Facebook, Twitter Execs Talk Music Apps at SF MusicTech Summit 2013

From left: Nate Auerbach, Tumblr; Kaitlyn Moore, Keith Urban; Nic Adler, The Roxy; Mike Doernberg, ReverbNation;  Bryan Calhoun, The Blueprint Group @ the SF MusicTech Summit (Misha Vladimirskiy for FilterlessCo)

Facebook Strategic Partnerships manager Ime Archibong handed out social networking tips for musicians and music companies, while Twitter #Music's Stephen Phillips pleaded for patience from the industry at the opening of the SF Musictech Summit XIII at San Francisco's Hotel Kabuki on Tuesday.

Archibong started the twice-a-year gathering of more than a thousand technologists, dealmakers and musicians by pointing music app developers to Facebook's new acquisition, Parse, which is a service that runs apps across multiple platforms. Facebook purchased the "mobile-backend-as-a-service" startup in April for a rumored $85 million, Techcrunch reported.

Ed Bailey, Austin City Limits/KLRU; Joel Korpi, Rockify; Patrick Dentler, C3 Presents; Lisa Martin, Dell; Caroline Burruss, Austin City Limits Live @ the SF MusicTech Summit (Misha Vladimirskiy for FilterlessCo)

"If you are an early developer I'd actually say go look at the Parse ecosystem and the tools and the services they provide. It gives you a way of looking at the backend and everything you use to scale out across the mobile apps [so they can focus more] on the user experience, the UI, the fun parts," Archibong said.

Archibong also said music subscription service Rdio is leveraging Facebook APIs and social plugins for immediate strong results. "Rdio is leaning into the platform in a heavy way for the last two months and they've seen some really big near-term success -- their impressions going up 10x on Facebook," he said.

Germaine Dupri, giving a talk during the SF Musictech Summit (Misha Vladimirskiy for FilterlessCo)

Archibong relayed some Facebook best practices for artists and managers in the crowd. "Have a presence, have your page, have your profile, have 'subscribe' turned on,” he suggested. “Figure out your publishing strategy."

Additioanlly, he stressed pictures and videos, especially given Facebook Timeline's new emphasis on the visual.

"I can't stress how important it is now than it was last year. Pictures are bigger, videos are bigger, it's more in your face. Really leverage exclusive pictures,” Archibong said. “Instagram first and foremost has been astronomical and phenomenal."

Artists Kat Dahlia and U.K. DJ Star Slinger have been using Facebook exceptionally well with the help of Instagram and Soundcloud, respectively, he said.

"Spend time really learning what your audience wants to hear from you. Kat Dahlia does a great job of posting authentic content,” Archibong said. “Star Slinger, his audience wants him to discover new music for them."

From left: Ronald Metellus, Rap Genius; Andrew Jervis, BandCamp; Rachel Masters, Red Magnet Media @ the SF MusicTech Summit (Misha Vladimirskiy for FilterlessCo)

The daylong conference featured dozens of panelists, including the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, Tumblr’s Nate Auerbach, Google’s Chris Wilson and other reps from Pandora, BitTorrent, Sony, Ghostly and Live Nation Labs.

Twitter #Music’s Phillips weathered some criticism of the launch of the much-hyped new music discovery app. Twitter's first dedicated music app debuted at the top of the app charts, but quickly tumbled. Many users complained about the free app's use of 30-second song samples from Apple. Conversely, Rdio and Spotify subscribers using Twitter #Music can listen to full streams of trending artists on the massive microblogging service.

"We would like to let everybody know we're just getting started. It's really a long-term commitment," Phillips said. "I think listening experiences built purely on samples from Apple is probably not ideal … We thought it was useful enough as a sharing experience that it's worth it."

"The people who connect with Rdio and Spotify get a much better experience," he continued. "We're hoping that we were ahead of the game a little and that this year is the year subscription services will take off."

From left: Dweezil Zappa; Daniel Walton, Retronyms; Sam Valenti, Ghostly @ the SF MusicTech Summit (Misha Vladimirskiy for FilterlessCo)

Phillips referenced Google's new music subscription play and the impending launch of Apple and Amazon's subscription services "in a year."

"It feels like a good place to be. It could be the year that subscriptions go mainstream and if they do it's a nice place to be sitting there working with all those companies seeing what they are doing," said Phillips, the founder of We Are Hunted, which created music charts for social networks.

He told critics to give the service a year, saying the product is deliberately incomplete.

"I just think it's early," he said. "It's just how software development works now. We ship product and we listen to what people like and dislike … I think in a year's time we can look at Twitter #Music and say, 'Has it been a success or not?' I think that would be a fair time to judge it."

"We're just hoping that everybody starts buying subscriptions," he added.