Discovery: The Key To Digital Fortune

Future Sound

(from Billboard Magazine, December 1, 2012) Becoming discovered for artists today is a much more daunting task than years ago. There are numerous digital platforms that keep artists fighting and doing everything they can to make it to the top. For over 10 years now, the digital world has used different methods to try and break the code of what it takes to be the next big act to be discovered through technology. Entrepreneurs at the FutureSound conference gave insights on how they think today’s digital world defines the music industry and how they created the monster it is today.

Union Square Ventures partner, Fred Wilson, says it’s all about free discovery. The simple fact of an opportunity to discover without a cost is what people jump at today. Although, with free discovery comes the explosion of artists trying to make a breakthrough. Some professionals say the industry needs to cut down on the amount of free giving it offers. They instead look for apps such as Blue Note, which lets listeners sample a 30-second section of any song, or for $1.99 listen to any song they would like. Professionals say eliminating free services such as Spotify, YouTube, and Pandora would help online stores.

One way people are getting discovered today is through collaborative filtering. This is when a user filters music by genre, song, or artist and the service is able to narrow down similar music to enhance the users experience. Not only is the positive for the user, but for artists being discovered every day by their fellow, or sometimes rival, artists. Professionals say with all of these new digital services, one thing has recently become very popular: finding the algorithms to define the needs of listeners. Ford Motors Director of Research and Development, Jim Buczkowski, even says in the future, cars may be able to detect the mood of their drivers, and can then adjust the music to their taste.

The music industry, like in the past, is a dog eat dog industry, and with technology as it is today and progressing, it’s not looking any easier.