New Noise Rocks

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in the New Noise Music Festival for a third consecutive year.  What began as a grassroots operation has suddenly become a standard for music artists, producers, and professionals to come together, share insights and visions.  This year, I was particularly impressed with the level of experience the speakers and attendees brought to the party.  The panel I moderated focused on Funding in the Music Industry.

Our panel members included:

Vickie Nauman – VP North America, 7digital
Jeffrey Sass – Chief Evangelist, myxer
Sanem “Sam” Alkan – CEO, Social Genius / Audiovroom Nhon Ma – Founder and CEO – Seth Epstein – CEO, Social Stay


 In that hour discussion, the audience learned what not to do when you start a business like “expect it to work from launch.”  One of the key takeaways is establishing the importance of an “iterative” process.  And by iterative I mean the only constant is change.  Vickie Nauman who is the gatekeeper at 7digital for funding looks for very specific characteristics including:
  • companies focusing on building a great UI;
  • have an understanding of music rights;
  • aware of the cost and complexity of digital music

Seems  like a pretty straightforward list, but she finds the vast majority are missing one or two of these critical components.  Jeff Saas who’s been on the funding side (having raised $40Million for a prior venture) and now on the PR/Marketing side for Myxer stressed the importance of a solid product.  “If your product has flaws, don’t launch.  You must control the things that are within your control.”  That certainly is a verity of a startup and establishing a basis for funding.  After all, you will be mired with dozens of issues out of your control.  Nhon Ma reaffirmed the importance of an iterative process and a market validation process, “you have to talk to your customer base and listen.”  Nhon left a career at Google to start  He explained that “most products at Google fail and never see the light of day.”  Without Google’s resources, the iterative process is key to prevent burning through the little cash startups have when first launching a product, or as Sam Alkan would say, “an experience.”

Sam made a brilliant insight in saying that “Era of products is changing to the era of experience.”  Sam’s startup, Social Genius aims to revolutionize how music is shared.  The concept of “sharing” was huge at this year’s New Noise festival.  That’s what the festival is all about – sharing ideas, challenges, networks all through music and music production.  Seth Epstein echoed the importance of sharing when he explained how his startup, Social Stay simplifies the sharing of concerns and requests from hotel guests to hotel staff, “Please send a text to the front desk today”, he quipped.

Pandora and spotify just begin to scratch the surface as to where streaming, customized music is headed.  When you bundle the mobile device (smart phones, tablets, etc) into the mix, your location and the people around your location suddenly influence the music choices.  If you’re a human who puts music right up there with eating and sleeping, then be sure to check out New Noise in 2012 and stay close to special events and promotions until then at their site:

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