Songs as Skills

Guest post by Benji Rogers Founder, dotBlockChain Media & Pledgemusic

“Alexa, please play the Moana soundtrack.”

That’s how my five-year-old daughter makes music play in our house (and yes, she says please).

Alexa then replies, “Now playing the soundtrack to the motion picture Moana by various artists on Spotify.”

Some version of this daily ritual is becoming more prevalent in households all over the world as voice control has become easier to use, and as Amazon, Google, and now Apple, march into the home.

What feeds the machine?

Twenty four years ago the music industry was blessed, or cursed depending on your point of view, with a digital music format called the MP3 (the WAV file format was introduced two years earlier). From that moment on music became files, and files go everywhere.

Music and Cities

I travel a lot, for both business and pleasure. I’m always struck by how music, and the sheer presence of it, impacts the culture and ethos of a city. Cities like Nashville and London have a rich musical history dating back a century or more. Austin bills itself as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” Memphis is known as the home of the blues, and the “Detroit sound” was widely celebrated for many years. In some cases, legacy industries and a bit of luck have made certain cities into music and cultural capitals of the world -- but in many cases, it’s built into the brand of the city by a conscious decision.

Allen BargfredeComment
The Health Implications of Music

We all intuitively know that music can have powerful effects on our emotions and even behavior. Whether it’s drowning out distractions at work, powering through a workout at the gym, or relaxing after a long day, music is an ally in many aspects of our life that many can’t do without. Current technology has made access to a “celestial jukebox” of music almost universal but many are missing out on what maybe music’s most powerful effects. A growing body of research shows music has the potential to address broader health and wellness concerns, from specific neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's to more widespread “quality of life” areas such as pain, sleep and even focus and attention.

Allen Bargfrede
It's Time to Stop and Look Up

Guest post by Kirk Cornelius, Managing Director, Thought5

In September of last year, the city of Reykjavik agreed that they would shut down their street lights, as well as encourage it’s residents to turn off their own lights, so that they would have the opportunity to view the northern lights without the light pollution that typically prohibits the city dwellers to experience them in all of their glory. It is an amazing example of how a collective group of people had come to the conclusion, and then formerly decided as a city, that sharing a moment of beauty was more important than keeping the lights on to carry on with normal life. It became the event of the evening, a spectacle, and something that most of its residents were very much looking forward to. In Icelandic culture, nature plays a huge role as a key contributor to their overall quality of life. They are extremely connected to nature and the natural beauty of the landscape, and it often serves as the inspiration for much of the music and art that comes out of this small country. Rather than simply acclimating to this natural phenomenon and taking it for granted as something that plays out in the background, they continue to celebrate these moments and push them to the forefront as the event of the evening. These are the moments that I am searching to find, as well as create, as we continue to move forward at such a frenetic pace in which we often don’t stop long enough to ‘look up’ in order to experience something so beautiful and life-changing.

Allen Bargfrede
Artists vs Songs: Building Identity In A Streaming Era - Part II

Guest post by Nick Susi, creative strategist in music & media

(This is a continuation from last week’s Part I)

User behavior in music consumption is making a clear shift towards discovery-obsession, as well as shorter attention spans. Streaming may have flattened the barrier of entry, but as a result, the volume of songs and artists entering the streaming ecosystem has risen significantly. This has led to an age of noise. So what does this mean for creators, managers and the rest of their team?


Allen Bargfrede
Artists vs Songs: Building Identity In A Streaming Era - Part I

Guest post by Nick Susi, creative strategist in music & media

Entering 2017, a popular topic of conversation has been focused on streaming’s impact on the music industry. It wasn’t long ago that the industry and media coverage of streaming had a widely negative connotation wrapped around it. 2014 ended in Taylor Swift’s stand against Spotify’s royalty payments. 2015 ended in David Lowery’s $150 million class action lawsuit against Spotify. Here we are only a year or so later and the conversation surrounding streaming has shifted to a largely positive outlook. Streaming has now driven a favorable increase in global recorded revenues, withSpotify and Apple combined driving $7 billion with over 60 million subscribers.

Allen Bargfrede2 Comments
Our lives are better with music

Classes are back in session here at Berklee, and Rethink Music is celebrating our seventh year of work on the future of music. Over the years we’ve looked at music marketing and music consumption, and hosted various events meant to spur discussion and innovation in the music industry. The Fair Music report in 2015 brought to life the Open Music initiative earlier this year, which is now underway with over 140 stakeholders signed on to help develop new tools to manage the rights clearance process for music licensing. The goal of the Rethink Music project has always been to serve as the thinktank arm of Berklee’s music-related research endeavors.

Allen Bargfrede
Sustainability in Music

Guest post by Vickie Nauman, Founder & Owner of CrossBorder Works, an entertainment/tech consultancy and advisory film


Over the last 15 years, digital music has journeyed along an unpaved road, wending its way into our new connected world using the tools and assumptions of yesteryear.  The old/new business constructs have vastly different distribution mechanisms, container sizes, business models, ecosystems, and consumer expectations – but the core around which the industry is built, great music and appreciative fans, remains largely the same.

Kareem Clarke1 Comment
The Future of Music is Virtual

Guest Post by Cortney Harding

Recently, an expert in VR told me that the format was in its “iPhone 1” moment -- a cool gadget embraced by the tech elite but largely shunned by the mainstream consumer due to high cost and limited utility.

Kareem Clarke1 Comment
How Blockchain Can Change the Music Industry (Part 2)

Guest post by Benji Rogers.

A new “fair trade” music format could clean up the murky world of rights and royalties

This is an update to “How the Blockchain and VR Can Change the Music Industry,” published in Cuepoint on November 23rd, 2015.

I could never have imagined that the article I wrote would have the impact that it has, and I am humbled, stunned, and excited by the outpouring of interest and support that has come my way.

Allen Bargfrede