SF Music Tech Summit Drums Up Innovation

The SF Music Tech Summit is a melting pot of musical minds, innovation and cutting edge technology.

Joyce Williams of GearLaunch discussing their business model at the SF Music Tech Summit 2016 photo - Hussam Awadalla | Rockstardreams.com
Joyce Williams of GearLaunch discussing their business model at the SF Music Tech Summit 2016 photo – Hussam Awadalla | Rockstardreams.com

Now in its 18th year, the SF Music Tech Summit took place at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco, CA on Monday.

The summit brought together thought leaders from around the industry from companies like Pandora, Smule, TAG Strategic, Warner Music Group, Gracenote, SoundExchange, PledgeMusic and many more.

Music tech entrepreneurs rubbed elbows with legacy companies, executives, start-ups, artists, attorneys, publishers, developers, investors and seemingly all omniscient savvy cats who could not only tell you the history of music but how to code an algorithm to predict its future.

As we wandered into various panels throughout the day and overheard interesting conversations, there were a few products and projects that stood out and made us think, “wow, this is going to change the game.”  Starting with the Dot BlockChain Music Project, founded by Benji Rogers who also founded the music focused crowdfunding platform PledgeMusic which has built a community of 3M+ super fans and has helped over 50,000 artists raise capital to move their music forward.

The Dot BlockChain Music Project could help solve the royalties problem many artists face when a song gets purchased, licensed or streams online either legally or illegally, by creating a virtual thumbprint to ensure all parties or the party involved get paid the proper split for that song.  The artist, songwriter and/or publisher will also have more control over how that song is used.  The grey area of proper payout via streaming services like Spotify came under fire last year when Taylor Swift and her label Big Machine cut ties with Spotify because the accounting was one sided and the royalties weren’t adding up.  Still in its early stage, the Dot BlockChain Music Project could help solve this.  Soundstr and SOCAN are also pushing hard for licensing reform.

Join the movement at www.dotblockchainmusic.com

Thud Rumble, Ltd founded by legendary Bay Area DJ’s Yoga Frog, DJ Qbert and DJ Hard Rich also impressed us with a live demo of The Invader, a groundbreaking Intel powered mixer that has a built in PC.  With The Invader, you no longer have to carry around your MacBook or laptop, it is portable and compatible with every type of turntable, hardware or software on the market including ProTools, Traktor and more.  No mic drop needed with edm, pop and hip-hop dominating the charts.  Once Thud Rumble is ready to fully market The Invader, every DJ, producer and engineer in the industry is going to want one of these. Follow @ThudRumble for product updates and releases.


Another clever piece of tech that had us drooling was Sunhouse, Inc’s Sensory Percussion developed by Co-Founder Tlacael Esparza. Their patented drum sensors and software compliments individual drum techniques and rhythm while giving drummers the ability to create a mozaic of electronic sounds while hooked up to a traditional drum kit.  Normally these kind of beats are reserved for 808s, electronic drum pads or composed within a mixing software. The cool thing is, Sensory Percussion gives the drummer the ability to mix and match those sounds real-time on an everyday kit.  “Dope!” you say, we thought so too. Learn more at https://sunhou.se/ | LED Art Installation by @devonmeyers


We’re also really excited about what Fender Digital is doing, GearLaunch which provides low cost merch and marketing services for artists and Qrates which has created a drop shipping model for artists, labels and brands to create on demand vinyl records either directly or through crowdfunding.  Overall, the SF Music Tech Summit panels, art installations and people were really engaging.  A few presentations dragged on here and there or didn’t make sense to us at all, not because they weren’t thoughtful or great topics, it’s just that we’re left brained people and we can only take so many data talking points or awkward election jokes.

Creative Partnerships & Business Development Panel - SF Music Tech Summit 2016 photo - Hussam Awadalla | Rockstardreams.com
Creative Partnerships & Business Development Panel – SF Music Tech Summit 2016 photo – Hussam Awadalla | Rockstardreams.com

That said, one of the day’s highlights had to be the panel on Creative Partnerships & Business Development moderated by Ted Cohen of TAG Strategic.   Ted alone carried the show.

He’s the type of guy you want to have a beer or a shot of tequila with and just hang while you listen to his music industry war stories.  And we did, have a shot of tequila that is. Ted was serving up Patron’ from the panel which helped lighten the mood and made the atmosphere fun yet edgy.

The discussion became a bit chippy when it came to discussing different points of view on licensing, publishing and branding partnerships.  Start-ups in the audience flexed their musical knowledge and services to try and capture the attention of the panelists or jousted with one another. We sat back, sipped our tequila and enjoyed every minute of it. In the end, it was all love.  Three cheers to the SF Music Tech Summit for putting on a great show and for helping to fuel conversations and innovations that will no doubt impact the music world right now and in the future.

LEARN MORE – www.sfmusictech.com


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