Hisham Dahud: For those not familiar with SF MusicTech, whom would you say the event is primarily geared towards?
Brian Zisk: The SF MusicTech Summit is geared towards those interested in meeting and interacting with many of the leading lights from the music/technology community. It's for those looking to learn about what's working at the bleeding edge and seeking business opportunities with folks who will be leading the way into the evolving music/technology ecosystem. It's also a great place to help to grow and participate in a Northern California music and related technology market.
Some folks ask if the Summit is appropriate for indie musicians. As a B2B event, the answer is that the Summit is quite appropriate for indie musicians (or any other folks) who are actively doing business with music/technology companies. For those with just a demo, hoping to get signed, without an active online dealmaking presence, no, not really.
Hisham: What inspired you to organize this event?
Brian: I love getting people together. My core mission is to assemble the smartest visionaries in music and technology to connect, do business, have a great time, and generally come out much better off than before they attended the Summit. Our aim is to move the entire music technology ecosystem forward in a positive way. Attendees can expect to connect and do business, to share what we they are doing and to spot future trends, to see old friends, and meet new ones, and to build community.
Hisham: What significance does the San Francisco Bay Area represent in being the origin for this event?
Brian: There are more exciting music/technology companies in the San Francisco Bay Area than anywhere else in the world. Yet many of us saw each other rarely, once a year at Midem, or in Austin for SXSW. The SF MusicTech Summit was created to bring all of these folks together in our local community, to reach a critical mass where lots can happen for everybody, to enable access to these music/technology luminaries for anyone who chooses to participate.
We also aim to mix in core Bay Area music/technology folks who may not be able to make it to out of town events due to time, family, or budget limitations. Start-ups can bring their whole team for a fraction of the price of bringing a few folks to Midem, and be back in their Bay Area bed that night. We're also thrilled to provide a platform where those who visit can connect with the vast majority of Bay Area MusicTech luminaries, and are amazed to see registrations from as far away as Asia.
The San Francisco Bay Area is the epicenter of Internet innovation. In fact, Mayor Ed Lee (who did the introduction at our last Summit) has placed Innovation Month SF around our upcoming event, to highlight events like ours that encourage folks to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hisham: How has the Summit grown over the years?
Brian: When we first started the Summit, no one knew what to expect. Over time, a thriving community of music tech enthusiasts has revealed itself. It's more about amplifying a great group of smart, innovative and interesting individuals ... and that group has more than doubled since our first summit in 2008.
Hisham: What does this year's Summit have in store that separates it from previous ones?
Brian: Each Summit tops the last. At our next Summit this October 9th, we'll expand to surrounding venues in Japantown to accommodate our rapidly growing audience. Additions include the New People Cinema and Yoshi's Jazz Club's main room for our Gracenote sponsored after party featuring a performance by Pomplamoose. Also, this time we are promoting SF MusicTech Week to focalize the many events of interest during the week of the Summit.
We've also added SF MusicTech Hackday the day before on October 8th for our hardcore programmers. Finally, we added the SF MusicTech Start-Up Challenge Showcase for hot new companies competing for an opportunity to appear on our stage.
Hisham: How do you envision technology helping to advance the music industry? What about the livelihoods of musicians?
Brian: The music industry has changed. No longer is it about shipping plastic discs all over the place, and paying to get them displayed in stores. Now musicians can record professional tracks at home, put them online, and get paid directly by their fans. No longer do musicians have to sign away their rights in order to participate in the industry. Musicians can keep their rights, connect with fans, and build successful careers around the work they've created. As the industry grows, and technology and innovation evolves, more and more success stories are going to come out, and it's going to be a healthier ecosystem.
The SF MusicTech Summit takes place October 9th from the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco.