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One of the good things to come out of MTV before devolving into a cable network of crappy reality TV shows is 120 Minutes host Matt Pinfield — a man who knows his music as well as he knows the music industry.
“New technology is taking music, the music business, and artists in all different directions,” Pinfield said in a recent interview with VentureBeat. “People used to be so resistant to it.”
The former Columbia Records VP said he remembers that for a long time that music labels were thinking tech would just go away, which obviously hasn’t happened. Today there are a number of streaming music and discovery services such as Pandora, MOG, Rdio, Shazam, Songza, and of course Spotify, which is leading the pack with 3 million paying subscribers.
“Sharing (music online) is going to happen no matter what,” Pinfield said. “Once you’ve let the digital genie out of the bottle, that’s just the way things go. It’s going to keep evolving.”
Pinfield said he’s noticing more bands using things like Skype’s group video chat feature to collaborate regardless of location, thus allowing them to write songs and brainstorm in a way that wasn’t really possible in the past. Things like this are what led him to his latest project.
Pinfield is teaming up with Skype on a new promotional contest, Say it with Skype. Emerging bands can upload a song or music video to be judged by Pinfield, Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, and Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, all of whom will subsequently act as mentors to the winning band. The winners also get an all expenses paid recording session.
“It’s hard enough for bands to get a leg up these days because of shows like American Idol, The Voice, Duets that are basically karaoke of other people’s songs. It dominates not only the pop world but also television,” Pinfield said. “This (Skype contest) is a way to use what’s great about social networking to have emerging bands upload their songs and gain attention.”
In addition to Skype and the new contest, Pinfield also told me about his positive experiences with Spotify. Having recently put together a playlist as part of a tribute article he wrote for The Hollywood Reporter on the late Adam Yauch, he said he’s embraced the service.
“It’s better for the new emerging artists,” he said of Spotify. “If somebody puts a new band on a playlist, others can discover it and look deeper into them.” Pinfield added that, while live performances are still very important for up-and-coming bands, it’s also becoming just as important to make their music available online via services like YouTube.
Pinfield also commented on the recent success some artist are having with crowdfunding their albums, saying “Kickstarter is great” in reference to the crowdfunded projects platform. Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls is the first big example of Kickstarter success, raising over $800,000 for her record release campaign.
“It’s really great for bands that the record companies don’t want to invest in anymore because they’re only interested in what’s new, fresh,” he said. “There are bands out there with enough fans that are making more money through Kickstarter than they ever made when they couldn’t control the marketing money that was used to promote the record.”
Photo via Matt Pinfield/Facebook