24:47 - Tristra

Oh yeah, so there is that is such a great question. I think there's a lot of concern. Some of the conversation around AI music has expressed this sort of undercurrent of worry about sort of for a lack of a better way to put it of derivative creativity, that we're going to be stuck in these kind of doom loops based on previous material that's been sort of chewed up and spit out by an AI engine. But I do think there's some really amazing technological changes that are going to power whole new imaginative worlds for people who make art with sound. One of those, and I'm really curious to see what 2024 and beyond will bring when it comes to new form factors for instruments. 

This is something that you and I like to talk about a lot, dmitri, and what would the instrument? What's going to be the instrument? What would the instrument? What's going to be the instrument of 2030? I'm sure acoustic instruments will still exist, but what? In some ways, we've seen a lot of digital copy paste, right, so it's like a keyboard, but it's on your computer. It's a bunch of knobs and dials that look a lot like a console that you'd see in a studio in 1960. But now we're at the point, especially with AI, where we could make things any which way we want. And you actually I think you pointed this out to me about cell phone technology and some of the innovations that happen with that. I would love let's talk about that for a second. What do you? 

0:26:21 - Dmitri

what's the story there? I actually learned that on the podcast when we interviewed folks from Teenage Engineering, the musical instrument company that makes these cool small little instruments, starting with the really inexpensive pocket operators but going up to some more expensive ones. But they're still really small. And when we were kind of finding out their origin story they said that Cell phones the scale, the mass scale of cell phones brought smaller and cheaper technology into the general marketplace that they could start playing with it. 

It helped the video game industry. It also helped the music and the video game industry, I think, also helped the music industry, and so they were just able to use much more powerful hardware that was small enough to create really cool and more advanced musical instruments. So I think that's probably what led us here to some new form factors, because a lot of the new form factor stuff has to be relatively inexpensive. Before you've created a market for something, you've got to see if anyone's willing to put some money on the table as well. So I think that led to shrinking down some things that then sort of like you know, the pocket operators look like pocket calculators, but they do so much more musically as well. 

0:27:31 - Tristra

Yeah, they're super fun and, you know, it'll be interesting to see in the next year or so, with the emphasis on chip development and innovation thanks to AI, where things could possibly go. So are we going to see devices that can do a whole range of things that could run, say, a small specialized AI model on device using these new chips that are? You know there's more and more competition. I feel like I mean, there was a lot of work being done on ships, and there always have been, but there's some sort of like new energy, partly because of the rivalry between NVIDIA and folks like Intel. 

0:28:08 - Dmitri

So it'll be really interesting. My mind is blown. I had not thought about that. The idea of this onboard AI models inside a little device as small as a calculator That'd be so crazy yeah. 

0:28:18 - Tristra

I mean, I think, especially for highly specialized things which a musical, a music creator would be, it could be a really great solution because you know these models do take a lot of compute if they're really big and and you know clouds and and that's not, and that's not necessarily what you want in an instrument. You don't necessarily want to have to be connected to the internet. 

0:28:41 - Dmitri

You don't want to have to have Wi-Fi or cellular service If bandwidth is slowing down the reaction time for music engagement, for sound creation with AI. If you don't have to have internet bandwidth in there, you remove that, that latency. You know it's another piece of this. We've been talking to the MIDI Association and MIDI 2.0 has just been released and was that this year or was it last year, I don't know, it was in the last year-ish. It basically allows for more communication between these devices and computers as well, like by exponential numbers, which means you can get much more expressive reactions from the physicals. So as you talk about new form factor instruments, you know the, these instruments that now let you to slide your finger to, to control something, and it just has this perfect, smooth sound. That interaction between those instruments or between physical hardware and computers. It's just going to continue to, I think, play into the type of innovation you're talking about. 

0:29:39 - Tristra

And, and as I recall from some of our conversations with the, with the MIDI folks, there are other devices that can be triggered that aren't directly music making. Oh, yeah, so they've talked about coordinating drones and things like that. So if you could imagine like a combination between small, you know, small devices that do other things, that maybe have lights, colors, you know, we're talking about like a full blown 3D immersive experience that could be created using using MIDI. 

0:30:10 - Dmitri

And I'm just picturing a musical drone, now that you said that, a musical drone that has the sound and the lights and the movements, or a series of drones that become an instrument. 

0:30:19 - Tristra

Delight your delight, your neighbors, at 3am with your new musical drone, and you know this starts to sound really like futuristic far-fetched out there. 

0:30:28 - Dmitri

But then you have. You know like I wonder what the answer to you know that that human desire for vinyl in the digital era. 

0:30:38 - Tristra

What's the musical? 

0:30:39 - Dmitri

instrument version of that you know, and could that come to be? 

0:30:43 - Tristra

Oh, totally, I mean, I have, you know, as, as regular listeners know, I have a teenager who and and he is regularly bemoaning the lack of buttons and dials on things. He doesn't like touch screens, he longs for buttons and dials. And well, you know, I mean he's, I have a sample size of one but I do think he's not alone in his, in his desire to manipulate things physically. And while we might be able to get away from, you know, the sort of mid-century invention of interfaces and what they have to be like, I do think people want to touch things. I mean, music is an embodied art. That's it's, you know, it's Danza's cousin. We want to move our physical selves while we make music. 

Even, you know, when a DJ performs, they're not just like standing there passively pushing buttons, like well, lounging, like a barco lounger or something, they're like bouncing around, they're like making it look as dynamic as possible. And I think that we're going to even amateur creators, or this new creator class that's evolving, is going to want to move and make sound. And so my, my fantasy is getting extremely sci-fi and is having ambient computing, meaning a whole room that is powered to make music with you and you can basically program it gesturally or through through dance motions, and generate, I mean sort of like taking those, those like gloves and other devices that are already in existence but making them so it's an entire room's worth of sound potential, like that would, for me, would be like the most fun possible music making experience. So so, please, music innovators, get on it. I really need this. 

0:32:23 - Dmitri

Yeah, I mean it's when this, when the smart, when the smartphones emerged I mean sorry, the smart speakers emerged, I was imagining more of this kind of ambient. You know what? What does this mean for kind of this ambient interface? Really, it's like the user interface starts to disappear and just your environment becomes the user interface. So I love that one. I don't know what that looks like. I don't know if that's like consumer, you know, like something that you buy, or I mean, you know, I think that's the dream of the internet, the internet of things, and the smart home and all that kind of stuff. Or if it's more like public spaces, you know, like maybe institutions and governments and hospitals and things like that put out an opportunity, you know, a way for for people to interact with with sound without having to touch a button. It's funny. On the one hand, we're like, oh, people want more buttons, and it's like what if you had no buttons? No, no touch screens, nothing, you know. 

0:33:15 - Tristra

Or maybe you have like a very button, a button heavy device in the middle of a room that lets you do all sorts of cool stuff. I, you know that is. That's the cool, that's the interesting thing about our moment is this these, these incredible tensions and contradictions, and maybe the friction between them is what's going to create the innovative spirit. You know that's going to animate the next thing. So, dimitri, what's your next hot take on music innovation? 

0:33:39 - Dmitri

All right, this is going to be kind of going in a whole other direction. We haven't talked that much about live music and I'm imagining it's been a. 2023 has been a really great growth year, kind of a swing back year, post pandemic, for live music. We recently did a seismic activity, which is one of our free online events which you should sign up for at music tech topicscom to attend those with a venture with Paul Bradley, the founder of a ventric master tour, and he has the data that shows this has been an insane. 2023 was an insane touring year, so, and he he expects to see that growth continue in 2024. 

But also, indie venues and artists are still trying to find their footing quite a bit. 

So this might not sound like an innovation, but I think there's going to be a continued struggle for some indie venues and some artists who had figured out how to make a living doing live music now getting kind of a little bit overshadowed by these blockbuster tours, these high ticket fees ticketing fees not just ticket fees, but ticketing fees that kind of make it harder and harder for them to kind of get into the niche in on the on the on the market. 

But I think what happens a lot of times when you see these kind of big obstacles and challenges in these independent spaces, is that innovation does come through. So I think in 2024 we're going to see some of the struggles, but then we're going to see some other interesting models that we can't fully see right now. It kind of reminds me of, you know, when so far sounds emerged. We're going to see some other things that. Is it going to be a new concert or a new type of festival or a new type of technologically influenced experience for concert goers that's gonna bring some innovation for the rest of the creative world. That's not in the blockbuster tours, so I don't know what that looks like, but I think that one we should keep an eye on. And then I guess my other one would be did you wanna say something about live music? 

0:35:49 - Tristra

I was just gonna say, I hope it has buttons. 

0:35:53 - Dmitri

It could, who knows? I mean it could be interactive, I don't really know, but it's probably more like models or venues that'll be innovative. It's. People have been so interested in the experience. Live music used to have a very specific thing you go into a club or a theater, you pay your ticket, you get your drink, you do whatever you do in the venue, blah blah. But we've seen these like experiential festivals emerge that have more than just music, that are more than just that experience. There's camping now, there's yoga, there's all these things. But I'll be curious to see how independent artists and independent venues figure out how to do something that nobody else can do Faced with challenge. 

So now, going in a whole other direction that I was about to mention is I'm seeing more global music tech companies from outside of the West, outside of the US, make their way into the US. I feel like the continued connections as a result of the kinds of virtual interactions we've been having in the pandemic, post pandemic, are sticking around. Not the live streaming concerts so much, but the Zooms, the Google Meets, the virtual connections, the kind of shrinking of the world through social platforms. But whether it's TikTok or Instagram or LinkedIn or whatever, we're seeing more cross national, cross pollination happening and we're seeing more music tech companies coming to music tech tonics from our first year Granted, that could have to do with them just the word getting out further about our conference but we have this strong trade mission that comes from South Korea every year. As a result, we learned about a virtual reality mixed reality platform called Versus, where music's very interactive in a metaverse type setting. That's actually making inroads internationally as well. So I think we're gonna see not only from outside of America, we're also seeing from within America. 

The geographical I was gonna say geological music tech tonics confuses me the geographical origins within the United States as well. We're seeing more coming out of the South, more coming out of the Midwest. It's not just coastal orientation too. So I think there's this diversification of global music tech founders and I think that's something that's gonna lead to more innovation. I think that having more sources of new ideas creates more innovation. It's as I've quoted on the podcast before. Clayton Christensen, the author of the Innovator's Dilemma, talks about how you can't actually create new ideas. You can only take two existing ideas and smash them together, and that's what makes something new. And so, as we smash together, more geography, more people from different places, people from different cultures and orientations. We get new sources for innovation. So that's my hot take on music innovation Amazing, amazing. 

0:39:03 - Tristra

I feel like I need to like say alleluia or something. All right, so, dmitri, we've had a really wide ranging and very fun conversation, but did we leave anything out Anything? 

0:39:14 - Dmitri

else come to mind. There is one thing that's been on my mind just this week because of an article that came out in Music Business World Y that did not fit into the rest of our topics, but Music Business World Y, just a couple of days, started a new entrepreneur of the year category, I guess. They put out an article and it went to BandLab CEO Meng Kwok, and I just wanted to point this out because Music Tectonics we've always been sort of keeping an eye on this explosion of music creation and a lot of the topics we talked about were that. But just to get really focused, I think 2024 is going to be the year that music creators get seen, and I use the word creator specifically. I've been hesitant to use the word creators. As a musician myself, growing up, playing music, going to a music school, I don't like the word creator as it describes people who've dedicated their life and careers to mastery and craft craft person, craft person, master, craft Because creator has, for the last several years, felt like it really refers to people who make videos, whether it's YouTube or TikTok or Instagram, and I posted something on LinkedIn about like is this the right word to be using? 

And I got one really, really interesting response, which was creators. Good, creators are artists. They're doing incredible stuff. Those video creators, they're masters of a different craft and so don't assume that just because we think of the mass of random amateur content that's getting just flooded onto YouTube, people talk about the flooding of Spotify because of AI, or the flooding of Spotify because of independent distribution or, as you like to say, box fans. There's all this quote content, another thing I've never loved saying about music. There's all this quote content that's filling up the pipelines of everything. 

But if you kind of step back a little bit and say, well, maybe creator refers to the music for the masses trend, right, you can talk about artists and bands and musicians, but if you think about music creators as the same way we talked about YouTube creators, they don't necessarily have to go to school for it, so it's actually removing barriers. They don't necessarily have to have a title, they don't have to have a position or a degree, they just are exploring. To me, I think we've talked about it a lot. I mean, that's literally what the launch of Music Tech Tonics felt like in 2019, was people seeing this convergence of music creation and the recording industry and that theme has just kept happening, but I don't feel like society as whole have seen music creators. So I think the year of 2024 will be the year that music creators get seen, not created, not blown up, because that's already actually happening. And so, for me, seeing that article Meng from BandLab getting sort of acknowledged as the entrepreneur of the year was perfect timing and a reminder that we can't forget that this music creation title wave is still in process and I think in 2024, it'll start to actually come to fruition, like people will see more songs being released, more hits, more fan bases and careers being developed from out of nowhere. 

0:42:38 - Tristra

And I think there's also gonna be just folks who don't really want to engage in the sort of fandom pathway and who are basically doing with technology what folks used to do around the parlor piano, whether it was like with a piano role because there was no one who could play, or with sheet music, playing the hits, singing along and just enjoying themselves together making music. 

I mean, it wasn't that long ago. It was maybe the generation of the baby boomers where this was still a thing that went back stretching back centuries and centuries and centuries, and in some communities it's still a thing very much so. So I think too, in some ways, recorded music represented this big rift that separated us from the joy of just making music for no particular reason or for reasons that are just in the moment or based in a group of people and their desires, and I'm looking forward to maybe technology reuniting us again and bringing us back together with that most, in some ways the most joyful way of making music, which is making it together just for shits and giggles. Aw, aw. I mean, can you tell that I love to sit around a table and sing? 

0:43:56 - Dmitri

Yes, and I love to sit around a table and chat with you about hot takes on what's coming up for the year. That was super fun, trisha, thanks so much for jumping in, and I always loved doing these with you. 

0:44:08 - Tristra

Absolutely, it was a real pleasure. 

0:44:10 - Dmitri

And, like I said, Trish and I are always scanning the horizon for what kinds of news and information we should be tracking. And if you want to keep up with trends like these, make sure to subscribe to the Rock Paper Scanner newsletter. Get out your pen, because the URL is a little wonky, although, honestly, you can Google Rock Paper Scanner and the second link that comes up is the subscription one. But you can go to pagesrockpapersizzardsbiz Slash scanner Pagesrockpapersizzardsbiz Slash scanner or you know what Screw it. Just email me at musicatrockpapersizzardsbiz and we'll add you to the list for Rock Paper Scanner. You're already getting the Music Tech Tonics newsletter, right. What? What you waiting for? All right, thanks for listening. Thanks, tristra. 

0:44:54 - Tristra

Thank you, Dimitri. Happy New Year, everyone. We'll talk to you on the next episode. 

0:44:58 - Speaker 1


0:45:00 - Dmitri

Thanks for listening to Music Tech Tonics. 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, our lovely podcast listeners, can join? Find out more at 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 Tech Tonics 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 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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