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Overheard At Digital Music Forum West In Los Angeles

285007_442528412460040_179546126_n(UPDATED) The Digital Music Forum West conference concluded yesterday from the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, offering two days worth of discussions revolving around how digital media and technology continue to impact the music business. The event brought together folks from Topspin, Chirpify, Tumblr, Atom Factory, StageIt, ThrillCall, BMI, Warner Bros Records, Clear Channel, Red Light Management, Universal Music Group, BandPage and many more.

DMFW kicks off a series of music tech events set to occur on the West Coast including the SF MusicTech Summit on October 9th and NARM’s Music Startup Academy on October 10th.

Here are some of the key quotes and discussion topics:

“The majority of revenue in the United States is digital, however this isn't the case internationally,” said Amanda Marks, Global Head of Digital Accounts, Universal Music Group in an interview segment with Topspin’s Ian Rogers.

Image-Based Content:

Cinemagram (the iPhone app designed to create hybrid images of photo and video) was quicker to achieve one million users than Instagram – indicating that image-based content will continue to adopt quickly and evolve just the same.

Chuck D on Today's Music Business:

When Chuck D was asked who his top 10 favorite artists were, he replied: "What's my top 10? That's an analog question. What do you mean? I got 10k songs on my iPod!"

The Public Enemy founder also remarked that those music tech companies must be mindful of those creating the art as their living by saying, "Making a killing makes it hard for those making a living."

Women in Music:

"We became who we are by learning and working hard, while working with 80% of alpha males over 40,” said Karen Allen, VP Client Services, TAG Strategic on the Women in Music Panel

"As the value of music goes down, the value of merchandise and endorsements goes up." -Erika Savage, Senior Business & Legal Affairs, Interscope Geffen A&M Records

Passive Listening vs. Active Listening:

"Slacker listeners want a lean-back music experience 85% of the time." -Jim Cady, CEO Slacker Radio


"Most indie artists and labels have a zero sum knowledge of how to properly harness YouTube. That's money left on the table." -Brandon Martinez, CEO & Co-Founder, INDMUSIC (YouTube content network)

The Music Licensing Nightmare:

"The only benefit of current complex music licensing is that it becomes a full employment act." -Zahavah Levine, Director of Content Partnerships for Android, Google

The Rise of Mediocrity?

"It is so easy now to make music that sounds mediocre. It's led to a massive middle class of mediocrity." -Daryl Berg, Vice President, Music, Shine America


“EDM has grown directly proportional to the Internet and social media." -Richard Bishop, Head of EDM, Red Light Management

To add to Bishop’s point: "We spend $0 on traditional media [for promotion]; it's all through digital and social," said John Boyle, CFO Insomniac (although he went on to say they do spend dollars on billboards).

Startup Success:

"The 3 key factors to startup success are the team, market / technology differentiation, and timing." -Doug Barry, Managing Director, Selby Ventures

The Future of the Music Business:

“99% of artist aren't going to be international stars; it's hard to create culture that creates emotion at that level." -Jeff Price, Founder of Tunecore

Nic Adler, owner of famed venue The Roxy, recognized and commended the use of the concert crowdfunding platform Queremos as a way the music business is continuing to shift more power into the hands of fans.

"The days of fans paying artists for prerecorded music are shifting towards renting somebody else's music collection." -Jeff Price, Founder of Tunecore

Hisham Dahud is a Senior Analyst for Hypebot.com. Additionally, he is the head of Business Development for Fame House and an independent musician. Follow him on Twitter: @HishamDahud