Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Music

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • Programming and Minimalism: Lessons from Orwell & The Clash

    by Jon Dahl

    Programming is writing. A programmer's job is to express abstract ideas in a specific language - just like the poet, the essayist, and the composer. But while writers and composers spend years improving their style, many programmers think style stops with "two-space indentation". This needs to change.

    This presentation will discuss style in music, writing, and software. We'll look at such diverse sources as George Orwell, Mozart, and punk music, and will find that much of art revolves around complexity and minimalism - just like software. Finally, we'll look at specific patterns and tools for writing software that is not just effective and efficient, but stylistically beautiful.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage photo

  • Expressing Yourself Musically with Mobile Technology

    by Ge Wang

    The mobile landscape as we know it is focused heavily on gaming, productivity and social media applications. But as mobile technology continues to advance and phones become smarter, people will search for even more intimate, immersive and interactive ways of expressing themselves. Today, mobile technologies have made music creation easy, affordable and accessible to the masses, enabling users of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, to create and share music, regardless of previous musical knowledge.

    Whether you’re a fan of hip hop, classic, pop or video game theme music, there is an app for everyone. And the entertainment industry has taken notice – almost every big name artist or brand has an app for mobile devices. Most of them are just fancy message boards providing information, but some are pushing the limits of what it means to interact with the artist or brand. From the palm of your hand you can Auto-Tune your voice to sound like your favorite hip hop star, play an instrument designed by Jorden Ruddess of Dream Theater or join a virtual Glee club. Each of these artists and brands are building communities thru mobile apps that provide anyone the ability to explore their inner star.

    This presentation will discuss how advances in mobile technology have opened up a new world of expression to everyone and enabled users to broadcast their own musical talents across the globe.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Salon F/G, Hilton Austin Downtown

Saturday 12th March 2011

Sunday 13th March 2011

  • The Music of Interaction Design

    by James Box and Cennydd Bowles

    While both music and design have theoretical underpinnings, they also share a certain ineffability. A musical masterpiece and an exceptionally crafted experience demand more than the simple application of theory. They also demand virtuosity. Designers must skilfully bring together clicks and gestures — the building blocks of interaction design — to form a meaningful experience. Although it's simple to describe these components, we often resort to vague shorthands like 'look & feel' to explain what happens at the experiential layer. Similarly, composers rely on formalised technique to write music; yet ask what makes a piece remarkable and the answer will be similarly nebulous. In this session, we will examine parallels between music and interaction design, including harmony, genre, rhythm, fashion and emotion. Along the way, we will learn how that which defies easy definition can elevate digital and musical works from good to miraculous.

    1. Why do some interactions and some pieces of music—even when they seemingly 'obey' all the rules—still feel wrong?
    2. What is it about music that provokes such a profound emotional response and how can designers learn from it?
    3. Why, despite all expectations, the overflow of information can actually be a rather lovely experience.
    4. Why does innovation actually feel bad?
    5. And finally, just what is 'The Brown Noise'?

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

  • Finding Music With Pictures: Data Visualization for Discovery

    by Paul Lamere

    With so much music available, finding new music that you like can
    be like finding a needle in a haystack. We need new tools to help
    us to explore the world of music, tools that can help us separate
    the wheat from the chaff.

    In this panel we will look at how visualizations can be used to
    help people explore the music space and discover new, interesting
    music that they will like. We will look at a wide range of
    visualizations, from hand drawn artist maps, to highly interactive,
    immersive 3D environments. We'll explore a number of different
    visualization techniques including graphs, trees, maps, timelines
    and flow diagrams and we'll examine different types of music data
    that can contribute to a visualization.

    Using numerous examples drawn from commercial and research systems
    we'll show how visualizations are being used now to enhance music
    discovery and we'll demonstrate some new visualization techniques
    coming out of the labs that we'll find in tomorrow's music
    discovery applications.

    LEVEL: Advanced

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Salon H, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Bloggers Fight Back: Legal Workshop for Music Bloggers

    by Mehan Jayasuriya and Michael Weinberg

    Have you ever received a takedown notice for an MP3 or video you posted on your blog? Did you get clearance from a publicist only to have the label accuse you of illicitly distributing their content? Did Google delete your Blogspot blog? Are you scared to post MP3s on your blog at all for fear of being sued?

    There's a lot of confusion and disinformation out there when it comes to bloggers' rights--especially where the nuances of copyright law are concerned. In this workshop, we'll teach you how to make sure you're in the clear when posting content on your blog, exactly what your responsibilities are as a blogger and how to fight back if you're wrongfully accused. The presenters--both of whom work for the Washington D.C.-based digital rights non-profit Public Knowledge--will bring a wealth of expertise from both sides of the issue to the table. In addition to overseeing Public Knowledge's outreach and new media efforts, Mehan Jayasuriya is a freelance music blogger and photographer who has worked with publications like PopMatters, Stereogum and DCist. Michael Weinberg is a staff attorney at Public Knowledge, where he focuses on telecommunications policy, in addition to copyright reform and entertainment law.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In Creekside, Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol

  • Sports & Music: Perfect Harmony

    by Brian Jennings

    Technology has radically altered the face of the music industry; the marketing platforms of yesteryear are no longer sufficient for audience development and distribution. As a result, the industry must rely on new platforms - Internet, mobile, on-demand, social networks - to drive demand. The proposed presentation will examine how professional sports has emerged as another powerful new platform for the music industry to help drive demand, engagement, distribution and revenue. Attendees of this presentation will learn about:

    • The natural synergies between the music industry and pro sports
    • The demographic overlays
    • The wealth of potential integrations between music and sports (products, merchandise, events, etc.)
    • The artists and leagues/teams that are innovating in this area
    • Future development and distribution opportunities between artists and leagues/teams

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Sunday 13th March

    In TX Ballroom 5-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

Monday 14th March 2011

  • Neither Moguls nor Pirates: Grey Area Music Distribution

    by Sam Howard-Spink, Alex Seago, Heitor Alvelos, Pat Aufderheide and Jeff Ferrell

    The debate surrounding music piracy versus the so-called collapse of the music industry has largely been bipolar, and yet so many other processes of music distribution have been developing. From online “sharity” communities that digitize obscure vinyl never released in digital format (a network of cultural preservation, one could argue), all the way to netlabels that could not care less about making money out of their releases, as well as “grime” networks made up of bedroom musicians constantly remixing each other, there is a vast wealth of possibilities driving music in the digital world. This panel will present key examples emerging from this “grey area”, and discuss future scenarios for music production and consumption that stand proudly outside the bipolar box.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Monday 14th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Love, Music & APIs

    by Matthew Ogle and Dave Haynes

    In the old days it was DJs, A&R folks, labels and record store owners that were the gatekeepers to music. Today, we are seeing a new music gatekeeper emerge... the developer. Using open APIs, developers are creating new apps that change how people explore, discover, create and interact with music. But developers can't do it alone. They need data like gig listings, lyrics, recommendation tools and, of course, music! And they need it from reliable, structured and legitimate sources.

    In this presentation we'll discuss and explore what is happening right now in the thriving music developer ecosystem. We'll describe some of the novel APIs that are making this happen and what sort of building blocks are being put into place from a variety of different sources. We'll demonstrate how companies within this ecosystem are working closely together in a spirit of co-operation. Each providing their own pieces to an expanding pool of resources from which developers can play, develop and create new music apps across different mediums - web, mobile, software and hardware. We'll highlight some of the next-generation of music apps that are being created in this thriving ecosystem.

    Finally we'll take a look at how music developers are coming together at events like Music Hack Day, where participants have just 24 hours to build the next generation of music apps. Someone once said, "APIs are the sex organs of software. Data is the DNA." If this is true, then Music Hack Days are orgies.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • SXSW Music Fans Meetup

    As the SXSW Interactive Festival continues to grow, it often becomes harder to discover /network with the specific type of people you want to network with. Hence a full slate of daytime Meet Ups are scheduled for the 2011 event. This time slot if for music fans to get together talk shop, talk records, talk shows, talk bands…basically just talk about music. If you're sticking around for SXSW Music it's a great good head start to finding out what bands to see and parties to hit. Cash bar onsite.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

  • Music & Metadata: Do Songs Remain The Same?

    by Larisa Mann, Jess Hemerly and Jason Schultz

    Metadata may be an afterthought when it comes to most people's digital music collections, but when it comes to finding, buying, selling, rating, sharing, or describing music, little matters more. Metadata defines how we interact and talk about music—from discreet bits like titles, styles, artists, genres to its broader context and history. Metadata builds communities and industries, from the local fan base to the online social network. Its value is immense. But who owns it? Some sources are open, peer-produced and free. Others are proprietary and come with a hefty fee. And who determines its accuracy? From CDDB to MusicBrainz and Music Genome Project to AllMusic, our panel will explore the importance of metadata and information about music from three angles. First, production, where we'll talk about the quality and accuracy of peer-produced sources for metatdata and music information, like MusicBrainz and Wikipedia, versus proprietary sources, like CDDB. Second, we'll look at the social importance of music data, like how we use it to discuss music and how we tag it to enhance music description and discovery. Finally, we'll look at some legal issues, specifically how patent, copyright, and click-through agreements affect portability and ownership of data and how metadata plays into or out of the battles over "walled garden" systems like Facebook and Apple's iEmpire. We'll also play a meta-game with metadata during the panel to demonstrate how it works and why it is important.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Profiting from Technology: Online, Offline and On Tour

    by Kimberly Thompson, David Claassen, Fred Croshal, Bram Bessoff and Bryan Calhoun

    Major and indie artists are leveraging new technologies and smart marketing to re-define success in today’s music industry. These artists are not only reaching their goals, they are profiting from their success BIGGER & FASTER than ever before; this panel will show you how to do the same. Since new technology start-ups are a dime a dozen, its critical to know which strategies and companies will drive success while making you the most money online, offline and on the road. This panel features representatives of innovative, tech-savvy artists and best-in-class technology providers to discuss recent developments and relevant success stories from tour-centric to online marketing strategies that employ both innovation and technology to improve the bottom line. After this panel, you will walk away knowing how to take immediate action and make career defining decisions.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon H, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Indie Success: Caching in on Collaboration

    by Mary Jo Pehl, Heather Gold, Kenyatta Cheese and Allee Willis

    Since the web began we've been talking about artists having a career without a label and going to fans direct. We finally have examples of it working. So what does it look like? SXSW Veteran Heather Gold sits down with collaborating songwriters Allee Willis (September, Boogie Wonderland, over 50 million albums sold) and Pomplamoose (over 28 million YouTube views) and you to find out.

    Allee and Pomplamoose met online after Pomplamoose covered Allee's September and decided to collaborate together. By SXSW 2011 they will have released 3-10 songs, videosongs, a podcast and an online game together as part of a single project. This is a kind of collaboration, art and business that would not be possible without the web.

    Allee has sold 50,000,000 records and yet cannot read or write music. Pomplamoose make all their songs in a tiny room crammed with a piano and instruments. Both are exceptionally accessible and conversational.

    In this case study we’ll find out how "limitations" and openness serve them in an era of "personal brands." We’ll also dig into their collaborative process in making music and visuals together and find out how they've succeeded creatively and in every other way.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon C, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Metadata: The Backbone Of Digital Music Commerce

    by Bill Wilson

    Who cares about metadata? You should. In a world where millions of digital music transactions take place on a daily basis, it's more important than ever that music, video, and application content appears correctly in digital storefronts, customers can find them, and that the right songwriter, artist and/or content owner gets paid.

    This panel will review the current landscape and make sense of the various identifiers such as ISRC, ISWC, GRID, ISNI as well as XML communications standards such as DDEX ERN and DSR messages. We'll also cover why these common systems are critical as the backbone of digital music commerce from the smallest indie artist to the biggest corporate commerce partners.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • A Conversation with Randall Poster & Richard Linklater

    by Richard Linklater and Randall Poster

    Filmmaker Richard Linklater sits down with prolific Music Supervisor Randall Poster, to talk about the importance of music in film. Poster has worked with the greats, including Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, and Jason Reitman.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Bright's Passage

    by Josh Ritter

    Named one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters by Paste, lauded as “cream of the young singer-songwriter crop” by the New York Times, and hailed by Stephen King for “the most exuberant outburst of energy since Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,’” Josh Ritter is a beloved musician whose albums include The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away. Known for the storytelling and literary sophistication of his lyrics, his session at SXSW Interactive marks the launch of his newest method of self-expression: his debut novel BRIGHT’S PASSAGE (on sale June 28). Ritter has written a deeply affecting story about the unlikely journey undertaken by a veteran, his infant son, and their guardian angel in the aftermath of World War I. Joining him on stage to discuss his novel, its genesis and what it represents within his larger body of work is Bob Boilen, creator and host of “All Songs Considered” from NPR Music.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center

  • Music and Sound for Mobile Games

    by Adam Randall, Shane Vitarana and Ben Long

    Mobile is by far the fastest growing sector of the game industry. The growth of the app market is buoyed by an explosion in hardware. New mobile devices appear almost weekly, each promising heightened user experience. It’s no surprise that consumers are expecting better audio in their mobile games. This has created infinite revenue possibilities for composers, bands and sound artists. Join Ben Long as he reveals the technical, creative and business aspects of audio in mobile games. Also, Shane Vitarana and Adam Randall will shed light on the present and future of drum apps and how they relate to mobile games.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Music for Video Games

    As the SXSW Interactive Festival continues to grow, it often becomes harder to discover /network with the specific type of people you want to network with. Hence a full slate of daytime Meet Ups are scheduled for the 2011 event. These Meet Ups are definitely not a panel session -- nor do they offer any kind of formal presentation or AV setup. On the contrary, these sessions are a room where many different conversations and (and will) go on at once. This timeslot is for registrants to network with other SXSW Interactive, Gold and Platinum registrants who are interested in how music is involved in the gaming industry. Cash bar onsite.

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 616AB, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • Rockin' the Check-in: Location Strategies for Musicians

    by Jonathan Carroll and Cindy Royal

    Emerging social media platforms offer musicians unprecedented opportunities to distribute music and engage fans, often circumventing the traditional models of label deals and radio airplay. Today, it is more about creating a community around your music and engaging your fan base than major label deals and platinum sales. For some artists, fan engagement has happened organically, as a result of the quality of their music, years of touring or their innovative sound. Certain bands have always had fans that followed them from city to city, meeting other fans, sharing music and stories. New social media tools, like the location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare, can be used as platforms for rewarding fans for desired behaviors.

    Currently, these platforms are in their infancy. Their focus is evolving toward event as well as location-based check-ins. Musicians can engage these services by encouraging fans to check-in at shows, offering rewards for multiple check-ins on a tour, providing a space for fans to aggregate photos and videos, and offering a way for fans to develop their own interactions, like organizing meet-ups and creating trips. Once fans are signed up with a location-based service, bands can offer merchandise discounts, meet and greet access, limited edition items and downloads or other incentives. The key is engaging passionate fans wherever they are in the world via mobile devices. Let them help by giving them the tools they need to spread the word. Co-presenting on this panel will be Jonathan Carroll, Community Manager at Gowalla.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In TX Ballroom 1, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage video

  • Can Crowdsourcing Save Classical Music?

    by Indira Etwaroo

    Classical musicians have always enjoyed a close relationship with their audience, one that is well understood in the traditional context of performance. However, with the growth of social media and an ever-increasing number of people listening to music online, that relationship is changing. How will this transformation affect classical music artists and their audience?

    In a blog post earlier this year, New Yorker music critic Alex Ross wrote of the continuing downward trend in the consumption of classical music by Generation X. While classical music listening in other generations has tended to increase as people approach middle age, Gen Xers are showing a precipitous decline in interest. He writes, “Every classical organization in America should print out this graph, pin it on the bulletin board, and ponder what is to be done.”

    Could attracting wider participation in classical music from a broader and younger audience online be the key to preserving the genre? The panel discusses this question in the context of several projects, including The YouTube Symphony, The Royal Opera House’s “Twitterdammerung,” The Greene Space’s Battle of the Boroughs and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Project 440, with an eye not only to what works and what doesn’t, but to how these projects can be adapted to support music and the creative process.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In TX Ballroom 5-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

  • Connected Devices, the Cloud & the Future of Music

    by Malthe Sigurdsson, Steve Savoca, Brenna Ehrlich and Travis Bogard

    Discovering and listening to music today is a fragmented experience. Most consumers discover in one place, purchase in another, and listen somewhere else. While iTunes remains the dominant way people buy and organize their digital music collections, on-demand music services like Rdio, MOG and Spotify are creating new ways to discover, play, organize, and share music.

    The wide-spread adoption of smartphones and connected devices, along with the growing ubiquity of wireless networks, has increased the promise of music-in-the-cloud, but are consumers ready to give up their iTunes and owning their music outright? While, early adopters and music enthusiasts are latching on, what will it take for the mainstream to shift their thinking? This session will explore how connected devices and cloud services will affect the way consumers find and buy music going forward.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Town Lake Ballroom, Radisson Hotel & Suites Austin-Town Lake

  • How Digital Media Drives International Collaboration in Music

    by Troy Campbell, Stephen Averill and Gunnar Madsen

    The House of Songs is an Austin, TX based project focusing on musical creativity through international collaboration. The House has been operating since September 2009 and has provided the foundation for creative collaboration between some of the strongest Austin and Scandinavian songwriters. Through these experiences, the participating songwriters have created numerous potential relationships and have attained unique experiences benefiting their musical careers. This panel will discuss how digital media influences these collaboration efforts in the present and in the future. The conversation will also cover current trends in this area, challenges artists face in developing and expanding their audience, how artists today can succeed in procuring worldwide digital revenue, and ultimately emphasize the need of having this conversation.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 18ABCD, Austin Convention Center

  • Selling Services or Products to Musicians

    by Noah Dinkin

    Many web companies target the musician community for their first (and sometimes only) segment of users. Sometimes this works and the company is a success within the music space. Sometimes early traction with musicians is elusive and the company is forced to pivot to target a different customer base. This panel looks at why targeting musicians might be a good or bad idea, and how to be effective if you decide to do it. Panelists will include companies who have started and stayed within the music space as well as companies who have switched from music to another vertical. Some other important questions to consider: Should you think of selling to musicians more as consumers, prosumers, or small businesses? Is a one-time purchase, subscription, or advertising revenue model better when targeting musicians?

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Salon A, Hilton Austin Downtown

  • The Democratization of Music Education

    by Justin Noormand and Tony Howlett

    From the walkman to the iPod, music has long thrived in the mobile medium and now the merging of music and wireless phones is a reality. Thus far mobile music has been controlled by only a few companies and the creation of music applications has been limited to those with technical resources. But new mobile applications and social networking technology is extending more control and power to musicians and music teachers. These apps are making it easy and profitable for musicians to share their experience and knowledge with consumers, students and the up and coming talent in the music world. This discussion will cover the democratization of learning music via the phone, what this means for the music industry, the issues to overcome and examples of these emerging applications that give more power to the people.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center