I’m in London for Music Tech Fest this weekend. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a bunch of people coming together to talk about (and mess around with) music and technology. The talks are all being streamed live online (and most likely archived) at that link, if you’re interested.
I’m here with Jake, and it’s the first time we’ve done the father and son music industry conference attendance thing. It’s kind of fun – especially since he’s way more involved than I am.
For his part, he’s engaged in the music hack event, in which there are a number of different challenges by different companies and interesting individuals to invent new things or solve certain sorts of problems.
It’s very coder-heavy (unsurprisingly for a hack event) – but there are also projects that are about inventing new sounds or simply reworking and remixing existing tracks. Jake’s currently working on a remix of a band called Everything Everything – and it’s sounding really great.
I gave a talk about my work – particularly with respect to the Brazilian independent music industry and the ‘music as a tool for social change’ projects I get involved with and study. That seemed to go well.
It’s an interesting and diverse crowd – everything from tech startups to musicians, entrepreneurs to social activists.
I always get a good response when I talk about the Fora do Eixo stuff – which bodes well, because I think that’s going to be a central strand of my work for the next few years.
I’ve become interested in one of the hack projects – which is to completely reinvent radio. That’s the challenge. I’m hoping that one table of developers will want to get to work on that idea, because I have some thoughts about how that might work. I have just spent the last decade thinking about that problem, so it would be nice to have a play alongside somebody who knows how to build things out of internet.
But apart from the formal discussions and active projects, it is just a really lovely and creative space to be hanging out. I’ve had some great meetings with some brilliant and interesting people – and I think I may have a new funded research project in the pipeline as a result of one of those meetings.
There are some people here who are looking at the intersection between music publishing, sync licensing and digital technologies, and they’re going to be developing some really interesting software in that space, and they’ve asked me to come on board as an academic partner.
That sounds to me like a very good thing to be involved in – if for no other reason than it raises some fascinating problems which will dovetail very nicely with some of my other work.
The festival is on all weekend, and I’m staying on through. It’s a great place to be.
I’m particularly looking forward to 6pm tonight, when Robert from Music Brainz is firing up the Bartendro 7 (pictured above). I’ve never had drinks poured for me by a cocktail-making robot before.