Billboard FutureSound Update: More Speakers, Topics Confirmed
Billboard FutureSound Update: More Speakers, Topics Confirmed

There are a lot of music-industry conferences these days, but we're aiming to do something really different with Billboard's inaugural FutureSound Conference, taking place Nov. 17-18 in San Francisco.

This conference is designed to drive past the usual platitudes you hear from the same speakers on talking about the same topics and the same roundtable discussion panels. We're asking everyone involved-from speakers to attendees-to put a little more skin in the game. Our goal is to drive towards the one thing missing from so many of these confabs-solutions.

(Check out the FutureSound Conference schedule)

Invited speakers are tasked with presenting their idea, argument or position on how to best solve the challenges before us. Keynote sessions will focus on case studies of successful integrations of technology, music and investing. And attendees will be asked to lend their voice to the discussion and help shape the answers we all seek.

That's a high bar to set, and we're being rather deliberate in who we put on stage. As such, our program is still evolving, but here's a snapshot on who we've confirmed so far:

Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, taking place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today; presentations that will offer specific solutions structured around answering the most pressing questions; and workshops.

- Ron Conway, "super angel" investor of such companies as Google, Twitter, Napster, and FourSquare among many others.
- chairman & founder Seth Goldstein and investors/partners, offing a case study on the success and future plans of this year's hottest digital music service.

Navigating the Startup Minefield:
- UMGD SVP Mitch Rotter, on what labels look for when considering partnerships

- RootMusic founder & CEO J Sider on how digital music startups can thrive
- Mayfield Fund managing director Tim Chang on the future of VC investment in digital music
- Grooveshark EVP Paul Geller, on what startups can teach the music industry about monetization
- Invited speakers are tasked with presenting their idea, argument or position on how to best solve the challenges before us.
- MobileRoadie CEO Michael Schneider, on what the role mobile will play in the future

Overcoming Licensing Barriers
- NMPA president David Israelite on how publishers will make licensing easier for all
- Cricket Communications VP Jeff Toig on the secret behind the success of Muve Music
- Music Reports SVP Les Watkins on the opportunities of direct licensing
- Island Def Jam SVP Jon Vanhala on applying the API model to music licensing
- Wolfgang's Vault CEO Bill Sagan on creating approaches to licensing, and monetization

Making Music More Social

- Slacker SVP Jack Isquith on how digital music services are revamping their strategies around social platforms
- Shazam director Jeff Roberto on the need to mine user metrics and data
- Schematic Labs founder Steve Jang on the role location data will play in the future of digital music
- ReverbNation COO Jed Carlson on how artists have best used social media to date

Cost of Content - Merlin CEO Charles Caldas on the value of music

We're also in the final stages of confirming several artists to discuss their personal take on how to best interact with fans, promote their work, and make a living using the diverse tools available to them today.

In addition to these speakers and presenters, we're partnering with VentureBeat to find the next hot startup companies in Silicon Valley you need to know, demonstrating the innovations and disruptive technologies that will define the landscape of tomorrow.

But what you can't see in this list of speakers and topics is the tone we're setting for this event. We all know the problems affecting the evolution of the digital music market. Let's stop talking about them, and instead focus on solving them. We're aiming for results -- for positive suggestions rather than rehashed complaints. The divide between the technology/investment community and the music industry must be closed, which is why we're bringing representatives from all sides together to work jointly on overcoming their shared barriers.

We hope to see you there!