Thanks to our sponsors

The Power of Lyrics in the Digital Age

#sxsw #DigitalLyrics

Twenty-five years ago, music fans read song lyrics on the back of an album cover, or in the liner notes, while they listened to a new album The tiny size of CD booklets discouraged reading along. In today's digital environment, a plethora of services and apps are distributing lyrics online and via mobile apps. This brings up a host of new issues; how they are used, what these new lyrics services/apps mean to artists and songwriters, how they can be made more compelling, how lyrics connect with social media, and what the licensing/copyright issues are.


MODERATOR Deborah Newman Digital Music Consultant MusicStrat

Recognized as a digital music and entertainment thought leader, Deborah Newman founded MusicStrat in 2008 to combine her 20+ years of senior level experience in the music, television, home video and online/digital businesses with her interest in copyright and digital media. MusicStrat advises entertainment and technology companies on music content acquisition & licensing, digital distribution, strategic marketing and partner relations. Among her recent clients are, the social music start-up that lets you play and listen to music with friends, and Hear Lyrics, LLC, an innovative service combining social media discovery with songwriter lyrics and music.

Newman started her career at CBS Records in the 1970s, spearheading the company’s activities in television and music video. In 1984 she became VP Programming & Sales for Sony Music Video Enterprises (SMV), a new division charged with producing and distributing longform programming to the worldwide television and home video marketplace. Her work with artists such as Billy Joel, James Taylor, Public Enemy, Wynton Marsalis and others has garnered numerous accolades, including a George Foster Peabody Award and two CableAce Awards.

Newman was an early pioneer in e-commerce and digital distribution of music. As a senior marketing executive for several early online music companies — N2K’s online retailer Music Boulevard and digital subscription services FullAudio and Pressplay — her expertise in branding, advertising and strategic marketing helped create a new consumer framework for the music business.

From 2002-2005 Ms. Newman attended New York Law School, where she focused her studies on intellectual property, First Amendment and media/entertainment law. She is a member of the New York State Bar (admitted 2008), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Copyright Society of the USA, the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers (IAEL), The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) and Women in Digital Media.

Following law school, Newman served as VP Industry Relations & Licensing for Muze, a provider of digital entertainment content and services to online and mobile distributors of music. She also served as business affairs consultant for Catalyst Mobile, a San Francisco mobile entertainment company that developed a cross-platform music discovery and download service called SoLaTi for deployment in China.

A former classical pianist, Newman holds a B.A. in Music from Brandeis University, where she was also Music Director of WBRS-FM, an influential college radio station in the 70s.

Ralph Peer Chair/CEO Peermusic

Darryl Ballantyne Founder & CEO LyricFind

Darryl Ballantyne originally conceived LyricFind in 2000 with Mohamed Moutadayne and Chris Book at Ontario’s University of Waterloo to be the largest, most accurate destination for lyrics on the Internet. Officially launched in 2004, the company pioneered the licensed digital lyrics space, successfully negotiating the first-ever mass lyrics licensing deal with EMI Music Publishing in 2005. Since then, Darryl has grown LyricFind to be the largest legal, licensed lyrics database in the world, with millions of licensed tracks available and hundreds of lyrics sublicensing clients.

LyricFind has established licensing and content relationships with over 2,700 music publishers, The Harry Fox Agency, and Rovi. The company now delivers services to over hundreds of web sites and mobile applications that want to enhance their music products with lyrics, including Microsoft’s Bing, Pandora, CBS, Samsung,, Slacker, Shazam, SoundHound, LyricsMode, SongMeanings, Universal Music, and Disney. In addition, LyricFind offers two direct to consumer mobile applications, Lyrics Lite and Lyrics Pro for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry Playbook platforms.

As an authority on licensing and digital content, Darryl has spoken at industry events including SF Music Tech, Canadian Music Week, Digital Music Forum, Music & Media Finland, CMJ, MIDEM, SXSW, and more. Before launching LyricFind, Darryl was Manager of Digital Development & Distribution at EMI Music in Los Angeles, where he was involved in deals with companies such as MusicMatch, Napster, and iTunes. Darryl earned a Bachelor of Mathematics with a Business minor from the University of Waterloo.

Will Mills Head Of Music Shazam Entertainment

Will Mills is Director of Music & Content at Shazam, the world's leading media engagement company. Since taking up the post, Will has set up strategic partnerships the world’s leading music and digital companies, including global agreements with Warner Music Group, Sony Music, Beatport, Rovi, and many others. He has also led the expansion of Shazam¹s music database from 1 million to over 25 million tracks, co-invented patented technologies used in the app. Will also delivered Shazam’s ticketing strategy and has led promotions with some of the world's biggest artists including Shazamable music videos with Lil Wayne and others generating >100m views

Prior to working for Shazam, Will worked in the traditional music industry carrying out roles in management, A&R and writing/production. Will graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London and is an experienced speaker in the technology and music industries, having keynote presented and/or moderated at conferences including SXSW, TechCrunch, Sonar, Popkomm, CMJ, Social Media Week, and many others.

Chuck D Spitdigital

As co-founder of legendary group Public Enemy, Chuck D redefined rap music and hip hop culture. His lyrics addressed weighty issues about race, rage and inequality with a jolting combination of intelligence and eloquence never seen before. In the late 1990's, Chuck D began championing digital music and has remained a major proponent visionary ever since. Public Enemy marked their 25th anniversary last year with a pair of critically acclaimed albums and will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April 2013. They continue to tour worldwide.