Music Matters 2013 Preview: YouTube and the Online Video Phenomenon; Keynotes By Johnny Wright, Rob Wells, Frances Moore

The focus of the 2013 Digital & Music Matters is unequivocally on YouTube and the online video phenomenon. The Asia Pacific entertainment event, held May 20-25 at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, will be broadcast live on YouTube, including three days of conferences and five nights of entertainment, most notably the inaugural YouTube FanFest (20/21).

Digital Matters is May 21-22 and Music Matters, May 22-23; then the first Music Matters Academy (managed by Canada’s Coalition Management) provides free access to 150 artists to meet people “who have made it.”

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The other component, the festival, which is free to the public, takes May 22-24. Fifty-eight bands from 20 countries are performing 160 shows. For the first time Japan, Taiwan and Singapore have their own country showcases, joining Korea, Canada and Australia, which also had special nights in 2012.

Fifteen hundred people are attending the conference, up from 1207 last year, says Jasper Donat, president of Digital & Music Matters, but the number of fans who will take in the free shows is impossible to predict, he says.

Keynote speakers include artist manager Johnny Wright (Justin Timberlake) of Wright Entertainment Group; Rob Wells, Universal Music Group’s president, global digital business; and Kenji Kitatani, president of $1.5 billion Avex Holdings; Axel Dauchez, CEO of Deezer and Frances Moore, CEO of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Blind Aboriginal Australian singer Geoffrey Gurrumul will be speaking in his native Yolngu for an hour (through a translator) and playing some songs. Amanda Palmer has also agreed to do a Google Hangout from New York.

Panel topics are leaning towards new revenues for live music, such as ticketing and streaming, but also to digital music services, which is new to the Asia Pacific market.

“What’s been exciting this year is that all the digital services that said they were going to launch [globally] have actually gone and done it finally,” says Donat.  “iTunes has launched, Deezer, Spotlfy. Google and MOG have launched in Australia. So the big international brands are now starting to appear in various countries and it’s getting very exciting.

“The whole of the Digital Matters program is all about online video,” he adds. “So we’ve got Microsoft’s worldwide manager director of media and cable Taras Bugir coming. The world is going to online video and it’s a very exciting time. Certainly for Asia, where none of these services really launched outside of China -- you’ve only really got YouTube.

“But you look at what’s happened in markets like China; you look at the size of these networks and the fact that everyone’s got two phones that are connected to 4G, online video is really exciting. So that whole day is dedicated to online.”

Donat’s partnership for Digital & Music Matters with YouTube was expanded after a successful first-year partnership in 2012 which saw the festival broadcast on YouTube, and produced by classes from Singapore Polytechnic media division.’

“It worked really well and introduced us to live streaming which is the new big thing,” says Donat. “Coachella broadcast live on YouTube so it’s clearly where the live music industry is going. Then we sat down with YouTube (Anthony Zameczkowski, head of music for Asia Pacific) and said, ‘What else can we do? We’ve got this other event called Digital Matters, which is everything but music.’

“One of those crazy conversations ended up with us launching an event called the YouTube FanFest with the computer manufacturer HP with YouTube’s biggest and brightest stars.”

While those 20 stars include everything from comedy and cooking, there are a handful of YouTube music sensations participating, such as Florida band Boyce Avenue which has 800 million video views and 2.8 million subscribers; LA singer David Choi whose videos have 85 million views and 940,000 subscribers; and SoCal singer Joseph Vincent with 68 million video views and 330,000 subscribers.

“We’re going to end the day with a panel featuring those YouTube stars,” Donat enthuses. “with a bunch of 20 years olds talking about the future of the industry to the business -- it’s edutainment. The whole thing is that these artists have done it -- they’ve set up their channels; communicate with their audience; maintained the connection.

More information on Music Matters 2013 can be found HERE.