New Music Seminar 2015

By Jasmin Justo

New Music Seminar hosted a two day all music event with live performances, special preview screenings and seminars about new music trends. On June 21st, New Music Seminar hosted an extravagant red carpet opening night full of excitement at Webster Hall. This year’s Artists on the Verge performed live at Webster Hall; Belmont Lights, Fictionist, Grace Weber, Melanie Martinez, Alessia Cara, Bad Veins, and Jay Stolar at Webster Hall. This year’s festivals were held at the Cake Shop, The Delancey, Pianos, and Drom featuring bands SPZRKT, DJ Sanity, Lilly Wolf, Phophene, Summer Heart, Syka, XNY and others. Meanwhile, a special preview of the new FX original series, “Denis Leary’s Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll” was screened at Webster Hall. The series is based on a true story of how a band prodigy fell into ruins within a few months, making it one of the only bands that has ever experienced a quick success and downfall in music history. The special screening included a special Q&A with Denis Leary himself. Apart from the stunning musical performances, there were various informative seminars and discussions held at the Wyndham New Yorker Hotel.

At the International Music Forum, Eric De Fontenay (founder of MusicDish), Jesper Thorsson (CEO of Export Music Sweden), Tapio Korus (Owner, Rockadillo Records), and Paul Cheetham (International Project Manager, Reeperbahn Festival) held a discussion about new music market trends and how to benefit from them. From Eric De Fontenay, he notes that any musician that wants to become noticed in the music industry must take advantage of the social media platform. He gave an example of how in China, because of its strict censorship of western media sites, he had to register for China’s state approved local social media sites such as Sina Weibo, an equivalent of Twitter and Renren, an equivalent of Facebook. With the Chinese social media platform, he and his colleagues were able to reach a larger Chinese audience especially amongst the younger generation who use the social media apps more frequently. From Jesper Thorsson, he advises young artists to be aware of which countries they are receiving the most feedback to determine which countries to tour. He also suggests connecting with a agent with a label company from the music industry to help facilitate any local or international tours. For example, in Sweden he recommends seeking an agent from LiveNation because they are one of the largest label companies in Europe and are well known in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, and Finland. Eric De Fontenay strongly advises young artists to also build a local presence within their own cities by participating in local concerts, live venues or festivals to gain experience performing live.

Eric De Fontenay advises artists to collaborate with other professionals in their music genre to gain more exposure, create network connections and to gain experience as a musician and to be careful with copyrights. Paul Cheetham strongly advises artists to do their research when choosing well known record label companies that understands the music genre and knows where to host live venues. It’s extremely important because it avoids lost in investment, time, and protects the artists’ copyrights. It is also crucial that artists understand the music trends in the country they want to perform at to know when is the best time and best place to perform to receive the largest audience as possible and to attract attention. Tapio Korus gave an example of Germany. He explains that during the month of June, Germany holds large festivals which makes it an ideal place for a foreign band to perform. In Finland, there are festivities about every week, which is ideal for domestic artists to build a platform but for foreign artists, they must be well known. In contrast, foreign artists in Germany can meet with local artists and make connections with various domestic label companies because there are many small record and label companies in Germany. He also points out that participating in the European Touring Exchange program, allows artists to tour Europe such as Poland, the Baltic states, Moscow, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Overall, the most important message for young artists is to constantly seek opportunities to perform and network and being up to date with music trends.

The Developing World Forum was about the future of online music streaming businesses especially in countries with emerging musical talent such as India and Nigeria. In the conference, the moderators spoke of the high potential for the local music industry to grow in multi diverse countries such as India where they have a Tollywood (Telugu/Bengali cinema and music) and Bollywood (Hindi cinema and music) producing local music and films in the different dialects in India. Due to the diverse language, there is a high demand for multilingual translations of foreign music, hence an average Indian citizen would download 100 to 200 songs. India’s music industry contributes to 10% of the nation’s economy and is expected to grow in value within the next five years. Similarly, in South Africa, there is a Nollywood that produces but does not limit itself to Nigerian film and music. Similar to India, there are several dialects in South Africa but unlike India who uses digital music services, Nollywood receives more revenue from live music performances. Their music features a mix of Caribbean music and jazz, which fuels the demand for foreign music. Also with the diasporas in the U.S, both countries benefit from the high demand for music in their own dialect.

Apart from the discussion on emerging music industries, there was also a discussion on the monetization strategies for music streaming sties such as Spotify and Diza. During the discussion, the moderators spoke about Spotify’s success as an online music-streaming source with 1 billion subscribers and office locations at 25 locations. In the forum, they spoke of Spotify’s business strategy to expand their services to countries such as Mexico and Brazil, an emerging digital music marketplace. One suggestion the moderators offered is for companies such as Spotify, to increase their local presence in other countries while offering localized deals and prices in competition to the local online streaming sites within that country. For a closing topic, the moderators also spoke of Youtube’s influence as a possible solution as a way to advertise their companies to a global audience through the artist’s music channels. They also mentioned of the importance to fully compensate artists for their work and to gain royalties rights when featuring their songs on online music streaming sites.

List of moderators: Ralph Simon (CEO/Founder, Mobilum Global, Founder of Mobile Entertainment Forum Mobile- Americas), Michael Abbattista (Global Head of Telecom/ISP Partnerships Spotify), Julien Simon (Vice President, Music Rights and Label Relations, Deezer), Prashant Bahadur (Senior Vice President, Strategy, The Ochard), Paradmdeep Singh (Co-Founder & Executive Chairman, Saavan), Ed Peto (Managing Director, Outdustry Group), Ademola Ogundele (CEO, Notjustok LLC), Emmanuel Zunz (Founder, ONErpm).

Overall, the New Music Seminar was an extensive music experience for any artist, professional, or enthusiasts who wants to network, collaborate, or simply enjoy the emerging music trends while also learning from music professionals making it worthwhile experience.

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