The music industry — as we all know — has reached the nadir of its financial situation after a dozen or so years of file sharing. The Internet, many would say, hasn’t been too kind to the business. But if the Web taketh it also giveth, as evidenced by the plethora of music apps and Internet-based services (Spotify, Turntable.FM, Shazam, etc.) that are competing to transform the industry.
One of the driving forces behind this development is Brian Zisk, the executive producer of today’s SF Musictech Summit. The Summit is a biannual conference that aims to advance the profile of the digital music business by providing a space where entrepreneurs, developers, and music industry reps can come together, build networks, learn from one another. In addition, Michael Franti, of Spearhead fame, and composer Zoë Keating will be giving talks. The two will be in attendance through the conference, holding it down for the actual musicmakers.
Musicians testify about Musictech.
Zisk is the perfect person to facilitate such a gathering, due to this extensive career in digital media. He founded the production company Buzzmakers, Inc., which produces this event and the Future of Money and Technology Summit. He is also the co-founder and technologies director of the Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit that advocates on the behalf of musicians in the digital and legal spheres.
In a recent email interview with the Guardian, Zisk remarked on what sets his conference apart from others.
“Many conferences are all about showcasing the heads of sales and marketing. If given the choice, they tend to leave their tech guys at home. Our event specifically brings together the developers and CTOs to share knowledge and promote new ideas innovation. With these technically savvy folks leading the way, everyone else comes along.”
Some of the more recognizable names in the field will be in attendance today — DJ favorite Soundcloud, the so-called Youtube of mp3s, and top-selling radio app Tunein Radio. One of the more intriguing companies at the summit will be BAMM.tv, which uses its web platform to produce and distribute music videos for emerging musicians. And just like any gathering of tech-minded people, you won’t be able to walk two feet without hearing someone’s elevator pitch about his or her hot new app. In years past, the conference has also included seminars dedicated to helping attending developers perfect the elevator pitch.
Founded in 2008, the summit has made significant inroads in elevating this once-niche industry’s profile. In the finance realm, funding for digital music companies this year has increased 26.5 percent from last year. Zisk is also quick to point out that the summit has “helped people better realize that the goal is to better connect artists and fans, and helped show how the Internet has enabled musicians to do so.”
The summit now regularly features speeches from people such as Pandora CEO and founder Tim Westergren, and has even grabbed the attention of the big labels (representatives from companies like Universal Music Group will be in attendance.) It is possible to envision the startups that will be featured next week full on rescuing the music industry, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can return the music business back to its peak revenue earning days of the roaring 1990s.
SF MusicTech Summit
Tue/9 9am-6pm, $400
1625 Post, SF