Innovating Music

In this Innovating Music podcast, we talk about disruptive technologies in music. Hosted by Gigi Johnson and produced by the Center for Music Innovation at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, we bring together unique voices exploring tech-driven innovation from inside and outside of the music industry. Enjoy conversations with start-ups, long-time industry leaders, new technology creators, and others looking at how we might create new Positive Futures for music.
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Please welcome our new "Innovating Music" podcast, which also can be found on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, and other podcast locations.

Jan 26, 2017

Dmitri Vietze, CEO of Rock Paper Scossors and StoryAmp, joins us to share stories of how new combinations of unrelated ideas create innovation in music. Our conversation ranges from his own background in activism, ways to unlock new businesses, the slow/fast dynamics of music change, and the richness of human relationships in music. He discusses the blurring of creator and fan, and the challenges of making innovation work in the marketplace.

Our Guest: Dmitri Vietze, RockPaperScissors

Dmitri Vietze is CEO of Rock Paper Scissors, which started by helping global musicians market in the US, and now works as well with tech companies in music. He also launched and is the CEO of StoryAmp, which helps companies tell their stories through PR. Born in Nashville, Dmitri moved to NYC where he played in the subways while studying music at LaGuardia “the Fame High School” for Music and the Arts. After earning his business degree, he developed workshops using global music to show cultural differences as opportunities. He helped Portland record distributor Allegro set up a PR department, Dmitri started rps to focus on his global music and entrepreneurial passions. Dmitri is known for his crazy pants, infinite stream of ideas, and joyful engagement whether in writing, speaking one on one, or presenting at conferences ranging from SXSW to SF Music Tech. Rock Paper Scissors runs publicity campaigns for globally-minded performers, labels, festivals, websites, etc.

Jan 19, 2017

Matt, founder of MetaPop, shares his perspectives on innovation as solving intractable problems, versus creative disruption

Guest: Matt Adell, MetaPop

Matt is Founder & CEO of MetaPop. Previously, Matt was the CEO of Beatport for the five years before SFX bought it for more than $50 million. Matt's new company creates an environment to legally remix and distribute tracks across platforms like YouTube and Soundcloud.

Aug 29, 2016
Life as a

[Just re-edited!]  Dae brings us his adventures from the start-up world. He shares his observations from living as a self-described "data nerd" while creating new business solutions in music tech as a "non-tech person." He talkes at length about data and issues like "choreography" between databases and companies, getting sets of data to "talk to each other." He calls out new tech areas of interest, and takes a quick look at blockchain as a possible new "container" of distributing data and artist funds.

Our Guest:

As a serial entrepreneur, Dae is the founder of music & artist marketing agency, Maven Promo, and co-founder of TuneRegistry, a next generation music rights and metadata management platform that enables independent artists to take control of the information surrounding their catalog.  Dae has founded a number of music-related businesses, and has provided services and guidance to a portfolio of music tech and digital media start-up. As a writer and speaker, Dae covers topics surrounding music, tech, start-ups, digital media, and the DIY indie musician on music industry websites and blogs including Hypebot, CD Baby’s DIY Musician Blog, and Indie On The Move.

Jun 30, 2016
Transforming Music through Data

Alex White has put together puzzle pieces to connect music and data, building Next Big Sound over the past six years and selling it to Pandora. He shared similarities between business-to-business (B2B) sales in music and other industries.  He also shared what he sees coming up the road as problems to be solved in music and technology.

Guest: Alex White, Pandora, Head of Next Big Sound

As the Head of Next Big Sound at Pandora, Alex White oversees a NYC-based team of two dozen data engineers, designers, product managers, and data scientists focused on prediction research and cross-platform performance measurement. The team’s mission to make all the data that’s available about every artist in the world useful to music makers and Pandora’s brand clients. White and his Next Big Sound co-founders have been featured in Fast Company (#1 most innovative company in the music industry, 2015), and Forbes (30 under 30) in the music category three times, Billboard (10 best music companies).

Jun 16, 2016
Beyond Vinyl: Ceremony and Next Tech

Beatie shares her pathways as a modern artist in a post-CD world. She shares her adventures in creating new forms of ceremony in music with both her NFC cards with Moo to her golden coat crafted from the elements of her music. She also shares her action research with new music -- not just recall of old music -- and dementia. All of these efforts are gathering interest and followers, and she shares a bit of her journeys of sharing these stories with major technology companies while growing her music career.

Guest: Beatie Wolfe, Singer/Songwriter

Beatie's career has taken her from being the artist who pioneered the World's First 3D Interactive Album App for her debut album 8ight - which led to a world tour with Apple - to being an Innovation Ambassador for London. For her new album Montagu Square, Beatie continues to innovate; releasing it as the world’s first Album Deck of NFC Cards and a Musical Jacket, cut by the Savile Row tailor who dressed Hendrix & Bowie in the ‘60s. Beatie is also the co-founder of a "profound" (The Times) new research project looking at the Power of Music for people living with dementia. You can find more abou Beatie at

Jun 9, 2016
Back to the Future: Cycles of Innovation

Brian Zisk has worked across decade(s) of innovation in the music business, and he shared many of those tales with us. He also talks about interesting startups and how he sees companies needing to be ready for change in music. . .  and change coming back in cycles.

GUEST: Brian Zisk

Brian Zisk produces the SF MusicTech Summit and the Future of Money & Technology Summit. He is a Co-Founder of the Future of Music Coalition and a Board Member and/or Strategic Advisor for a wide variety of tech companies and non-profits. At the turn of the millennium, Brian was a founder of The Green Witch Internet Radio, which was sold to CMGI. He also published the wildly popular events listing SanFranZiskGo!

Jun 1, 2016
Music Innovation Summer Institute - An Invitation to our Listeners

Gigi Johnson shared a very brief chat and invitation to our listeners to visit us at for information about our 2016 Music Innovation Summer Institute.  We'll be having events on campus in June and July on our Music 20/20 theme of this year -- how we can proactively change where music is going.  Join us next week for more Podcasts as well in "Innovating Music." 

May 25, 2016
Consumer Evolution and Music Rights: Weaving Past and Future

Sam shares his experiences in music management and rights management, both as an entrepreneur and in larger organizations. From that viewpoint, he shares thoughts on innovations past and present, ranging from trends in songwriting to opportunities in new VR experiences, distribution, evolution of the consumer, and continuing needs for rights systems in an innovating world.


Sam Kling, SESAC’s Senior Vice President, Creative Operations. As part of SESAC’s senior management team, Kling is responsible for helping create and execute growth strategies for SESAC’s creative departments. He also manages the creative operations’ day-to-day department objectives. Before his position at SESAC, Kling served as Vice President at peermusic and was in charge of overseeing the independent music company’s Pop A&R as well as Film & TV creative operations. He holds a an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a Bachelor’s degree from the New School University in New York City.

May 11, 2016
BuzzAngle: Shifting to Daily Data

Jim Lidestri, BuzzAngle's CEO, shares with us his perspectives on changing the process side of music data, and how his idea as a consumer turned into a daily data solution for music companies. He discusses why change is accelerating with streaming surging, and how his company thinks about process change. Jim also shares his surprises on the road of bringing daily data to music companies. 

Our Guest: Jim Lidestri is the CEO of Border City Media. Border City Media is a New York-based music technology company that has developed an innovative service,BuzzAngle Music. It analyzes the daily sales, streaming and airplay activity of albums, songs and artists to benefit labels, distributors, artist managers, publishers, marketers, tour promoters, radio promoters, music tech companies, brands and advertisers. Previously, he was the CEO of AdSoft Direct, which provides an Internet-based, SaaS direct marketing service that manages direct marketing campaigns. He previously was an executive with IBM and Spring. He has an MBA from NYU Stern and a bachelors in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

May 4, 2016
How Interface Design Matters

Mike D'Errico, doctoral candidate at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, shares his expansive thoughts on user interface design and social context of innovating music. He discusses tensions and biases in user interface design, and thoughts on integrating performers into the development of interfaces for new instruments. Mike shares thoughts on next technologies in music creation and the nature of the future recording studio.

Our Guest: 

Michael D’Errico is unique voice in this podcast -- researcher, designer, and electronic musician. His realms of work are wide: hip-hop and electronic dance music, popular music and technology, video games and multimedia art, and sound studies. He is a PhD candidate in the UCLA Department of Musicology and the Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate Program. Other projects include an ethnography of hip-hop and electronic dance music communities in Los Angeles, sound design for the RomeLab virtual world project, and the construction of Notes—a music and multimedia annotation app. From Boston to Los Angeles, he has performed as a DJ, drummer, and electronic musician for various experimental music acts.

Apr 26, 2016
LISNR: Mapping Event Space with Sound

Chris Ostoich from LISNR, a multiple start-up founder, shares his experiences with innovating in music as an underlying technology firm. He shares thoughts on how working with concert venues and music industry companies contracts and compares with working with retails and sporting events, and ways that innovation and music have rippled through his own life.

Our Guest: 

Chris Ostoich is Co-Founder at LISNR, a new communication protocol that connects mobile with a speaker or microphone. Prior to LISNR, Ostoich was the Founder and Chief Innovation Officer for BlackbookHR. Ostoich founded BlackbookHR in 2008 and held the role of CEO until January of 2014. Ostoich attended the University of Cincinnati where he studied Communication, Public Relations and Music (Jazz Performance).