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APIs: How Do We Foster and Support Competition In A Highly Competitive Sandbox?

#sxsw #APIs

Can co-opetition really work? How is it achievable? The best path to fast-track growth has been through a strong connection to a market leader. This hook-up has been simplified through the use of API's (Application Programming Interface), economical bits of code that enable disparate programs to share and distribute information. Have a look at how to effectively 'plug in' to Spotify, Foursquare, Twitter and others. Where it works; where it breaks down, how to pivot when the sands start shifting.


MODERATOR Ted Cohen Managing Partner TAG Strategic

Integrating his widespread digital authority in music, mobile, IPTV and product & service development, Ted Cohen is the Managing Partner of TAG Strategic.

In an industry that’s been slow to embrace change, Cohen is the exception to the stereotypical music-exec rule. Of course, when you start a career on the road with Alice Cooper and Van Halen, you’re more primed for the unexpected.

Known throughout the technology and music industries as being “part ambassador and part evangelist,” Cohen was instrumental in crafting the licensing agreements upon which the Rhapsody subscription service and the iTunes Music Store were built.

In his previous role as Senior Vice President of Digital Development & Distribution for EMI Music (home of artists including Coldplay and the Rolling Stones), Cohen led next-generation digital business development worldwide for this “big four” record company, which includes labels such as Capitol, Virgin, Angel/Blue Note, Parlophone and Chrysalis. During that time, EMI led the industry by embracing and exploiting new technologies and business models such as digital downloads and online music subscriptions, custom compilations, wireless services, high-definition audio and Internet radio.

In addition to seeking out, evaluating and executing business opportunities for the company on a global basis, Cohen served as both a strategist and key decision-maker for EMI’s global new media and anti-piracy efforts. He worked to establish company-wide digital policies, which have provided EMI’s artists and labels a substantial advantage in the digital music arena.

Prior to his role at EMI, Cohen served as Executive Vice President of Digital Music Network Inc., where he co-founded and served as Chairman of the groundbreaking Webnoize conferences.

Cohen also led two highly successful new media consulting operations, DMN Consulting and Consulting Adults, attracting clients such as, Microsoft, Universal Studios, DreamWorks Records, Liquid Audio, Wherehouse Records/ and various other entertainment, technology and new media organizations. Cohen also held senior management positions at both Warner Bros. Records and Philips Media.

A 30-year industry veteran, Cohen currently chairs MidemNet, an international music/technology conference convened in Cannes each year. Cohen also serves on the NARAS (Grammy) Los Angeles chapter Board of Governors as well as the national Trustee Board, the Board of Directors for the Neil Bogart Memorial Fund, co-chairs the new media arm of the T.J. Martell Foundation, and lends his time and talents to music & technology education efforts such as the Grammy In The Schools

Cohen served two terms as the Chairman of the Mobile Entertainment Forum Americas.

Marc Ruxin CEO & Founder TastemakerX

Deborah Sass VP Gobal Business Dev TAG Strategic

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.

Shane Tobin Dir, Strategic Partnerships The Echo Nest

Shane is Director of Strategic Partnerships at The Echo Nest, a music
intelligence company that powers smarter music applications for a wide range of customers -- including Spotify, Vevo, Rdio, MOG, Clear Channel (iHeartRadio), MTV, Nokia, EMI and a community of over 18,000 independent app developers.

He has been an executive in the digital music business for over 14 years. Early on he produced concert webcasts and artist interviews for House of Blues Digital. He then went on to manage Grammy Nominated Latin afro-funk band, Yerba Buena.

In 2006, Shane moved to San Francisco and was an early member of imeem where he was Director of Business Development and built out the music team. In 2009 he was recruited by MobiTV to head up their Business Development efforts in music as well as handling licensing for NBA, UFC and Fox Sports.

Shane enjoys golfing, snowboarding, traveling with his camera
and getting to the city of New Orleans as much as possible.

Barry Smith SVP Business Dev, Alliances & Strategy West10 Entertainment

In 1995 Barry guided an ecommerce company which developed high profile trade websites, where a prerequisite was accurate and timely metadata for the millions of SKU’s from the multitude of suppliers to the construction industry, back in the days when ‘Big Data’ was called ‘data-mining’!
The lessons learned about gathering product data, price and availability information from numerous sources, as information was collected, collated, standardised, indexed, updated and supplied, proved invaluable when Barry became responsible for a new venture, West10 Entertainment, where he initiated a Total Entertainment Database strategy which has seen West10 grow from scratch to become arguably Europe’s leading provider of high-quality metadata for Movies & TV, Music, Games and all formats of Books.

West10 is uniquely placed in the Digital Media & Entertainment space, but still with a foot planted in the physical world. In fact we call West10 a physi-digital metadata supplier and its clients range from Amazon Europe and Virgin Media where it supplies Music & Film/DVD information, LOVEFiLM,, wholesalers, research companies such as and industry bodies such as the British Video Association, the Industry Trust for IP Awareness and Federation Against Copyright Theft. As members of EIDR and NARM, West10 is helping promote unique identifiers for digital assets and are working with EMA and NARM in the USA trying to create a Core Metadata Standard for the digital value chain. Working directly with studios and labels, West10 stands as a trusted third party, providing normalised, standardised, authority controlled metacontent, with many alliances developed through work with industry experts. Working in the 2nd Screen ecosystem, West10 helps clients to make money rather than simply create added value for existing customers and at the same time aids the creation of an efficient value chain.
With over twenty years’ experience it is acknowledged that Barry has the knowledge and expertise to help entertainment companies along the value chain leverage nascent technologies and powerful data to create innovative solutions which can engage the consumer in the physi-digital age. He recently spoke at both the UltraViolet Academy, and 2nd Screen Summit in London, passionately proposing how linked, curated product data can help increase monetisation.