Producing Mondo.NYC - What We Learned
In October of 2018, Ei co-produced Mondo.NYC, a music discovery and emerging technology festival dedicated to inspiring, showcasing and supporting musicians. For four days, Mondo.NYC was the epicenter of what’s new in music from both a talent and technology perspective. Read The Creative Crypto’s write up here.
“For four days, Mondo.NYC was the epicenter of what’s new in music from a talent and from a technology perspective.”
With a predominately fintech background, this was the first direct interaction Ei experienced with the music industry. Here are the key things we learned…
The Music Industry is generating revenues!
On the first day, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA)presented their update on the state of the music business. During this session, they addressed their Mid-Year 2018 Revenue Report which highlighted the consistently increasing revenues generated in the industry over the last three years. Not surprisingly, the increase is in large part due to the advent of music streaming services and the paid subscription model.
With the innovation of streaming arguably saving the industry, the current state of music presents an interesting scenario related to its future of revenue generation.
75% of the industry’s revenues from 1H 2017 and 1H 2018 came from streaming:
With such a significant dependence on streaming revenues, is this a sign of stability or questionability for the industry?
The narrative for the Musician is the same
In the 90s, George Michael likened being a musician to "professional slavery". How can something like this happen? How could someone as prominent as George Michael use such a severe term? More importantly - 25 years later, with all these technological advances and access to information, things must be different, right?
The past 25 years have seen the industry evolve from records to CDs to Mini-Discs to MP3s to internet radio to today’s streaming & digital subscriptions. When one further dissects this progression, the convenience and price of consuming content has evolved; what hasn’t evolved are the tools to support the most important piece in the process – the content creator!
“…the convenience and price of consuming content has evolved; what hasn’t evolved are the tools to support the most important piece in the process – the content creator!”
The Industry has an alignment of interests problem
With the 150+ musicians performing at Mondo.NYC, we intimately engaged with up-and-coming content creators and had the opportunity to understand the challenges of “making it” in the industry today. The message was pretty clear: despite all the tools available for musicians to expand their fan base (like social media, for example) and monetize their creative output (streaming & digital subscriptions), the goals and objectives of these platforms are misaligned with those of the musician’s. Is it better than the 90s? Sure. Is the industry where it should be? Absolutely not!
We live in an amazing time for innovation
Ei curated the Emerging Technology portion of Mondo.NYC, and it was an awesome experience. The frontier of innovation is fascinating as new foundational technologies are forming as we speak. These technologies include:
Blockchain & Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)
Digital Asset Markets & Cryptocurrencies
Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
Distributed Energy Resources
Internet of Things & Smart City Infrastructure
During the festival, we explored each of these frontiers and how they challenge the status-quo and the core of everything we do. While most of the platforms built using these technologies will not survive, the ones that do will surely charter the course of humanity and achieve significant impact on our environment and in our society.
Musicians need to proactively understand the tools that are being created for them
Innovation is great, but if the target audience is not aware of these new tools & platforms, or aren't equipped with the knowledge to use them, the industry as a whole is positioned for failure. At Mondo.NYC, we realized the first step is to make the industry aware of these innovations. By educating the audience about these innovations, musicians are able to take control of their creative direction, meaningfully engage with their fans, and build communities around their music!
“If [Blockchain and DLT] is applied correctly, it will pave the way for the next evolution in Music, and, in our opinion, will eventually surpass the revenue generated from streaming.”
Emerging technologies position the music industry for continued growth
When one applies these technologies to the Music industry, there is a continued sense that these innovations will support further revenue growth for the industry.
There are more than 100 new tools and platforms using emerging technologies that are dedicated to improving different aspects of Music. Each step of the process is being challenged and innovated – from the creation & production of the content to the control & ownership of the rights & royalties, to the exposure & engagement with fans & investors to the distribution of the music and finally monetization.
Blockchain and DLT was a focus at Mondo.NYC and, while this technology is not an ideal solution for many industries, blockchain excels at one thing - connecting content consumers to content creators. If this technology is applied correctly, it will pave the way for the next evolution in Music, and, in our opinion, will eventually surpass the revenue generated from streaming.
Ei empowers Musicians, guiding them through this new frontier and solving problems together.