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Adventures in
music, technology
and the adjacent possible
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
About me
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Build & fix
things
Help people
fulfil their
potential
Be
useful
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Product
development
& business
strategy
Facilitating
and
connecting
people &
projects
Entertainment & Technology
@howardgr...
Projects
H Bureau
Business partner to companies in the
experience economy
Decoded
Facilitating innovation masterclasses wi...
Music industry brain drain?
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Reasons for a shift
Entrenched incumbents
Growth and demystifying of technology sector
Wider lens; people, influences, mar...
From music to tech
(Yes, they’re all male. There weren’t any women that came to mind immediately who have made
this shift;...
Developing knowledge
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Accelerated learning
Synthesise other ideas, opinions, themes
Know what you don’t know
Spend time in divergent fields
Have...
How to learn and know more?
Be curious
Understand why
Look out for your biases
Spend time around people smarter than you
T...
Remember...
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
The future of the music business (?)
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
The continued rise of GAFA
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
What might this look like in 5-10 years?
Is a major record label required?
If the main need for them is promotional push.....
Hollywood = Netflix & Amazon?
Netflix have worldwide rights to ‘The Irishmen’ by these guys
Typical movie studio need mark...
The next generation music company
An entertainment company rather than pure music
- Music is part of our wider entertainme...
VR
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Easy to forget that it’s
not the first time...
VR
Still early and not quite ready for mass-market consumers
Best Buy closed half of its Oculus VR demo stations due to lo...
VR
Music was disrupted early on by technology (Napster)
An indicator music could be a good start point for VR too?
Steven ...
VR companies to watch
(maybe it’s better to look out for content and software ahead of hardware)
And (of course):
@howardg...
Startups
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Paul Graham, Y Combinator:
“A company designed to grow fast”
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
For a company
to grow really
big it must...
(a) make something lots of people
want, and
(b) reach and serve all those peop...
What is a startup?
Usually we think of tech, because that’s often the best way to get to (B)
Can be stuck in (B) but get t...
Why do startups fail?
Usually there’s no market need / not solving a real problem. See www.autopsy.io
When thinking about ...
What is a music
tech startup?
Using our previous definition:
- High growth company
- Using technology
- Core focus on util...
Examples of music tech startups
Musical.ly
Merchroadie
Renewed interest in the space recently:
Tech Stars
Atom Factory
(An...
Startups? Music companies? Both? Neither?
NB: They’ve all approached the market from tech first and are now
moving into co...
Evaluating a startup’s prospects
Does the problem/need really exist?
Team > Idea
Execution > Idea (hint: the idea is not q...
Validating your startup idea
Lean Canvas
Assumptions
Experiments: Low cost + High learning potential
- Customer interviews...
Startup Studios <> Artist Managers
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Expa are a startup studio
What similarities do they have...
Art & Science
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
What is music today?
More science than ever
Maybe this means there’s an even greater need for
great art?
AI is coming thro...
Artist?
The Next Rembrandt - JWT Amsterdam
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
How does this make you feel? @howardgray
www.howardgray.net
What could happen in the adjacent possible?
“The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the
edges of th...
What could happen in the adjacent possible?
- Hollywood soundtracks by AI
- Festival lineups booked by big data
- Playlist...
Deeper Diving
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Smart People
Tech
Mark Suster
Y Combinator Startup School
Rik Lomas
Innovation
Clayton Christensen
MusicTech
Cortney Hardi...
My Projects
H Bureau
www.hbureau.com
Soundcheck
www.soundcheckfestival.com
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
Thanks!
@howardgray
www.howardgray.net
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Music, Tech and the Adjacent Possible - Westminster University - March 2017

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My talk at Westminster University's Music Management and Marketing course. The course team wanted to cover several topics so here is everything from AI to VR to the future of music in 2025 :)

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Music, Tech and the Adjacent Possible - Westminster University - March 2017

  1. 1. Adventures in music, technology and the adjacent possible @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  2. 2. About me @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  3. 3. Build & fix things Help people fulfil their potential Be useful @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  4. 4. Product development & business strategy Facilitating and connecting people & projects Entertainment & Technology @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  5. 5. Projects H Bureau Business partner to companies in the experience economy Decoded Facilitating innovation masterclasses with professionals and businesses The Goods Creativity & entrepreneurship workshops for the leaders of the future @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  6. 6. Music industry brain drain? @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  7. 7. Reasons for a shift Entrenched incumbents Growth and demystifying of technology sector Wider lens; people, influences, markets Logic and rationale, more meritocracy Fluidity of roles Exploring the adjacent possible, the unknown… ...and if you’re Elon Musk, the (almost) impossible @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  8. 8. From music to tech (Yes, they’re all male. There weren’t any women that came to mind immediately who have made this shift; is this a problem with music, tech, me, or something else?) @howardgray www.howardgray.net Who? Where before? Where now?
  9. 9. Developing knowledge @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  10. 10. Accelerated learning Synthesise other ideas, opinions, themes Know what you don’t know Spend time in divergent fields Have strong opinions, but don’t hold them that way @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  11. 11. How to learn and know more? Be curious Understand why Look out for your biases Spend time around people smarter than you Take time to consider advice you receive Ask good questions Use a notebook Re-read it (think like Darwin) @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  12. 12. Remember... @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  13. 13. The future of the music business (?) @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  14. 14. The continued rise of GAFA @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  15. 15. What might this look like in 5-10 years? Is a major record label required? If the main need for them is promotional push...could Live Nation, Spotify or someone else do this just as well, if not better? In a consolidating industry: Discover new economies of scale (streaming, Amazon Echo - what else?) Change the ownership structure (blockchain?) Amazon Music is a loss leader to hook people into Prime - good or bad? Netflix growth... @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  16. 16. Hollywood = Netflix & Amazon? Netflix have worldwide rights to ‘The Irishmen’ by these guys Typical movie studio need marketing & distribution strategy; get people to cinemas Netflix give it prime position on their app, already exposed to 94m people = Less risk, less cost @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  17. 17. The next generation music company An entertainment company rather than pure music - Music is part of our wider entertainment diet; that doesn’t need to be a negative thing 2025 Control the pipes of distribution Focus on live and experiential Data at the core Default to open and transparent Create content collaboratively Place content into new areas @howardgray www.howardgray.net Which new companies could be built here?
  18. 18. VR @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  19. 19. @howardgray www.howardgray.net Easy to forget that it’s not the first time...
  20. 20. VR Still early and not quite ready for mass-market consumers Best Buy closed half of its Oculus VR demo stations due to low performance Challenges Awareness is low Device isn’t portable Content is limited Hard to understand why you should care, unless you’re there Next phase starting to happen - watch this space @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  21. 21. VR Music was disrupted early on by technology (Napster) An indicator music could be a good start point for VR too? Steven Johnson: more about immersive than narrative, the back story is less important. E.g. Titanic in VR; we don’t care about the character's story, we just want to be dropped on the ship and wander around Film struggles with this - music may do better, especially in the live arena What are the social conventions around VR? @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  22. 22. VR companies to watch (maybe it’s better to look out for content and software ahead of hardware) And (of course): @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  23. 23. Startups @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  24. 24. Paul Graham, Y Combinator: “A company designed to grow fast” @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  25. 25. For a company to grow really big it must... (a) make something lots of people want, and (b) reach and serve all those people Most companies are A or B. Successful startups are both. Hairdressers = (A), not (B) Social network for skiing instructors in South London = (B), not (A) On-demand taxi service = (A) & (B) *Doesn’t have to be new, work on technology, or to take venture capital...but usually is at least 1 of these. @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  26. 26. What is a startup? Usually we think of tech, because that’s often the best way to get to (B) Can be stuck in (B) but get to (A) later. This can be a good strategy - serve a niche market first, then quickly move into others. Facebook: Social network only for Harvard students. Then 1 other college, then every US college, etc etc. @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  27. 27. Why do startups fail? Usually there’s no market need / not solving a real problem. See www.autopsy.io When thinking about startup ideas, think first about: - Solving problems that people have; - Fulfilling their needs, wants and desires It usually helps if: - The problem/need is important to people - It’s a problem/need that you have - You can build a solution for it @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  28. 28. What is a music tech startup? Using our previous definition: - High growth company - Using technology - Core focus on utilising music (and/or the industry behind it) - Solving a customer problem / fulfilling a strong want or desire @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  29. 29. Examples of music tech startups Musical.ly Merchroadie Renewed interest in the space recently: Tech Stars Atom Factory (And look out for The Rattle Space…) @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  30. 30. Startups? Music companies? Both? Neither? NB: They’ve all approached the market from tech first and are now moving into content and creative... @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  31. 31. Evaluating a startup’s prospects Does the problem/need really exist? Team > Idea Execution > Idea (hint: the idea is not quite as important as you may think…) How big could the market be for this? Is this a zero sum game? (music streaming may well be - arguably Uber too) Reliance on other factors (e.g. investors don’t tend to like music licensing) @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  32. 32. Validating your startup idea Lean Canvas Assumptions Experiments: Low cost + High learning potential - Customer interviews - Landing page - Name test (Zipcar) - Facebook Ads @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  33. 33. Startup Studios <> Artist Managers @howardgray www.howardgray.net Expa are a startup studio What similarities do they have to a music management company?
  34. 34. Art & Science @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  35. 35. What is music today? More science than ever Maybe this means there’s an even greater need for great art? AI is coming through in other creative sectors, but will it supersede the core creatives? AI catwalk show at London Fashion Week? @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  36. 36. Artist? The Next Rembrandt - JWT Amsterdam @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  37. 37. How does this make you feel? @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  38. 38. What could happen in the adjacent possible? “The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. The adjacent possible captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation.” @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  39. 39. What could happen in the adjacent possible? - Hollywood soundtracks by AI - Festival lineups booked by big data - Playlists wired to your next emotion - Bitcoin bars - No merch, no entry - Gigs in Amazon drones @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  40. 40. Deeper Diving @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  41. 41. Smart People Tech Mark Suster Y Combinator Startup School Rik Lomas Innovation Clayton Christensen MusicTech Cortney Harding Entertainment Business Anita Elberse Marketing Seth Godin @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  42. 42. My Projects H Bureau www.hbureau.com Soundcheck www.soundcheckfestival.com @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  43. 43. Thanks! @howardgray www.howardgray.net
  • artistsatscale

    Apr. 7, 2018

My talk at Westminster University's Music Management and Marketing course. The course team wanted to cover several topics so here is everything from AI to VR to the future of music in 2025 :)

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