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jerryking : sxsw   16

Music’s ‘Moneyball’ moment: why data is the new talent scout | Financial Times
JULY 5, 2018 | FT | Michael Hann.

The music industry loves to self-mythologise. It especially loves to mythologise about taking young scrappers from the streets and turning them into stars. It celebrates the men and women — but usually the men — with “golden ears” almost as much as the people making the music....A&R, or “artists and repertoire”, are the people who look for new talent, convince that talent to sign to the record label and then nurture it: advising on songs, on producers, on how to go about the job of being a pop star. It’s the R&D arm of the music industry......What the music business doesn’t like to shout about is how inefficient its R&D process is. The annual global spend on A&R is $2.8bn....and all that buys is the probability of failure: “Some labels estimate the ratio of commercial success to failure as 1 in 4; others consider the chances to be much lower — less than 1 in 10,” observes its 2017 report. Or as Mixmag magazine’s columnist The Secret DJ put it: “Major labels call themselves a business but are insanely unprofitable, utterly uncertain, totally rudderless and completely ignorant.”......The rise of digital music brought with it a huge amount of data which, industry executives realized, could be turned to their advantage. ....“All our business units must now leverage data and analytics in innovative ways to dig deeper than ever for new talent. The modern day talent-spotter must have both an artistic ear and analytical eyes.”

Earlier this year, in the same week as Warner announced its acquisition of Sodatone, a company that has developed a tool for talent-spotting via data, another data company, Instrumental, secured $4.2m of funding. The industry appeared to have reached a tipping point — what the website Music Ally called “A&R’s data moment”. Which is why, wherever the music industry’s great and good gather, the word “moneyball” has become increasingly prevalent.
........YouTube, Spotify, Instagram were born and changed the way talent begins its journey. All the barriers came down. Suddenly you’ve got tens of thousands of pieces of music content being uploaded.......Home computing’s democratization of recording removed the barriers to making high-quality music. No longer did you need access to a studio and an experienced producer, plus the money to pay for them. But the music industry had no way to keep abreast of these new creators. “....The way A&R people have discovered talent has barely changed since the music industry began, and it’s fundamentally the same for indie labels, who put artistry above sales, as it is for major labels who have to answer to shareholders. It’s always been about information.....“We find them by listening to new music constantly, by people giving us tips, by going out and seeing things that sound interesting,”.....“The most useful people to talk to are concert promoters and booking agents. They are least inclined to bullshit; they’ll tell you how many people an act is drawing,”...like labels, publishers also have an A&R function, signing up songwriters, many of whom will also be in bands)....“Journalists and radio producers are [also] very useful people to give you information. If you know you’ve got particular DJs or particular writers who are going to pick up something, that’s really good.”
.......Instrumental’s selling point is a dashboard called Talent AI, which scrapes data from Spotify playlists with more than 10,000 followers.....“We took a view that to build momentum on Spotify, you need to be on playlists,”....“If no one knows who you are, no one’s going to suddenly start streaming a track you’ve just put up. It happens when you start getting included on playlists.”......To make it workable, the Talent AI dashboard enables users to apply a series of filters to either tracks or artists: to sort by nationality, by genre, by number of playlists they appear on, by the number of playlist subscribers, by their industry standing — are they signed to a major? To an independent label? Are they unsigned?
.......What A&R people are looking for, though, is not totals, it’s evidence of momentum. No one wants to sign the artist who has reached maximum popularity. They want the artist on the way up....“It’s the direction. Is it going in the right direction?”....when it comes to assessing what an artist can offer, the data isn’t even always about the numbers. “The one I look at the most is Instagram, because that’s the easiest way for an artist to express themselves in a way other than the music — how they look, what they’re into,” she says. “That gives a real snapshot into [them] and whether they really have formulated a world for themselves or not.”......not everyone is delighted with the drive to data. “[the advent of] Spotify...became the driving force for signings...“A&Rs were using their eyes rather than their ears — watching numbers change rather than listening to music, and then jumping on acts....they saw something happening and got it out quickly without having to invest in the traditional A&R process.”... online heat tends to be generated by transient teenage audiences who are likely to move on rather than stick around for a decade: online presence is a big thing in electronic dance music, or some branches of urban music, in which an artist might only be good for a single song. In short, data does not measure quality; it does not tell you whether an artist has 20 good songs that can be turned into their first two albums; it does not tell you whether they can command a crowd in live performance..........The music industry, of course, has always had an issue with short-termism/short-sightedness: [tension] between the people who sign the cheques and those who go to bat for the artists is built into the way it works..........The problem is that without career artists, the music industry just becomes even more of a lottery. It is being made harder, not just by short-termism, but by the fact that music has become less culturally central. “It’s so much harder to connect with an audience or grow an audience, because there’s so much noise,”
.......Today the A&R...agree that the new data has its uses, but insist it still takes second place to the evidence of their own eyes and ears.......As for Withey, he is not about to tell the old-school scouts their days are done....Instrumental can tell A&R people which artists are hot, but not which are good. Also, there will be amazing acts who simply don’t get the traction on the internet to register on the Talent AI dashboard.....All of which will come as a relief to the people running those A&R departments. .....when asked if data will become the single most important factor in scouting talent: “I hope not. Otherwise we may as well have robots.” For now, at least, the golden ears are safe.
A&R  algorithms  analytics  data  dashboards  tips  discoveries  filters  hits  Instagram  inefficiencies  momentum  music  music_industry  music_labels  music_publishing  Moneyball  myths  playlists  self-mythologize  songwriters  Spotify  SXSW  success_rates  talent  talent_spotting  tipping_points  tracking  YouTube  talent_scouting  high-quality  the_single_most_important 
july 2018 by jerryking
McDonald’s is going to play SXSW this year — Quartz
Svati Kirsten Narula
March 03, 2015

McDonald’s will host three “pitch sessions” at SXSW on March 13, offering an audience for tech startups with ideas for innovation in three categories:
Reinventing the Restaurant Experience: “This is not about tweeting, ordering online or Wi-Fi connectivity…. We are talking about multiple screens, proximity technology, personalization and even smart packaging.”
Content Creation: “Brands have to co-create content with communities, curate daily content to stay relevant, and create content with social in mind. How can brands tap into new content partners and models that can tackle these objectives?”
Transportation and Delivery: “Our existing idea of door-to-door delivery and drive-thru will soon be obsolete. Imagine a world where drones could deliver you food while you’re driving down the highway.”
The best pitch will earn the presenter a trip to McDonald’s corporate headquarters, where he or she will be invited to pitch directly to the company’s C-suite. McDonald’s says pitches will be evaluated based on “current traction and milestones,” “market potential,” “customer value proposition and service offering,” and “overall brand fit.”
brands  CAMEX  co-creation  McDonald's  SXSW  digital_strategies  sponsorships  millennials  Fortune_500  creating_valuable_content  content_creators  metrics  proximity  personalization  home-delivery  drones  Michael_McDerment  pitches  C-suite 
march 2017 by jerryking
SXSW exclusive: First-timer reflections
MARCH 12, 2014 | RetailingToday.com| BY ANNE MARIE STEPHEN AND DEBORAH WEINSWIG

The keynote speaker at this event was legendary retailer, Richard Marcus. Marcus says tech should have a purpose in impacting the retail customer experience. He says two things matter in retailing, “take care of customers and they come back, take care of merchandise and they don’t.”

The CIO of TGIF Friday’s, Trip Sessions, shared his goal to create a more sticky experience using technology with the aim of creating a 1-1 personalized experience. They use foursquare as a tool allowing waitstaff the ability to connect directly with guests in-store.

We keep hearing that the pace of change is accelerating from retailers and industry experts alike. This conference really epitomized that theme. From CES to NRF to SXSW, the themes have been fairly consistent. Retailers need to increasingly focus on tech and the time is now. There are many tools and resources available, but they can’t afford to wait.
SXSW  LBMA  location_based_services  one-on-one  personalization  retailers  conferences  Austin  restaurants  customer_experience  stickiness  in-store 
november 2015 by jerryking
Why don't more Canadians attend South by Southwest? - The Globe and Mail
Jennifer Moss

Contributed to The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Mar. 19 2014,
SXSW  Austin  Canadian 
march 2014 by jerryking
Ideas Conferences as Brand Builders
11/19/2012 | Forbes | Marian Salzman, Contributor.

Smart talk is today’s hot commodity, whether you’re speaking, listening or, perhaps most important, hobnobbing after the formal sessions...But what do they say about your personal brand? Are Davos people different from TED people different from SXSW people? What about the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and Renaissance Weekend? Is there a big half-dozen in conference-going that lets you borrow for your brand (today’s equivalent of name-dropping) and build it up? And if there is, do you have to attend all of them (who has time?), or do you need to decide what each stands for and how it helps make a person a brand? Does your choice of conference send a message about what generation you see yourself in?...I’d argue that some conferences are becoming so ubiquitous and trendy that their velvet ropes are being pulled back.
personal_branding  trends  trend_spotting  public_discourse  Clinton_Global_Initiative  Davos  SXSW  ideacity  TED  Renaissance_Weekend 
september 2013 by jerryking
Twitter Keynote Gets Thumbs-Down -- on Twitter - NYTimes.com
March 15, 2010 | New York Times | The common thread of the
two SXSW interviews mentioned above isn't a critique of the folks being
interviewed, it's with the moderators. In highly networked situations
like SXSW, moderators need to come prepared to ask fair but provocative
questions. This takes research -- including crowdsourcing *before* the
interview to solicit good questions -- and the ability to bring the
audience into the conversation when it's appropriate....Having attended
both this interview & the one the following day with the CEO of
Spotify, this was simply a matter of the interviewer not being prepared.
Haque thought he could get up there, wing it and be engaging. Williams
is not that dynamic so the interviewer needed to enliven the discussion.
Haque did not. He led the conversation and didn't probe. Its
interviewing 101. Haque is likely a smart guy but was out of his
element. And shame on him for not using the Twitter medium as part of
the interview. That's a no-brainer.
SXSW  Twitter  Evan_Williams  start_ups  silicon_valley  interview_preparation  umairhaque 
october 2010 by jerryking
Where SXSW Points Talent - WSJ.com
MARCH 24, 2009 |Wall Street Journal| by JIM FUSILLI
travel  music  music_industry  SXSW  Jim_Fusilli 
march 2009 by jerryking

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