What’s up SXSW 2018?

by CEO Jesper Skibsby

This year was my first SXSW, and what an experience. Lots and lots of interesting panels, workshops, and debates regarding all aspects of the music industry. Networking opportunities at SXSW were endless, and from my point of view extremely valuable. The center of Austin is sizzling of great networking events, especially the A2IM breakfast(American Association of Independent Music) was a treat.

The blockchain rises

Blockchain was a hot topic, obviously. Cryptocurrencies seem to grab a lot of attention these days, but the potential reaches far. We are seeing the beginning of a blockchain revolution which will include healthcare, personal ID, data marketplaces, and digital rights management (music and film). There was an interesting debate between blockchain companies, which was somewhat an internal discussion about who was right on how blockchain should interact with the music industry. The possibilities seem endless but need to be structured across the industry.

Recognition technology

I was so fortunate to participate in a Panel about content recognition alongside Vance Ikezoye (Audible Magic), Stephen White (Dubset Media) and curated by Sophie Goosens (ReedSmith LLP). We had a great talk about how and where content recognition would fit in the music industry, as well as recognition rates and prices on the technology. The conclusion must be that “YES” content recognition is definitely a more expensive solution for e.g. radio monitoring, but all is relative and especially one idea is frequently on my mind. I did a presentation for a PRO (performance rights organization) lately, who claimed the technology would be too expensive to use on entire music catalogues. Firstly the conclusion was made before anyone from the PRO asked about prices, and secondly, I suggested that the non-profit PRO (that are here to collectively handle artists money the best possible way) laid off 5 people. If they would consider the recognition option, the system wouldn’t be more expensive, and a nations music catalogue would be possible to track in realtime on all radio and TV stations in that country. Sadly many PROs has a tendency to hire more people for handling reports from radios and TV stations, instead of actually monitoring them, which in the end would save a lot of time and money, and help distribute more money in a transparent system.

Despite the fast-moving digital bitcoin revolution, it seems like some industries are still lacking behind. See you next year SXSW!