SF Music Tech Summit, in its 18th edition this year, could not be more exciting than any of its previous events. With talks on algorithm-based curation, Blockchain’s practicality, streaming and the startups that are offering all kinds of tools from organising, marketing and distributing music, the music business has gotten just a tad complicated manifested in the form of vast quantities of data revolving around the creation and sharing of music; the complexity of algorithms; not to mention the choices available just from the click of a button.
Patti, Advisor at SF Music Tech Summit, shares some of the most successful marketing tools used by labels during her tenure with Columbia Records and what it takes to stand out and be successful in this exciting and challenging times in the music business. Her role includes everything from running the startup competition to hosting lunch for new attendees at the event.
Q1. Tell us about your role at SF Music Summit Tech and how you got into it.
I started my career at Columbia Records in New York City, doing digital marketing for 25+ artists including Adele, Band of Horses, The Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, MGMT, Slayer and many more. I came out to San Francisco because this is where most of the innovation in music tech was happening and everyone here was talking about the SF MusicTech Summit. I joined the community first as an attendee, and soon after as Communications Director. Going to the Summit once, I immediately knew how important it was in bringing together the right people to move the industry in a positive direction.
Q2. What are some of the most successful marketing campaign that you have worked on?
The most interesting campaigns I’ve worked on involved musicians at Columbia Records. I always looked for ways to incorporate new technology into the marketing strategies I ran. I scouted and was the first to use Bandpage (at the time called RootMusic) and DamnTheRadio (which was bought by Fanbridge) at Columbia Records. Facebook was a key part of our marketing strategy and these innovative platforms made it much easier to connect artists with fans on Facebook.
One of my key areas of expertise is social media and I’m really good at figuring out to how to grow numbers organically. At Columbia Records, I ran a campaign for Band of Horses that grew their Facebook following by over 10k in a few days. The campaign cost the band nothing to run. Today, working as a Launch and Growth Strategist with music tech companies, I still focus on plans to grow organic reach, followers and engagement without my clients having to pay for it. That is what I consider a successful marketing campaign!
Q3. What are some of the most organic and innovative tech team you’ve seen since joining the summit?
I’m always excited about the winners of the SF MusicTech Summit Startup Competition. Every year we have tons of early-stage music tech companies submit, and only 10 get selected to present at the Summit. These companies are the ones we feel people should be paying attention to.
After winning our competition in 2013, Ticketfairy went on to join Y Combinator and has done nearly $15 million in ticket sales at events across the US, Asia, Australia, Europe and Africa. Tunespeak, a loyalty platform for bands and another startup winner, went on to raise over $1.3 million and is working with artists from John Mayer to Kings of Leon. Qrates, a winner this year, is revolutionizing the creation and fulfilment of vinyl records. Bandposters created a very simple solution to a big problem in touring – designing, printing and shipping tour posters for a flat rate.
I’m also really excited about platforms that are creating new revenue streams for artists. I love Bandcamp, fans have paid artists $178 million using their platform. Patreon is helping creators get paid, fans have given over $50 million to creators. When anyone says the music industry is dying, they aren’t looking at all of the innovation happening in music tech. This is really the most exciting time for the industry!
Q4. What are some of the marketing/communication skill that most music tech start-up missed when they are thinking about a solution for an app or its business strategy?
I’d say the biggest problem is building something without thinking about a business model. There are a ton of companies in the music tech space all fighting to get funding from the same investors. If your company doesn’t have a plan to make money and isn’t proving that plan can work, it’s really hard to get people to back your idea. It’s the same thing I tell musicians, don’t think about getting signed to a label until you don’t need a label. If you want investors to pay attention, find a way to bring in users and revenue first.
Second, pay attention to the market. Know your competition and how and why you are a better solution. Every year I see trends of companies innovating in the same areas, which makes a really crowded market. If you come up with a concept, make sure it’s new or better than the potentially hundreds of companies already doing the same thing.
Third, you need to have a 30-second elevator pitch. If your idea is so complicated that I can’t figure out what you do after 30 seconds, you need to simplify. Communicating what you do to the right people all starts with a great product and a great pitch to back it up.
Patti Silverman, Advisor at the San Francisco Music Tech Summit, has spent the last 9+ years in the space where music and technology converge. While at Columbia Records in NYC, she developed a reputation as an early proponent of music tech. To run marketing campaigns for artists including Adele, Band of Horses, and Passion Pit, Patti scouted innovative products and breakthrough technologies.
This interest in the “future of music” brought Patti to SF, where she joined the SF MusicTech Summit as Communications Director. In her role, Patti became a master connector, supporting innovation in the music industry by bridging relationships between tech, artists and labels. She continues to work with the community as an Advisor.
Taking her dedication to innovation a step further, Patti now works directly in tech with clients including 10x Management and Hydric Media. For more information about her latest venture, please click here.