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#SFMusicTech XIII Roundup

image from api.ning.comChristopher Raeside was Hypebot's correspondent for the 13th San Francisco Music Tech Summit, held yesterday. The conference brings together the music and tech industries, and is a hotbed for fresh ideas and industry insight.

From social to curation and numerous launches and announcements, here are the highlights of the day:

Conversations on Social and P2P

Ime Archibong, Facebook - The big reveal from Facebook’s Ime was “Facebook Stories”, and it’s integration and functionality within beat mapping. The video, found here if you haven't yet seen it, shows a visual representation of music conversations happening on Facebook within the past 90 days. Ime stressed the value of a community within Facebook that shares and plays music constantly; totaling over 40 billion song plays through apps integrated with Facebook.

Ime also talked about going viral by saying, “Focus on who your audience is. It comes down to knowing your crowd”. Questions fielded from the crowd centered on concern over whether or not teens were “leaving” Facebook for other alluring sites like Tumblr and Twitter. Ime assured the crowd that Facebook was just as strong and resourceful as it’s always been, and Brian Zisk was a little more direct by saying that “Slower growth is not the same as ‘consumers leaving’”.

Stephen Phillips, of WeAreHunted and the new Twitter #Music  - Stephen touched on WeAreHunted’s discovery by the social giant, Twitter, saying “We had a cult following with hipsters in NY, Twitter saw what we were doing and approached us to build #Music”. It was a whirlwind of content management and data to analyze right from the start, he explained, and that just “getting a handle on what was happening” has been their main goal from the start. Mainly, who has the most followers, who gets the most retweets, and who has the most activity.

The Twitter #Music discussion got slightly more heated when Paul Resnikoff of Digital Music News asked direct questions about the recent decline in the success of WeAreHunted’s project.

Both Zisk and Phillips gave insight into the drastic change in atmosphere concerning #Music, stating that the initial hype was incredible. But the downturn was natural and that this was just the beginning. “We are just getting started with Twitter #Music”, Phillips guaranteed.

Matt Mason, BitTorrent VP of Marketing  - Matt urged the music industry to work on becoming more educated on the impact and reality of P2P sharing. Aaron Ray, of The Collective, was just as adamant about the benefits of P2P and it’s application as a protocol across many different platforms. He continued by saying, “We are looking to ‘take the hill’. BitTorrent is like carpet bombing for us”. The advantage of a P2P protocol like BitTorrent is that it gets better with each user, rather than clogging and slowing to a crawl. They both went on to talk about how BitTorrent is a threat to long-set traditions of the music industry, and raises a red flag for many big hitters.  The most poignant issue addressed was BitTorrent’s supposed affiliation with piracy. Matt Mason explained, “We have never once been sued over piracy. We don’t endorse it”.

The new work on the horizon for BitTorrent includes new download bundles which will have a built in gateway. These gateways will open when a certain threshold is met, typically with an email address, a tweet, or with a donation, as we have seen in newer “free music” strategies across the web.

Curators, Influencers, and Tastemakers

Andrew Jarvis, Bandcamp - The Tastemakers panel focused on utilizing tools such as Rap Genius and Bandcamp to connect with fans. Fan Pages within Bandcamp seemed to be the highlighted item, and Andrew Jarvis gave insight on how to optimize its use. Fan Pages are an extension where users can write reviews and share the purchases they have made in Bandcamp. It can also be a great place to recommend the work of others, and for bands to interact with each other to provide support.

New & Noteworthy  

Patreon (Patreon.com- A community site where users can pledge varying amounts to artists on a per project basis. The typical use of this service was a $1-$2 pledge for artists to produce monthly/bi-monhtly videos. Many of the successful artists were able to produce a community that provides $2,000 – $4,000 per video submission. The content is all still available for free on Youtube when it is finished, so Patreon is not positioning itself as a paywall like it’s Kickstarter counterpart. In addition to the main projects, users who donated were allowed access to benefits beyond the main work, such as Google+ hangouts with the creators and presale tickets to live shows and events.

DeliRadio (DeliRadio.com- A “Concert Network”, as explained by their VP of Marketing Matthew Smith, that automatically creates a free branded internet radio player for venues, and streams the music of upcoming acts. All of the music is freely submitted by the artists, and provides a open community for musicians and venues alike to promote together. The service is always artist controlled, and the songs are always full tracks so the user experience is not lacking when it comes to the artists content. Due to the cost free nature of the system, Matthew referred to it as the “Craigslist of the music world”.  

Stipple (Stipple.com)  - Rey Flemings, Founder and CEO explained that “A Stipple image is a better image”, and dug into some of the reasons why images are so crucial in marketing. Specifically that images typically provide just as much traffic as the rest of an artist’s media combined. What Stipple does is add tags to pictures (videos, music, ticket sales, maps, etc), which remain with the image even after it is posted across different platforms. Justin Timberlake was the prime example of this tool in action, and his announcement earlier this year to return to music saw 74% engagement, and 6% CTR from his Stippled images. This also gives artists and marketers the ability to update the tags and links in real time, as the connection is persistent.

In closing, Brian Zisk was able to stop by and give me his final thoughts on the day as a whole:

“We are thrilled that so many people can come together in such a productive way to discuss the current climate of the industry, and to collaborate on fixing issues that plague the modern digital music world”.