Song Stories

Song Stories

Song Stories is a podcast that explores how music changes people's lives and impacts the places they live.

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    Eric Gilbert | Why I Started an Indie Music Festival

    I speak with Eric Gilbert, who is the co-founder and director of Treefort Music Fest, a music festival in Boise, IA. We talk about why the festival came to be and how it has impacted Boise's national reputation and local music scene.

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    Music Tech Incubation With Project Music

    In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast Kyle Bylin talks with Heather McBee from Project Music, which is a music tech incubator, and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center’s leading action to support innovation within the music industry. They talk about the benefits of going through an incubator, some of the inherent issues music tech companies run into during start up, and why the music industry is so ripe for disruption.

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    The Importance of Market Research in Music

    In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast Cortney talks with Alex Mitchell of Audiokite, a market research tool for musicians. Audio kite allows musicians of all sizes to upload their own tracks, and receive feedback from vetted listeners. Cortney and Alex talk about how AudioKite got started, how artists are using the platform successfully, and how to find balance between art and market research.

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    Heard Well and the Rise of the YouTube Influencer

    On this episode of the podcast, Cortney talks to Jeremy Wineberg, the co-founder of the Heard Well label. Heard Well produces compilations from YouTube stars, but in an usual twist, sells physical product and digital downloads. We also talk about Jeremy's past venture, the Music Tee.

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    How Blockchain Can Help The Music Industry

    In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast, we talk with D.A. Wallach, who is a musician, Spotify’s first artist-in-residence, and an adviser for several other technology companies. D.A. put out an essay last year titled "B​itcoin for Rockstars: How Cryptocurrency Can Help Revolutionize The Music Industry," w​hich discusses how blockchain technologies can help the music industry at large with tracking metadata, and moving payments. We talk to D.A. about his essay, his views on blockchain, and how he manages a career in music while also investing in technology companies.

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    Making Your Album Into An App

    In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast we talk with Tim Quirk and Bryan Calhoun the founders of Freeform, a new app development platform for artists. Tim Quirk previously worked at Google Play as head of programming, and was an executive at Rhapsody. Bryan Calhoun previously worked at Sound Exchange as the VP of New Media and External Affairs, as well as numerous positions at various record labels. In this episode we talk about the Freeform platform, how artists can use an app to connect with fans, and how artists can make money while giving their music to fans for free.

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    How Music Got Free

    In this episode of the Music Biz Podcast, we talk with Stephen Witt, who is the author of the recently released H​ow Music Got Free,​a book about music piracy, the mp3, and the downfall of the music industry. We talk to Witt about his book, music piracy, streaming, royalties, and the future of the music industry.

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    New Revenue Streams For DIY Artists

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk with Mark Steiner of GigSalad and Kevin Breuner of CD Baby. We sat down and interviewed them at SF MusicTech 2015 on November 15. Tune in to hear a great conversation about how these two companies are creating new revenue streams for DIY musicians and building supportive community through their joint efforts.

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    Building a Music Community

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk with Scott LeGere and Jay Coyle, who are music business educators and entrepreneurs. Scott is the head of the music business department at McNally Smith College of Music. He has a long history of founding companies, teaching classes, playing music, and recording bands. Jay is the founder of Music Geek Services, a music marketing and digital strategy agency for artists. He also teaches music business classes at Berklee Online. The three of us attended the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington, DC a few weeks ago. I sat down with Scott and Jay for dinner, we had a couple of drinks, and we recorded a podcast.

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    Steve Rennie Offers Music Biz Class

    Steve Rennie has spent the last 30+ years in the music business wearing a number of hats: manager of Incubus, concert promoter, record executive, host of Renman Live, and now the founder of Renman U. Renman U offers an online course all about the music business, where Rennie's straight to the point delivery provides an honest look at what it takes to survive and thrive in today's music industry. In this episode, Alex May (@AlexmDrums) talks with Steve Rennie about his new online course, and how he's hoping to share his knowledge and experience with future music professionals.

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    Concert Discovery

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk with Phil Hutcheon, who is the founder and CEO of DICE, a live music discovery platform that allows fans to find shows and buy tickets without any booking fees. We talk to Hutcheon about the current state of the live music sector.

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    Merchbar Takes Band Merch Mobile

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk to with Ed Aten, who is the CEO and co-founder of Merchbar, a website and mobile app that allows people to purchase artist merch. We talk to Aten about his company and what he has learned running it. Make sure that you subscribe to Music Biz Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. You can also follow the show and get the latest episodes and on SoundCloud. If you like the show, I'd love for you rate us highly and submit a review in iTunes.

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    Soundwave Helps Music Apps Solve Cold Start Problem

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk with Craig Watson, who is the co-founder of Soundwave, a popular music discovery app. They also make an SDK, called Shine, that helps developers learn about the mobile music habits of their user base and provide them with better recommendations when they first install a new music app. We talk to Watson about how Soundwave’s product and focus changed as they learned more about the mobile music sector.

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    Flipagram's Meteoric Rise

    In this episode of Music Biz Podcast, we talk to Farhad Mohit, who is the founder and CEO of Flipagram, an app that allows users to create musical slideshows with photos and videos. We talk to Mohit about Flipagram’s meteoric rise and his views on the future of music.

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    LANDR: An Online Alternative to Mastering

    LANDR's automated online mastering service helps music creators get professional sounding masters. By uploading a track to LANDR, artists get quick results, and are able to choose from a few different styles of processing. In this episode, Alex May talks to Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Justin Evans about how this process works, and what it means for artists.

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    The Millennial Generation

    In this episode of the Music Business Podcast, we talk with MaryLeigh Bliss, who is a Trends Editor and Strategic Consultant at Ypulse, a youth market research firm. We talk to Bliss about the millennial generation. Who are they? How do they listen to, discover, and interact with music?

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    Is Video the Future of Music Streaming?

    In this episode of Music Business Podcast, we are talking with Bryce Clemmer, who is the co-founder and CEO of Vadio, a Portland-based company that provides an online video platform to media companies. We talk to Clemmer about the state of mobile video and how it’s changing.

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    The Need For Transparency In Music

    In this episode of the Music Business Podcast, we talk with Casey Rae, who is the CEO of
 the Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit research, education, and advocacy organization for musicians. We talk to Rae about the need for transparency in the music business.

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    How Haulix is Preventing Albums from Leaking

    In this episode of the Music Business Podcast, Alex May talks with James Shotwell of Haulix, a platform for artists to securely share electronic press kits. As the company’s Social Media Coordinator, Shotwell helps us explore how Haulix addresses and prevents the unauthorized leaking of promotional pre-releases. With his wide range of music business expertise, Shotwell addresses social sharing and helps us answer the question: is Haulix on the road to making album leaks a thing of the past?

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    Are Music Services Wasting Time Recommending New Music?

    In this episode of Music Business Podcast, we talk with George Howard, who is an Associate Professor of Management at Berklee College of Music and Head of Music at Music Audience Exchange. We talk to Howard about his recent Forbes article about why people do not want to discover music.

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    Apple Music Review

    Cortney Harding and Kyle Bylin review Apple Music.

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    Music and Metadata

    Hello everyone and welcome to the Music Business Podcast, presented by I’m your host Kyle Bylin. Today on the show, we are talking with Bill Wilson, who is the VP of digital strategy and business development at the Music Business Association. We are going to talk to Bill about the state of metadata in the music business and why it’s so important today.

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    Stop Hating Spotify

    In this episode of Music Business Podcast, presented by, we talk with David McMillin, who is the lead singer of Fort Frances and author of a recent essay on Pop Matters called “Why Its Time To Stop Hating Spotify.” In the piece, McMilion adds an indie musicians perspective to the royalty payout discussion and floats the idea that maybe Spotify isn’t run by a bunch of sadists. We talk to McMillion his essay, Spotify, music royalties, Tidal and so, so much more. Make sure that you subscribe to Music Business Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. You can also follow the show and get the latest episodes and on SoundCloud. If you like the show, I would love for you rate us highly and submit a review in iTunes.

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    Apple Music Launch

    Kyle Bylin and Cortney Harding discuss Apple Music.

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    The State of Music Streaming

    In this episode of Music Business Podcast, I talk with Anu Kirk, the former Director of Music Services at Sony Network Entertainment. He spent over three years as the business owner of Sony Music Unlimited, a global multi-platform music subscription service. He also worked on MOG and Rhapsody for several years. I talk to Kirk about Spotify Now, Pandora’s acquisition of Next Big Sound, and music streaming services more broadly. Who is creating the best product? How could they be improved upon? These are all important questions to think about as the music industry gets ready for the Apple Music announcement on Monday. Make sure that you subscribe to Music Business Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app.

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    Do Music Exclusives Matter?

    Today on the show, I am talking with Jim McDermott, who is a social media and content marketing strategist for artists. Jim has been involved in the new media and digital music space since 1993. During his career, Jim has developed successful grassroots and online marketing campaigns for Guns & Roses, U2, Sheryl Crow, David Bowie, and many others. He has also worked for Sony Music, PolyGram, Warner Music, UMG, and Island Records. I am going to talk to Jim about music exclusives. These days, every music streaming company is fighting over exclusive content. They want singles and albums from popular artists that no one else has. But do consumers care? Is this going to a strategy that signs up more paying subscribers for companies? Make sure that you subscribe to Music Business Podcast in iTunes or your favorite podcast app. You can also follow the show and get the latest episodes and on SoundCloud.

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    Chosen: A Mobile Talent Contest

    In this episode, I talk with Nicole Cifani, who is a marketing lead 
at Chosen, a talent competition app. Chosen officially launched a few months ago after being in stealth mode for two years. I talk to Nicole about what Chosen 
is and how she landed a job at the company. We are also going to talk about what exactly 
it means to “gamify” the music experience.

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    Why YouTube Rules Music Videos

    Music Business Podcast's Kyle Bylin and Cortney Harding discuss the present and future of YouTube and music videos.

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    Patreon's Jack Conte Shares Startup Lessons

    We talk with Jack Conte, who is the co-founder and CEO of Patreon, a platform that allows people to support creators by becoming paid subscribers of their creative works.

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    Deezer Exec Outlines Global Music Strategy

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Julien Simon, who is the VP of Music Rights and Label Relations at Deezer, a subscription music service. We discuss the company's global expansion strategy and the challenges it must overcome in new markets.

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    Next Big Sound’s Data Journalist Finds Stories In Numbers

    Data journalist Liv Bulli crunches the numbers at Next Big Sound, then puts them into words that even the lay-artist can understand. She and her team have an uncanny way of predicting future hits; they’ve called out Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith way before they were commending awards and headlines. Liv joins the podcast to talk about her role, why artists shouldn’t compare themselves to Taylor Swift, and why tweeting isn’t enough — you actually need to engage your base.

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    Will Jay Z's Tidal Service Have a Hard Knock Life?

    In this special episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, Cortney and Kyle discuss whether Jay-Z's Tidal will suffer a hard knock life in the subscription music market.

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    An MIT Media Lab For Music

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Panos Panay, who is the founding managing director of Berklee's Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship. You probably know Panos from his previous role as the founder and CEO of SonicBids, a platform that allows bands to book gigs and market themselves online. I talk to Panos about the founding story of Berkee ICE and his goals for the initiative.

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    Music Industry Analyst Describes Shifts In Listening Habits

    According to professor Aram Sinnreich, author of the 2013 book The Piracy Crusade: How the Music Industry’s War on Sharing Destroys Markets and Erodes Civil Liberties, college students have changed significantly in their music listening habits and overall musical tastes over the last decade, in part due to market forces and technological innovations. Ten years ago, undergrads typically had a CD collection, perhaps supplemented by a computer hard drive full of MP3 files downloaded from a file-sharing service and listened to using Winamp or iTunes. Students carefully managed their music libraries and strongly identified with one specific genre or group of genres. It’s also likely that they owned an Apple iPod or MP3 player or used an old Sony Walkman. Today, students with access to a computer or smartphone with an Internet or data connection have millions of songs at their fingertips if they don’t mind sitting through a couple of annoying ads. They’re more likely to experiment with new styles and develop broader musical tastes, because the cost of exploring different artists and songs has become so minimal. When you read a news story about a new music app, you often wonder if the startup team sanity-checked their product idea with potential users. Did they visit a university campus and ask a classroom of students, “Can anyone here see themselves using this music app? If so, why would it be useful or valuable to you?” It would seem prudent for them to spend a week walking around a variety of college campuses, observing how students listen to, discover, and interact with music. I think it would be an eye-opening experience, as it would give them a view into real music listening habits of a cross-section of the target population, as opposed to, say, people in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is why I wanted to interview Aram Sinnreich, who is an assistant professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information. Sinnreich has both a music industry analyst’s insights into what’s happening in the market and a university professor’s view of what’s going on with students in his classroom.

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    How Music Consumer Research Has Changed

    Studying people’s music buying habits used to be simple. You handed a person a stack of postcards and told them to send you one the next time they bought an album. They wrote down what they purchased, why they purchased it, where they purchased it, how much they paid for it, and sent that postcard back to you. Russ Crupnick, managing partner of research group MusicWatch Inc., says the rise of file-sharing clients and streaming music services has made it harder to track where people getting their music and whether they are paying anything at all. The number of things that people are doing has increased each passing year. You have to ask people a myriad of questions to cover all the bases. Are you listening to AM/FM radio or SiriusXM? Are you playing songs on Pandora or Spotify? Are you looking up music videos on YouTube or VEVO? Are you buying songs on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon? Are you ripping the audio from a video clip on YouTube and downloading it to your computer as a MP3 file? If you type “YouTube to MP3” into Google’s search engine, it lists dozens of websites that allow you to enter a video link and download a MP3 file. In a few clicks, Taylor Swift’s song “Blank Space” can be playing in iTunes. “The average stream ripper is taking the equivalent of about two albums per year,” says Crupnick. What follows is a podcast interview with Russ Crupnick.

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    Is Broadcast Radio Losing American Teens?

    Edison Research, a New Jersey-based market research firm, introduced its “Share of Ear” study in June 2014, where it showed the share of everything in the audio space. For the first time, the amount of time that people spend listening to broadcast radio, streaming music services, and owned music, among other audio sources, could be compared side by side. In January 2015, Edison Research announced an important finding from its latest “Share of Ear” study: American teens now spend more time with streaming music services, such as Pandora and Spotify, than they do with AM/FM radio. Larry Rosin, president and co-founder of Edison Research, said in a blog post that while AM/FM radio listening “leads by a significant margin among all other age groups,” the increasing amount of time that teens are spending with Pandora and Spotify “could be a lens into the future of audio usage.” Here is an Upward Spiral podcast interview with Larry Rosin.

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    Record Label Exec Gives View On New Media

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Theda Sandiford, who is the VP of Commerce at Republic Records and Island Records, where she handles VEVO, Spotify, Youtube and more. Sandiford got her start at WBLS and then became the first black programmer of a major market country station. In 1994, she was nominated for “Programmer of the Year Award” by the CMA. She moved to Billboard to run the Hot 100 chart, then went on to work at Def Jam. After spending time working with an online games startup, she came back to the music industry, and currently works at Republic. We talk to Sandiford about big data, music streaming, and gaming startups.

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    2015: The Year Ahead For Music Startups

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Jon Maples, the former VP of product at Rhapsody, who is now writing on his blog and consulting for companies. We ask Maples about the next crop of music startups and where they might take the music industry in the coming years.

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    Top Music Business Stories Of 2014

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Darren Hemmings, who runs the digital consultancy Motive Unknown and curates the daily music industry newsletter the Daily Digest. We talk with Hemmings about the top stories that happened in 2014 and what these developments might mean for the music industry in the new year.

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    What Film & TV Learned From Music’s Disruption

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business, we talk with Paul Cantor, a writer and producer, who recently published a piece on Medium about why television is killing the movie business and what that means. We talk to Cantor about his essay and what film and TV can learn from the music biz.

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    The Current State of Music in China

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Archie Hamilton, who runs Splatter, China's first integrated music promotion and brand activation agency. His team manages campaigns for brands seeking to leverage music effectively in their communications strategy. He also runs Split Works, which promotes music independently, owns and runs three of China's biggest festivals and books artists all through SE Asia.

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    Former EXFM CEO Talks Music Startup Challenges

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk with Dan Cantor, who is former CEO and co-founder of exfm, a social music discovery platform that enables people transform music blogs into playable mix. In recent months, his company was acquired by Rhapsody International and he became their VP of product. We talk to Cantor about his company, the music startup space, and Rhapsody’s future.

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    The Future of Music and Advertising in Cars

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Eric Ronning, who is the EVP and Chief Revenue Officer for Digital at adLarge Media, a advertising sales representation organization. Prior to joining adLarge, Ronning served as the EVP of Emerging Media at TargetSpot and the founder and managing partner of Ronning Lipset Radio. We talk to him about the future of music streaming and targeted advertising in connected cars.

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    Is Beats Music Worth 3.2 Billion? 3 First Time Users Review The Overhyped Music Service

    Beats Music executives have been overhyping their product for a long time. So the co-hosts of the Upward Spiral, Cortney Harding and Kyle Bylin, asked several friends to use the mobile app for a week and conducted research interviews over Skype to collect their feedback. Now everyone is speculating on whether Apple is buying Beats Electronics and what motivated the potential deal. Is the company worth 3.2 billion? What will Apple do with Beats Music? It’s too early to know for sure but here are some candid thoughts from regular people on their experience of the Beats Music service.

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    A New Education For Next Generation of Music Entrepreneurs

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Scott LeGere, who is a serial entrepreneur and college educator. Over the past 15 years, Scott has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, indie record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he also engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed indie projects, and lectured on the music business and audio production. In 2010, he co-founded NoWare Media, a composition focused sound agency. We asked Scott about how to educate and inspire the next generation of music business entrepreneurs.

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    Has The Definition Of A "Favorite Artist" Changed?

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to artist manager and music producer JJ Italiano about whether the concept of a “favorite artist” has changed. Today’s music listener has unlimited access to streaming music across any connected device. They can follow the activities of favorite artists on a variety of social media platforms. We share stories from our history as music fanatics and industry professionals. We dive deep into a wide ranging discussion about how digital technology has shaped music fandom.

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    CASH Music's Maggie Vail – Make Sure Today's Artists Are Paid For Creative Works

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Maggie Vail, who is the co-executive director of CASH Music, a nonprofit group that is building both open source tools and an educational curriculum for artists. Previously, she spent 17 years at the indie label Kill Rock Stars. She talks with us about how to make sure indie artists are paid for their creative works.

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    Union Square Venture's Partner Andy Weissman Talks Music Startups

    n this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Andy Weissman, who is a partner at Union Square Ventures. Prior to USV, Andy co-founded betaworks, which both created and invested in social, real time applications and services. We ask him how he thinks about the current music startup landscape and why people choose one music service over the other.

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    Can Beats Music Crack The Mainstream Market?

    When news broke that Beats Music would be developing a music service, I got so excited. Finally, a company would make a product that regular people might care about. The reality is that most music services are for music fanatics — people who care about music. But most people don’t care about music. They do not make time to discover music or put together playlists. They want popular music — curated by experts — while they wash dishes and feed the cat. That is the promise of Beats Music, and that is the focus of the latest episode of the Upward Spiral. We discuss this and more with two digital music veterans: Jon Maples and Jonathan Sasse.

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    Why Having To Constantly Hustle Is Bad For Artists

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Alina Simone, who wrote an op-ed in the New York Times called “The End of Quiet Music.” In the piece, she depicts the struggles that artists face and the sacrifices they make. She has released albums sung in both English and Russian, and is the author of an essay collection called "You Must Go and Win." We discuss the myths about the artist-as-entrepreneur and why having to constantly hustle is bad for artists.

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    "Can Big Data Help Artists Make Smarter Choices?" ft. Daniel Savage (Musicmetric)

    In this episode of the Upward Spiral, a music business podcast, we talk to Daniel Savage, who leads North American operations for Musicmetric, a startup which offers behavioral data for the music industry. He gives us his perspective on the Iron Maiden story that recently made headlines around the interwebs and what role behavioral data plays in helping artists make decisions.

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    How Secret Album Solidified Brand Beyoncé

    When Beyoncé dropped her fifth album on iTunes on December 13, it was a complete surprise. This has led many people to declare that she has changed the game by releasing an album that didn’t have any marketing or PR efforts behind it. So what should we make of all this? What does it mean for the music industry? Beth Martinez of Danger Village, a PR company that promotes emerging artists, and Alicia Yaffe of the Spellbound Group, a firm that develops online marketing and brand management for artists, discuss the Beyoncé album hype.

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    36: "How a NYT Reporter Approaches Trade Journalism" ft. Ben Sisario (New York Times)

    In episode 36 of the Upward Spiral, we talk with Ben Sisario, who reports on the changing landscape of the music industry for the New York Times. Sisario shares his thoughts on the beat he covers and how the stories he writes develop, YouTube’s plans for an music award show and subscription music service, and why streaming services more broadly haven't gained a larger foothold. We also deconstruct the recent virality of Miley Cyrus.

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    35: "What This New Age Means For Indie Artists" ft. Matt Voyno (New Rockstar Philosophy)

    In episode 34 of the Upward Spiral, we talk with Matt Voyno, co-author of the New Rockstar Philosophy, a book that strives to be a road map for starting a musical project in the digital age. We were excited to interview Matt, because we have been virtual colleagues and friends through about five years now. We discuss how Matt and his co-author started blogging, what has changed in the music and technology sector since then, how theory of one thousand true fans and direct-to-fan marketing has evolved in recent years, and what this new age means for indie artists.

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    Goldiblox — Justified Parody or Obvious Ad?

    The story of Goldiblox and the Beastie Boys has gained traction in recent days, and for good reason — it's a nuanced conflict with no obvious resolution. Goldiblox is a start-up toymaker with the noble goal of getting girls into engineering and teaching them STEM skills. Their viral video gave the Beastie Boys' "Girls" a female-empowerment lyric makeover without the band's permission, and then Goldiblox slapped the Beasties with a lawsuit as a pre-emptive defense against any legal action. Should Goldiblox be protected under fair use? Pundits from all sides of music and tech have weighed in, and Upward Spiral co-host Jason Spitz gathered three intelligent and insightful voices for a lively conversation.

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    The Deep Dive: "What Do The Streaming Layoffs Mean?" ft. Jason Herskowitz (Tomahawk)

    Last week TechCrunch reported that a huge percentage of Rdio staff were laid off. Months earlier, Slacker and Rhapsody also laid off staff. This trend begs several larger questions: Are these layoffs just the start of a correction and we will being seeing more soon? Are we on the verge of a major consolidation in the online music sector? Are the growth strategies and business models at the streaming companies sustainable? The Deep Dive examines these difficult questions alongside startup founder and industry pundit J Herskowitz.

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    34: "Why Booking Agents Are Wrong About The Midwest Market" ft. Jade Nielsen (Jade Presents)

    1: Jade Nielsen, founder and president of Jade Presents, a North Dakota based concert and events promoter, talks about how he got started in the concert business and what it took for him to take his career seriously, what he thinks about the consolidation of the business over the last decade, and the different tactics he has tried out in recent years to sell more tickets. Nielsen has brought tons of national and emerging acts to Fargo, ND and the surrounding Midwest region, as well as launched a separate ticketing arm of his company called Tickets300.

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    33: "New Music Industry Beholden To Old-School Benchmarks" ft. JJ Italiano (Artist Manager)

    In episode 33 of the Upward Spiral, we talk with JJ Italiano, who is a manager, producer, and major label veteran. Italiano got his start managing Flobots, who rose to alt-stardom with “Handlebars” and then signed a major label deal. After parting ways with them, he managed I Fight Dragons and MC Lars, among others, and also worked at Universal Music Group on the Gotye album. But more than any of this, Italiano is one of our favorite people to talk with about why the new music industry is still beholden to old-school benchmarks and music tech theories.

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    32: "What's Happening Now: The State of the Music Business" ft. Aaron Ray (The Collective)

    In episode 32 of the Upward Spiral, we are talking with Aaron Ray, who is a former Partner and Head of New Media at the Collective, a leading talent management firm, and co-founder of CDS, a multi-channel network on YouTube about the state of the music business and where it’s going. Ray used to handle traditional management as well as oversee and run all strategies, assets, and communities worldwide for clients such as Linkin Park, Enrique Iglesias, Counting Crows, and Slash, among many others. He also talks about how digital technology has changed what it means to be a musician and fan.

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    31: "Will The EDM Explosion Continue?" ft Kerri Mason (Billboard)

    In episode 31 of the Upward Spiral, Billboard writer Kerri Mason talks about the rise of EDM to prominence over the last few years and how it has changed the musical and business landscape. Mason is recognized as one of the leading experts on the business of EDM — she has written features on major EDM festivals, Baauer and his rise to the top of the Billboard charts, and Robert FX Sillerman’s world domination attempts. We discuss the continued investment in EDM and whether there is a bubble.

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    30: "What Music Fans Want From Subscription Services" ft Jon Maples (Rhapsody)

    In episode 30 of the Upward Spiral, digital music veteran Jon Maples talks about his decade long tenure at Rhapsody and what the future holds for the subscription music company. At the time of recording, Maples served as VP of Product Management and spoke to his vision for the website and suite of mobile applications. In the following weeks, Hypebot learned that he was no longer with Rhapsody. We have decided (of course, with his blessing) to publish the episode, because Maples provides a truly insightful view of the online music market and displays a keen sense of empathy for listeners.

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    Deep Dive #4: Curation's Long History, Many Challenges

    In this episode of the Deep Dive, Cortney Harding and Kyle Bylin discuss music curation with outspoken tech exec and startup founder J Herskowitz. Curation is a topic that just keeps coming up in the press. Spotify buys Tunigo. 8tracks revamps its website. Songza introduces a paid tier. And Beats Music poaches several high-level people in preparation for a U.S. launch. Meanwhile, Rhapsody and Google Play are talking about how they have been using humans to curate all along. What does all of this mean? Where might music streaming services take curation next?

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    29: "Fractured: The State of the Online Music Market" ft Jason Herskowitz (Tomahawk)

    Jason Herskowitz, an outspoken technology executive, talks about the fractured state of the online music market and how music sharing could be improved. Herskowitz is a core contributor and co-founder of Tomahawk, an open-source music platform; he also recently co-founded a stealth music startup, called Hatchet Industries. In this episode, Herskowitz also answers questions like why is Pandora only available in the U.S.? Why is Deezer avoiding the U.S? Is the reality that launching in the U.S. has become too expensive? Can Pandora ever afford to become a dominant global player?

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    Deep Dive #3: Do Music Charts Still Matter?

    The question of what music charts should count has defined a debate in the music industry that has been going on for several years. Because what gets counted — i.e. what data gets included and weighted in a chart — determines what artists are praised as “successful.” Most recently, a controversy erupted around the Jay Z and Samsung partnership, because Billboard decided that it would not count the album downloads offered through a mobile app. One million copies of “Magna Carta Holy Grail” were omitted from the stats on the album. This issue and many others are discussed on this Deep Dive podcast with Soundrop’s Cortney Harding.

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    Interview Series 5: David Dufresne of Bandzoogle

    Bandzoogle CEO David Dufresne tells the story of how he went from placing bets on technology companies as a venture capitalist to running one as chief executive. Dufresne runs Bandzoogle, a powerful platform that enables artists to to build their website, engage their fans, and sell their music and merch directly. He also touches on the challenges of the music startup sector and why Bandzoogle recently acquired Onesheet.

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    28: "An Outsider's View of Music Startups" ft David Dufresne (Bandzoogle)

    Before he became CEO of Bandzoogle, David Dufresne spent a career as a venture capitalist. For more than a decade, he helped firms invest in tech startups -- but music was his true passion. From his vantage point in Montreal, Canada, he brings an outsider's perspective to the music/tech bubbles that exist in certain American cities. Hear his take on artist services, streaming, and why Bandzoogle recently purchased OneSheet.

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    Interview Series 4: Steve Knopper

    Hear the story of journalist Steve Knopper's career -- from writing obituaries in the local paper to covering festivals for Rolling Stone and publishing a book on the history of digital music. His passion for music is rivaled only by his keep capacity for asking great questions and telling a captivating story. Anyone who wants to write about music (or the music business) would do well to learn from his example. Listen to our interview, and then check out Episode 27 for his take on the wars & battles fought over the last 10 years in the trenches of the music industry.

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    27: "The Music Wars" ft. Steve Knopper (Rolling Stone)

    Journalist/author Steve Knopper ("Appetite for Self-Destruction") discusses the music biz wars of the past 10+ years. Labels vs. pirates! Consumers vs. DRM! Scrappy startups vs. tech giants! We can learn a lot by revisiting the battlegrounds of the modern music era. Listen to this great conversation, and look for an interview coming soon about Steve's fascinating history of writing about the music industry.

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    Interview Series 3: Jay Frank

    From Yahoo! to CMT, from writing books to founding a label, Jay Frank has covered a lot of ground in the music industry. Hear his story in this interview, as Kyle and Jason delve into Jay's fascinating career. And listen to Jay's thoughts on record labels big & small in Episode 26 of the Upward Spiral.

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    26: "The State of Record Labels" ft Jay Frank (DigSin)

    Digital thought-leader Jay Frank joins us for a conversation about record labels. From majors to indies, where do they stand? How are they innovating? How is Jay's label DigSin different? Listen to this fascinating discussion, plus get recommendations on apps, books, movies, and comics. Look for an Interview Series with Jay Frank coming soon!

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    Interview Series #2: Emily White

    Industry pro Emily White tells the story of her career in music. From her internship with Amanda Palmer and The Dresden Dolls, to her time at Live Nation, and finally to founding her own management company & record label, Emily led with her positive spirit, business smarts, and can-do attitude. Hear her stories and learn from her lessons in this Interview Series episode of the Upward Spiral podcast.

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    25: "Think Different" ft. Emily White (Whitesmith Mgmt/Readymade Records)

    Manager, label founder, and entrepreneur Emily White shares a TON of great insights! Hear her unique perspectives on listener habits, music industry success, and staying true to yourself. This is a great conversation; maybe one of the best episodes we've ever done. Check it out -- and look for an Interview Series episode coming soon, where Emily discusses her long and fascinating career in music. Enjoy!

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    Interview Series #1: Amber Horsburgh

    Amber is a marketing & social media expert. She's worked all over the music biz, from EMI to MTV to promoting huge EDM concerts. Listen to this interview about her professional history and learn how she got to be the powerhouse marketer she is today!

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    24: "Best Practices for Social Media" ft. Amber Horsburgh

    Industry expert Amber Horsburgh offers tips on content strategy, fan engagement, and understanding the stages of growth an artist must undergo on their way to success. Also, check out our interview with Amber in the Upward Spiral Interview Series!

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    23: "10 Years of iTunes (Part 1)" ft. Solveig Whittle

    Part 1 of this episode looks at how iTunes has impacted music consumers, artists, and the overall industry over the past 10 years. In Part 2, we'll discuss iTunes' current challenges and what the future might hold for the #1 music retail platform.

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    22: "Evolution of Music Blogs" ft. David Greenwald (Rawkblog) + Nicole Cifani (Moheak Radio)

    Bloggers and music fanatics David Greenwald of Rawkblog and Nicole Cifani of Moheak Radio talk about the past, present and future of music blogs. We discuss the role of technology in curation and ask if social media makes music blogs obsolete. Plus news on Twitter, Songza, Universal, and recommendations for apps, drinks, and secluded islands off the Pacific coast!

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    21: "Music Discovery, Online and In the Flesh" ft. Frank Woodworth

    Frank Woodworth of live-music ticketing app Thrillcall joins us to talk about music discovery. We tackle the topic from all angles -- streaming services, blogs, radio, and also the discovery of live music events. Plus a review of the week's news and recommendations for clothes, apps, and tunes.

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    Deep Dive #2: EMI's "1 Million Consumer Interviews" Panel at SXSW 2013

    We drill down into the stats from EMI's consumer interview panel at SXSW and ask what it means for the music industry. Do we live in a bubble? Will casual listeners ever move past radio and physical media? Listen as we tackle these big questions and the data that supports them.

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    20: "Artists as Entrepreneurs + The Promise of Direct-To-Fan" ft. Rob MacArthur

    Meet us at SXSW for a chance to hear your voice on an upcoming show! This episode, we're joined by Rob MacArthur of We discuss how the tenets of entrepreneurialism and the "lean startup" apply to bands, and we evaluate whether the Direct-To-Fan business model has reached its full potential. Plus news on industry revenues, Amanda Palmer's TED talk, and recommendations for beer, apps, and more!

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