SoundCtrl's FlashFWD Awards were presented at the Gramercy Theater Tuesday as part of Internet Week. (Photo Courtesy: NickyDigital.com)
At 7pm on a rainy Tuesday evening right in the middle of Internet Week NY, tech entrepreneurs and music enthusiasts alike filed into the Gramercy Theater to attend the 3rd annual FlashFWD awards show. Presented by SoundCtrl, a NYC-based event platform for the convergence of music and digital media, in conjunction with Fuse and Pepsi, FlashFWD aims to recognize companies and individuals who have made significant innovations in the music industry.
Complimentary Heineken greeted attendees at the door, and a medley of jazz numbers (including a rendition of "Poker Face") by the in-house band ushered guests to their seats as the awards show began with a sizzle reel introducing the ceremony, the awards, and the recipients.
Up first was Spotify, accepting the award for "Best In Discovery." Another video sizzle reel played showcasing the service and it's apps before Talib Kweli took the stage on behalf of the streaming music giant.
Talib Kweli introduces Spotify, which won a FlashFWD Award for "Best in Discovery." (Photo Courtesy: NickyDigital.com)
"I was first introduced to Spotify by my man DA Wallach of Chester French," Kweli told the crowd. DA Wallach is Spotify's official artist in residence, the in-house advocate for the creative community that interacts with Spotify. Wallach worked with Kweli on promoting the release of Idle Warship's album Habits of the Heart, first released exclusively on Spotify in October, three weeks ahead of its street date. "If it wasn't for DA and Spotify, there are a lot of people out there who wouldn't have known about Idle Warship."
Kweli then presented Spotify the award for "Best In Discovery." "We are focused on bringing great music to fans, this is just the beginning," said Jordan Walker of Label & Artist Relations who accepted the award on Spotify's behalf. Then the lights dimmed as Wallach, who was not in attendance, was projected on screen to give a shoutout to Kweli, as well as voice his appreciation for winning the award.
Scott Snibbe of Snibbe Interactive with his FlashFWD Award, which he won for his work with Bjork. (Photo Courtesy: NickyDigital.com)
Scott Snibbe of Snibbe Interactive then took the stage to accept the award for "Best in Mobile & Tablet." Snibbe Interactive worked with Bjork to create Biophilia, an interactive application that allowed listeners to experience the album through visuals and games, creating a truly unprecedented interactive listening experience. "Bjork was amazing to work with because she really appreciated and recognized interactivity as a medium. Some of the problems we ran into at first was how to distribute this type of idea, but thanks to the app store interactive ideas like this are now possible."
After a brief intermission, Andrea Harrison of Pepsi took the stage to announce the launch of Pepsi Digital labs, a move the company hopes will solidify their position in the startup community in NYC. Harrison expressed the importance of entrepreneurs and the spirit and need to disrupt in today's economy and music industry. Pepsi Digital Labs seeks to find and mentor early stage companies out of NYC co-working space WeWork Labs.
SoundCtrl's Jesse Kirshbaum, left, with RootMusic (creator of BandPage) CEO J Sider. (Photo Courtesy: NickyDigital.com)
She then announced RootMusic's BandPage as winner of "Best in Artist Support." Co-founder and CEO J Sider took the stage to accept the award. Sider told the crowd that Bandpage serves over half a million musicians, and hinted at a new forthcoming product that promises to "engage fans more deeply and broadly than ever before."
SVP of Marketing & Digital at Fuse, Joe Marchese, took the stage to thank everybody for coming and expressed their own desires to win a FlashFWD award before Toby Daniels, CEO of CrowdCentric, and Ellie Rountree of Google+ presented the Award for "Best in Live" to Square. Square is a company that has revolutionized the way artists are able to sell merchandise directly to fans, allowing more artists to accept credit cards and generate viable revenue streams.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Steve Stoute of Translation LLC gave a rousing speech, imparting that what the crowd in attendence is doing is exceptional. "When you don't know the difference between good and great, that's when you lose," he said, which was a fitting segue into the presentation of the SoundWAV Award to Scooter Braun.
Slick Rick performed to close out the evening. (Photo Courtesy: NickyDigital.com)
Scooter, manager to Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepson, was at a loss for words when he took the stage, as he recalled his humble roots as a party promoter. "I knew that social and digital media could create an artist that was globally successful" he told the crowd. "The most important thing is don't listen to old people. It will always start small and seem meaningless, but then it will grow. Believe in yourself."
SoundCTRL was an organization that first launched at Internet Week. As a surprise performance from Slick Rick entertained fans at the show's close, the lasting impression seemed to be that this budding showcase of technology and art will only continue to grow as the fusion between music and technology continues.