This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

What Happened to the Big Idea in Music Technology?

#sxsw #bigidea

It is too easy to convince venture capitalists that all a music startup requires is capital to license music from the major labels, and then offer to get to profitability by including advertising in the stream. This lack of intellectual vision leads to the wholesale commoditizing of music catalogs by the labels who create licensing deals with the streaming music services. Those actions in turn further homogenize the streaming music service systems as the services only have access to the same catalogs – there is no differentiation. Artists get pennies, or less than a penny, when someone streams their song, and the listener gets advertising in the stream unless they pay to escape the ads. The correct question that all music technologists ought to be asking is: What problem are we trying to solve? Then ask: Who are we solving it for? Who will use it? Why will they use it?


MODERATOR Dave Allen Dir, Interactive Strategy NORTH

Dave Allen is the Director, Interactive Strategy at NORTH, a Creative Brand Agency that forges connections between brands and people using music, film and design. Some of NORTH’s clients currently include KEEN Footwear, Subaru, Yakima, Guayaki and Deschutes Brewing.

As founding member and bass player for the post-punk band Gang of Four, and later a digital music consultant for Fortune Five Hundred companies, Dave Allen has been a frontline player in the music industry. Adjusting with industry evolution, Dave has been band founder, label owner, corporate advisor and social media pioneer. He has worked at companies such as Intel, eMusic and Nemo Design.

Dave has been invited to speak and moderate panels at conferences such as SXSW, CMJ, Webvisions, Future of Music Coalition, SanFran MusicTech, Grammy MusicTech, Music Leadership Digital Summit and many more. He is also a member of the Board of Directors

Dave’s highly trafficked music and MP3 blog,, is but one step in his fifteen year mission to reduce the transactional friction between music lovers, musical artists and copyright holders during internet distribution. Pampelmoose has an international audience and has been noted in Time Magazine.

At NORTH, Dave works with designers, business planners and creative directors, helping cultivate digital influence for clients. Following the same guidelines that have grown his own digital presence to one of the top cultural voices globally via the Internet, Allen ensures an authentic and progressive social media presence for NORTH and its clients.


Dave on Twitter:

Dave's website:


Rick Moody Writer

Rick Moody writes about music at The Rumpus ( He is also a novelist (THE ICE STORM, THE DIVINERS, THE FOUR FINGERS OF DEATH), a short story writer, a journalist, and author of a forthcoming collection of essays, ON CELESTIAL MUSIC. He plays and sings in The Wingdale Community Singers with David Grubbs and Hannah Marcus, and has released two solo albums, the most recent of which is THE DARKNESS IS GOOD (Dainty Rubbish). His work has been published in over twenty languages, and has been featured on NPR, PRI, the BBC, and elsewhere.

Jesse Von Doom Cash Music

Jesse von Doom is the co-Executive Director of CASH Music, a nonprofit building free and open tools to empower artists online. He went to a college for a little while, worked at a company, but has spent most of the last dozen years making artwork and websites for musicians. At CASH Music von Doom leads the effort to build an open-source platform that can allow artists easier and direct access to all the opportunity online.

He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two daughters, a fat chihuahua, and never enough coffee.

David Ewald Creative Dir Uncorked Studios

David is Creative Director for a Portland-based mobile development studio, Uncorked Studios. David began his career as an interactive Art Director in Minneapolis. While there, he designed countless web-based projects for Target, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Matador Records. Since moving to Portland 5 years ago, David has helped Target, HP, Nike, Cisco and others build products for people.

He lives in Oregon with his wife, son and brand new puppy.

Roy Christopher Asst Instructor The University of Texas

I marshal the middle between Mathers and McLuhan.

My main interests are figurative language use (hence the Hip-hop) and the evolution of technology (hence the media theory). My main goal in writing is entertainment and in science is novelty. I’m more of the former than the latter and more of a fan than a critic.

I’m an aging BMX/skateboard zine kid. That’s where I learned to turn events and interviews into pages with staples. The pages and staples have long since given way to text-links and scrollbars, but the rest is basically the same. I still ride bikes, and I still skateboard. I do still commit quite a bit to actual pages, too.

My main project from 1997 to 2007 was With that site, I established myself as what Disinformation called, "One of the Internet’s leading interviewers of subculture and new-science icons." I was most recently assistant editor of Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky’s edited collection 'Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Culture and Music' (MIT Press, 2008). My first book is an anthology interviews entitled 'Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes' (Well-Red Bear, 2007), which Disinformation named one of the most important books published in 2007, and which Erik Davis called, "a crisp and substantial remix of the major memes of the last decade or so." I hold a master’s degree in Communication Theory from San Diego State University and am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Communication Studies at The University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to graduate work, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Science, and spent over twenty years working as a writer, editor, and designer both on- and off-line. I have written about technology, science, music, and culture for everything from glossy national magazines and regional weeklies to hometown newspapers and homegrown ‘zines, and I have written, edited, designed, and consulted for such diverse organizations as Microsoft, Nike, The MIT Press, MSN Music, ESPN, the United States Army, Xbox, and Zero Skateboards. Though my work has been featured on numerous websites, in many magazines, and in a few books, is now home to most of my writing.

Anthony Batt Pres Katalyst

Anthony Batt is the President of Katalyst, a groundbreaking content studio that creates digital
and television programming media for some of the biggest brands in the world. In 2010, Katalyst
was named on the year’s Top 50 Most Inspiring Innovators by Ad Age and one of Fast Company
Magazine’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies. At Katalyst, Anthony drives the creation of some
of the most authentic and captivating social programming for brands like Levis, Intel, Nikon and
Mountain Dew.

As a digital media pioneer, Anthony has a keen understanding of how to engage audiences and
deliver brands a passionate and active user-base through compelling original digital
programming. In an industry that routinely accepts the notion of “post and pray,” Anthony
pushes a far higher ideal for brands, “launch and activate.”

Prior to Katalyst Anthony founded the entertainment-blog powerhouse BUZZMedia and that which helped make music and pop culture super social on the web. He has also
played a role in the start of several very successful entrepreneurial ventures with friends
including: TROON a boutique agency with James Yaffe; a small mailing list called
with Craig Newmark; and a media distribution platform turned data warehousing data engine
called GreenPlum with Scott Yara.

Anthony has held a positions at USC Cinema Television & Digital Arts program where he
worked to establish a world class digital animation studio, as well as Time Inc. Interactive where
he managed the web design, technology and publishing of Time Inc’s titles like Time, Fortune,
People, Teen People and EW. He also served as a digital technical and creative consultant with
TBWA/Chiat Day on the Absolut Vodka’s award winning digital media strategy.

Batt is also a part time solipsistic philosopher, music & pop culture anthropologist, occasional
warm water long board surfer and most importantly, father to two little girls.

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