In the past, digital start-ups frequently approached the music industry with tech solutions to problems that didn’t exist for most artists and labels. That paradigm has seemingly shifted in the past few years, and now the solutions being brought forth by tech companies are helping to alleviate certain stresses and strains on the music industry. On this episode, we’re highlighting new tech companies like Ursa Music, Corite, and Pitch who are creating new revenue streams for artists and labels, rather than cannibalizing the old ones and taking a cut.
Several high profile artists moved away from sampling in the late 90’s, after a smattering of lawsuits were brought against artists like De La Soul, Biz Markie, 2 Live Crew, etc. for the use of unauthorized samples in some of their biggest hits. As a result, the familiar sounds of hip-hop, pop, and electronica changed dramatically in the decades that followed, as people were both scared off of sampling, and/or confused by the myriad of clearances and fees needed to sample legally. To solve this dilemma, Tracklib has stepped into the arena to act as both a clearinghouse, and conduit between sample based producers and the companies that own both sides of the material that producers want to use in their derivative works.
Like every other role in the music industry, the face of management is changing to meet the current needs of artists. With fewer and fewer labels investing in artist development, the work of building a team up around an artist has started to land more and more on the shoulders of managers. In our exploration of this topic, we speak with Brian Dubb of Centralized.me, who has developed a web based “virtual management” application that helps developing artists manage themselves, as well as Adina Friedman who works for the management company, “Friends At Work.”
With more and more venues shutting down due to rising costs in metropolitan areas, some musicians are looking towards non-traditional venues, and people’s homes, as a means to an end. On this episode, we talk with the founder of the Undiscovered Music Network, a service that pairs musicians with willing home concert hosts, and Amber Sweeney, a singer/songwriter who’s recently done several house shows as part of her tour route. Rounding out the episode, we talk about the non-traditional venue host, So Far, with writer Emma Silvers, who wrote an exposé on the business’s rather unscrupulous practices for KQED.
Thousands of hours of content are uploaded to sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, TikTok, Facebook, etc. every minute, and a fair amount of it contains unlicensed music. Technologies like YouTube’s “Content ID” system can help rights holders find offending usages once they’re uploaded, but not all sites have that kind of functionality, and certain uses are so short that the current tech can’t find them. Thankfully, there are several third party services stepping into the market to fill this critical gap in digital attribution and rights management, and we talk to three of them on this episode.
Record labels, music supervisors, management companies, et. al. deal with high volumes of music submissions on a daily basis, and until recently, managing those files (and their requisite metadata) hasn’t been easy. Enter DISCO, a cloud based storage solution for music professionals, that combines the best parts of iTunes, Soundcloud, Dropbox and MailChimp all in one easy to use browser based application. On this episode, we talk to Karl Richter of Level Two Music about the development of DISCO, and then we speak with music supervisor Whitney Pilzer and Pete Beck of Believe Music about how the platform has transformed their day to day business operations.