New Music Seminar 2013 – Monday Wrapup


After a morning filled with thoroughly engaging speaker movements, the New Music Seminar conference continued into the afternoon with more trailblazers of the music industry.

NMS attendees network during a schmooze session.

NMS attendees network during a schmooze session.

The “Music Subscription: Getting to a Billion Subscribers” movement brought together conductor Stephen Bryan of Warner Music Group with key players from the largest music subscription platforms including Spotify, Rhapsody, WiMP and Slacker. WiMP CEO Andy Chen described the current convergence of digital media/technology and music as “the perfect storm”. To address different consumer needs, Rhapsody CEO John Irwin stressed the importance of localizing content to the individuality of unique markets, or putting a “geo-local” touch on their service. To address service bundling, the players agreed before a company’s services can successfully be bundled they must have two things: strong partners to market the service aggressively, and an engaged customer who loves the service. Each service’s player described their overall business model and how they differed, pointing out key differences. Irwin predicted we will see larger but fewer players over time, with increasing fragmentation between the services in the near future. Sony’s Mark Piibe brought up important points on the Digital Copyright Act and compulsory licensing issues with sites such as Pandora, and that the need to innovate drives the music business ecosystem. Piibe said Sony’s personal strategy was to adapt to the market best for labels and artists alike.

The New Deal movement, presented by Fox Rothschild, was led by conductor Monika Tashman, Partner at Fox Rothschild LLP. The panel discussed the changing legal obstacles faced by entertainment law firms. The panelists included Rosie Lopez (President, Tommy Boy), Adam Ritholz (Managing Partner, Ritholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Fields LLP), Elliot Resnik (Attorney, Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman LLP), Danny Goldberg (President, GoldVE), and Ed Vetri (CEO & President, Wind-Up Entertainment).

The Managers Movement featured prominent managers of successful bands. Conductor Steve Rennie, founder of Renman Music & Business, was joined on stage by managers who have worked with Cee Lo Green, Kid Rock, Ginuwine, and other major acts. Included in the panel were Blue Williams (President, Family Tree Entertainment), Jake Gold (President & CEO, The Management Trust), Lee Trink (Dare Mighty Entertainment), Robert Fernandez (CEO, Famous Artist Music & Management), Dean Raise (Artist Manager, C3 Management), and Jason Foster (Owner, We Are Free).

The managers seemed to agree the relevancy of the record label is becoming more in question, which in turn has increased the pressure and responsibility of the manager. A major key to being a successful manager is a genuine belief in the act you represent, especially in a world where the line between celebrity and artistry has become tragically obscured. In addition, many artists sell singles but have trouble selling out live shows, so there is an increased emphasis on creating new ways to generate revenue (appearances, merchandise, etc.)

The movement “YouTube: Changing the Music Game” discussed the incredible impact YouTube has had on both the discovery and engagement of music on the powerful video platform. Conductors Vivien Lewis and Brian Hennigan talked with Brandon Martinez (CEO, INDMUSIC) and Max Gredinger (Artist Manager, Foundation Artists Management).

Also taking place was “The Digital Radio Explosion: The Fuse is Lit.” Proving extra relevant given today’s announcement by Apple of the release of their iRadio, the panel emphasized the rise of mobile devices and a new age of distribution deals as a key for digital radio’s growth. Included in the panel was conductor Andrew Hampp (Senior Branding Correspondent, Billboard) along with panelists Kurt Hanson (CEO, Accuradio), Brian Benedik (Head of US Sales, Spotify), Rick Song (Executive Vice President of Digital Sales, ClearChannel), Alex White (CEO, Next Big Sound), John Rosso (President of Market Development, Triton), Steven Kritzman (Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales, Pandora), and Sara-Beth Donovan (Vice President & Director of Media, Mintz & Hoke).

The Digital Radio panel on the red carpet.

The Digital Radio panel on the red carpet.

The end of the day featured the Producers Movement, which discussed the evolving role of the producer in the creation of today’s music. As the industry becomes more electronic and technology focused, the role of producer is expanding and changing rapidly. Conductor Robert Stevenson, the Executive Vice President of A&R for Republic Records, led a dynamic panel that included Gregg Wattenberg (Co-owner of Wind-Up Records), Antony Preston ( music), singer/songwriter Amanda Ghost, David Kahne (Owner, SeeSquare Music), and Michael Brauer (Mix Engineer, MHB Productions).

The Digital Music Sales Movement, led by conductor Mike Jbara (President & CEO, WEA), discussed the monetization opportunities in the digital music world. Players included 7 Digital President Vickie Nauman, HDTracks President Norman Chesky, Beatport CEO Matt Adell, and eMusic COO & CMO Brad Soroca.

Perhaps the most entertaining movement of the day was “The Great Debate: Singles vs. Albums.” Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde hosted a highly informative and often side-splitting forum that heard opposing views on the best way to release new music. Rock critic Robert Christgau and Yeasayer bandmember Anand Wilder argued the album is still artistically and culturally relevant, and is far from dead. Meanwhile, DigSin CEO Jay Frank and Cataracs bandmember and songwriter Niles Hollowell-Dhar vehemently argued the single has a greater reach and saves people time in a short attention-spanned world. Judging by applause, the audience gave the single debaters the edge in the end.

Photos of the New Music Seminar conference at the New Yorker Hotel, NYC. June 10, 2013.

Bill Werde, Editorial Director at Billboard, moderates the “Great Debate” of singles vs. albums.

After an action-packed Monday, New Music Seminar will be back on Tuesday for another full day of game-changing panels and networking. Check back soon for more updates!

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