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  • Writer's pictureDmitri Vietze

Why We Launched the Music Tectonics App

When I watched all my favorite Music Tech events of the spring and summer fall like dominos to coronavirus cancellations, I knew that I couldn’t just hunker down and wait for conferences and trade fairs to return. After all, I started the Music Tectonics podcast and conference to connect a community I love. With my team at Music Tectonics, we quickly responded with #WeeklyWebsday online meetups and “Isolate or Innovate,” a two-day music tech forum. It became clear that Music Tech innovators around the world want a space to meet and connect. That’s why Music Tectonics has created a free community app for everyone working where music and tech meet (now available: App Store, Google Play).

When I got into Music Tech by launching my self-service music PR startup StoryAmp several years ago, I found a welcoming community of free-thinkers who wanted to change the world through the convergence of music and innovation. Unlike other parts of the music industry at that time, there was an interest in information flow and partnership that cut across roles, regions, and reputation size. Whether you are at a major label or idea-stage startup, whether you wrote for a trade magazine or were an indie label testing out new B2B marketing tools, we became a tribe of like-minded people who were fighting for a better way for artists and their teams to succeed, with less friction and more creativity. We started in the recording side of the business, and have plans to keep welcoming in the live side and the music gear side.

I went to as many of the industry conferences as I could to push my startup and to do business development for my music tech PR firm rock paper scissors. But something was missing.

Each industry event had its own flavor; one covered a region, one was oriented towards major labels, another focused on indie labels, some were solely artist focused, some were hard to get to, and for some music tech was an afterthought in an oversaturated drunken experience. And a lot of these industry gatherings followed standard conference protocol, leaning heavily on panels, and putting the same speakers on stage without thought to the experience of the attendee.

We wanted to launch an event someplace that was without one and we selected Los Angeles as the music industry was returning there in strong force in recent years with the convergence of music, Hollywood, streaming, social media, gaming, and tech all in one city. We are aiming to create “the Switzerland of Music Tech” (as Gigi Johnson called it recently). We wanted to breathe new life into the conference experience with less traditional presentation formats, diversifying voices across the music tech landscape, and even our own set of Seismic Shift Trading Cards to deepen the conversation and enliven the experience.

Even though conferences have a further hurdle to cross with COVID-19 lockdowns and health concerns, we don’t want to stop building this community. We started right away with Weekly Websdays, a no-charge, networking-focused online experience with highly curated topics and speakers and a curated audience. We allowed any attendee to get on camera and introduce themselves and make their goals known.

But our real dream is to create a space where YOU, the innovators of music tech -- from all walks of the music and tech industries -- can create opportunities for each other 24/7/365. With the Music Tectonics mobile app, you can share your successes, challenges, and insights in the Community Forum, ask for advice and back up from your Music Tech fam in the Help Me board, and contribute to a curated news feed of what’s happening in the epicenter of music and technology in News Articles. Access exclusive video from Music Tectonics events, live streams, and downloads.

We are constantly hearing about connections made and business achieved thanks to everything we have already done. On the mobile app, you’ll be able to connect with and message innovators across the music tech macrosystem. We want to empower each of you in the community to put up your own shingle and use the Music Tectonics platform to get further faster with innovating, partnering, doing deals, and helping inspire more creativity in our shared field. We will continue to publish content, events, and opportunities to connect and learn. But we will keep asking you to make it what you want by doing the same. The more you put into it, the more you will get out. As membership grows, we’ll keep evolving with new interest groups and new kinds of content to meet the community’s needs.

Why we’re Eating Our Own Dog Food

We know it is very hard to build and maintain an independent community app. I am very aware of the ubiquity versus obscurity spectrum and that it is best to go where everyone is when you are obscure and to make everyone come to you when you are ubiquitous. Music Tectonics sits right in the middle: we are making waves and the industry is noticing, but not everyone knows us quite yet. Give us one more year and they will. While others choose to create community on Facebook or LinkedIn, we want to practice what we preach: own your data, own your relationships. We have been around long enough to remember MySpace. We are happy to play with all parties, but do not want to put our fate in the hands of someone else’s advertising goals or hardware sales. So we rolled the dice on creating our own app. Now it is our challenge to make it valuable enough for you to choose to spend your time there. If you like us and what we do and what we stand for, please join in and make this a great community where you get value every day.

Learn more and see our launch event schedule for the week of July 13, 2020. Join the Music Tech community: get Music Tectonics social networking app on the App Store or Google Play.

Dmitri Vietze is the Music Tectonics conference director, podcast host, and CEO of music tech PR firm rock paper scissors inc.


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