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SXSW Music 2010 shows healthy industry pulse

SXSW Interactive is all about digital media trends, and SXSW Music is all about the music business. I quickly realized this on Wednesday, the first day of panels at the SXSW Music Festival after 5 days of being at the Interactive festival.  About 15,000 people attended the 2010 Interactive portion, and 13,000 music industry professionals were registered for the music portion of SXSW.

Yet there’s a lot of overlap between these two portions of SXSW, and on the last day of Interactive, music was a focus.

I attended a panel about music licensing for technology services -- e.g. how does a social music service or site legally get access to a catalog of music. The panel was titled Music Licensing for Emerging Media: Apps, Widgets, Viral Videos.

A panelist exclaimed that music search is getting so good that soon any song can be found and then available for license for any music service. Not everyone agrees.

Music Licensing Panel

The big buzz the last day of the Interactive conference was a keynote from streaming music service Spotify, which isn’t available here in the U.S. I admit that I’ve tested Spotify and that it’s a nice service to stream music. I didn’t learn anything new here on the panel, you can read more about it on Billboard.biz or Paidcontent.org.

Still, I did notice that as Spotify CEO Daniel Ek demonstrated the streaming service, he got lots of applauds and oohs and ahhs from the audience.

Even with the hype around Spotify’s potential arrival in the US, did you know that in the US, according to eMarketer, 27% of music listeners do not have a preferred place to listen to music online?  And in the UK, a new study says 40% of music fans can’t name a legal music service. I believe these numbers reflect consumer behaviors -- music fans are likely going online not to find a particular streaming music service, but to interact with their favorite bands on artist websites.

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Quick Post – Cisco Eos and Music at SXSW

Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo

SXSW Interactive Festival : Mark Mothersbaugh, co-founder of the band Devo, signs fans laptops after announcing that a new Devo web site will soon be launched by Warner Bros Records, powered by Cisco Eos.

I attended SXSW Interactive for five days and I blogged about two themes that ran through the conference -- 1) gelocation services have an important future in the media and entertainment experience, and 2) content brands are more than ever expected to be perpetual storytellers continually engaged in dialog with their audience.

The last day of the Interactive conference panels seemed to get more and more focused on music, and Cisco Eos was in the mix! Just a quick recap here since we are still absorbing all the knowledge and discussions about music and digital media and will write more.

Devo founders Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh led a panel called ‘Devo, the Internet and You’. Devo, was joined by Tom Moulton of the brand marketing agency Mother, as the firm has partnered with the band to help expound on Devo’s new concepts under a marketing campaign the band is calling ‘Devo 2.0′. Jeremy Welt, SVP of New Media at Warner Bros Records made the announcement that Devo will soon be launching a new site for the band and it’s ‘Devo 2.0′ push on the Cisco Eos platform.

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Cisco Announces First Film, UK-based Customer for Cisco Eos Platform

This morning the Cisco Media Solutions Group is pleased to announce Dogwoof as the latest customer of the Cisco Eos® social entertainment platform.  Dogwoof is a leading independent film distributor 100% focused on delivering social-issue feature films and documentaries such as Academy Award nominated Burma VJ, and Food, Inc.

Dogwoof_logoWe’re very excited to welcome Dogwoof.  Not only are they great people, and help support great films, but they’re also our first customer in the film genre, and our first customer to be announced in Europe!

Dogwoof will be using the Eos platform to engage audiences in ongoing conversations around the social issues their films address.  Building a social, community-based entertainment experience around their premium content gives Dogwoof a unique opportunity to broaden and deepen its relationship with audiences beyond the theater to educate and ultimately effect change on these social issues.

Dogwoof has a holistic strategy behind their online effort and they’re deploying their Eos sites in a “hub and spoke” model that not only create communities around specific films / issues (the spokes), but also a hub that brings all of their films, communities and issues together in a centralized site.  To that end, Dogwoof unveiled two Eos sites this morning that start to build out this model:

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Producing Perpetual Content

Perpetual Content

Even after 3 days of SXSW Interactive panels, there was still so much discussion about the future of digital media and entertainment in many more panels on the fourth day.

The main theme of the fourth day of the Interactive panels -- if you are a content brand, you are now expected to be a perpetual producer of digital content, 365 days a year, with a mix of content types (video, audio, text). You will also be expected to generate and engage in a social conversation around your content.

This theme of perpetual content production came up early in the day in a panel called the Future of Book Publishing. You can follow the conversation of the panel by using the Twitter hash tag, #futureofbook. Right at the start of the panel, we learned the disheartening statics from the book publishers -- 80% of books published do not make the money back that was spent on them and 40% of books shipped are returned unsold. The publishers on the panel who ranged from a giant, Harper Collins, to Vook.com, an online video and book seller, had some ideas about how to drive more sales and distribution success for authors.

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SXSW Interactive 2010 Demonstrates Vibrant Digital Media Industry

SXSW Trade Show Floor

The 2010 SXSW Interactive Exhibit Hall is busy

I arrived here at the SXSW Interactive Festival on Friday, the first day of the conference, and the main takeaway so far is there is so much going on in the digital media industry right now.

This is my first SXSW yet I’ve attended big technology conferences like the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for many years. Maybe because Austin is smaller than Las Vegas, the SXSW conference seems busier. Figures put CES 2010 attendance at about 110,000 - that’s below the event’s 140,000-plus totals registered between 2005 and 2008. Still it’s a huge show, and SXSW Interactive attendees only compromise 20% of total CES attendees on a given year. I found it interesting SXSW Interactive 2010 attendance is up 40% from 2009. I think the attedance figures demonstrate people are busy in the space right now developing next generation digital media experiences in entertainment and media. Remember, trend watchers are looking for innovations here -- Twitter debuted at the SXSW Interactive Festival in 2007.

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