Digital disruption: Smart speakers at the Music Week Tech Summit

Digital disruption: Smart speakers at the Music Week Tech Summit

Ahead of the inaugural Music Week Tech Summit Together With O2 tomorrow (Wednesday, September 26), here’s our guide to five must-see panels and keynotes on the future of the music industry. Read on for a preview of the big tech issues facing the biz, from the new wave of start-ups to the playlist power of Amazon’s Alexa… And don’t forget, tickets are selling fast so don’t miss out on the essential new event on music’s smart future - see below for how to be a part of the Tech Summit...

Joe Harland, BBC Radio
The Music Industry & Tech Disruption (9.35am)

Joe Harland – head of visual and multi-platform radio across BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra , Radio 2, 6 Music and the Asian Network – will deliver the conference’s opening keynote, talking about his platforms’ success in reaching new audiences through technology. It’s an increasingly important part of BBC Radio’s digital strategy, as the corporation deals with digital disruption from DSPs. 

BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra controller Ben Cooper recently described the “symbiotic relationship” between the networks and digital, as he outlined plans to win more consumers with on-demand audio and short-form video on YouTube. Lewis Carnie, head of Radio 2, told Music Week that the recently launched BBC Sounds app is “reflecting what listeners, particularly young listeners, are doing” in terms of on-demand digital consumption. Expect Harland to provide a vision for BBC radio in the streaming era. 

Alex Luke, Amazon
The Power Of Voice In Music Streaming (10am)

Alexa herself was sadly unavailable, but Amazon Music’s global head of music and content strategy, Alex Luke, is the online retail giant’s key digital executive for insights on voice control and music, as well as the company’s editorial support around its rapidly growing Amazon Music service. The Power Of Voice In Music Streaming session will feature Luke alongside rising artist Joseph J Jones, in a discussion about breaking a musician in the streaming age. 

As the newly trillion dollar company faces competition from the Google Home Mini in the smart speaker market, Luke will also be able to explain why he believes Amazon offers a truly “frictionless” service. Plus he can update the biz on the company’s global playlist strategy, including the launch of its Pop Culture playlist, which just premiered with an exclusive Sia song. 

Sammy Andrews, Deviate Digital
Strategies for 2020 – Investment, Organisation and Talent Prospecting (12pm)

Speaking in the latest issue of Music Week, Deviate Digital CEO Sammy Andrews hailed the conference as a major opportunity for both the music and technology sectors. “Bringing the two sectors together is hugely important,” said Andrews. “When I became a head of digital aged 19, no one even knew what that meant. Now, digital is the majority of what happens in every label and every company, everywhere.”

Music Week’s new columnist is also an unmissable panellist - her contribution to Music Week’s MUSEXPO Europe in 2016 made quite an impact. Andrews’ own panel – looking at music tech strategies for 2020 and beyond, with the likes of Insanity Group’s Andy Varley and MQA’s Mike Jbara – is set to be a standout moment at the Tech Summit. 

Bringing the two sectors together is hugely important

Sammy Andrews

Rian Liebenberg, Kobalt
Afternoon keynote interview (1.45pm)

When it comes to disruption in the music industry, Kobalt have been setting the pace as Willard Ahdritz has taken on the traditionalists in both publishing and recorded music. Rian Liebenberg, Kobalt’s chief technology officer, is set to expand on that vision in his Tech Summit keynote with Music Week editor Mark Sutherland.

“Kobalt is unique,” Liebenberg told Music Week. “It’s the only company that’s built the technology infrastructure to track the billions of microtransactions and fix all the royalty payment inefficiencies in the music industry. Willard Ahdritz understood long ago that, in order to better serve artists and songwriters, one had to create unique technology that increases the speed at which they get rewarded for their work and, by doing so, enabled transparency and fairness into the industry. Our approach has empowered creators, and we’ll continue to invest in technology and products to help artists and songwriters thrive in the digital age.” Expect more of that bold kind of thinking at The O2. 

Vanessa Higgins (3.30pm)
Start-ups will disrupt the industry. Again. Are you ready for it?

As the label boss behind the BPI Innovation Hub, Vanessa Higgins of Regent Street Records has been leading the industry collaboration between music and technology. Expect key insights on the start-up sector as Higgins leads a panel discussion looking at what works and what to avoid, what the music industry and tech sector need to understand about each other and identifying the start-ups to watch.

Higgins will be exploring big ideas for the future of the biz with Seth Jackson, CEO/founder and chairman/founder of Landmark/Strange Thoughts, Abbey Road Studios MD Isabel Garvey, Island Records head of digital Claire Mas and Paul Dilorito, director of innovation and partnerships, PRS For Music.

To join hundreds of top execs from across the music and technology sectors, please check musicweektechsummit.com for ticket availability.

Catch up with pre-conference interviews with our line-up of Tech Summit speakers here

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