Music Biz Startup Academy Comes to Nashville: Jumpstart Your Music Tech Startup With Full Day of Sessions on May 16

music biz 2016

March 3, 2016 – The Music Business Association (Music Biz) is bringing its popular Music Startup Academy series back to Nashville on Monday, May 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the Music Biz 2016 convention at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Aimed at startups, entrepreneurs, students, and anyone looking to break into the music industry, the Academy will teach attendees all they need to know about important topics such as labels, publishing, business development, and content acquisition as well as provide venture capitalist, PR, and branding advice. 

“Cultivating the next generation of innovative thinkers and doers is paramount for the future of the music industry, and we are pleased to play a part in nurturing the talents of aspiring entrepreneurs with our Music Startup Academy,” said Bill Wilson, VP of Digital Strategy & Business Development at Music Biz. “This event will connect those with an idea to seasoned music and entrepreneurship experts who can show them how to bring that idea to life in a legal, sustainable way. We look forward to another great session at Music Biz 2016.”

Having previously traveled to New York City, San Francisco, Austin, Boston, Philadelphia, Florida, and other cities around the country, the Music Startup Academy debuted in Nashville last year at the Music Biz 2015 convention. This year’s event at Music Biz 2016 will feature top music, tech, PR, legal, and startup experts from companies such as Rock Paper Scissors Inc., Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard, Warner/Chappell Music, 7digital, Barefoot Media, Crossfade Partners, the NYU Steinhardt School, and Back Porch Group as well as a conversation with fellow startups karaoQ, ear.IQ, Dart Music, and EVAmore about their path to success.

Registration for the Academy and all other May 16 Music Biz 2016 sessions can be purchased for $129 viaEventbrite. For updated information on Academy speakers and sessions, click here.

The full currently confirmed agenda is below.

9 – 9:15 AM
Music Startup Academy Welcome & Agenda

  • Dmitri Vietz, Rock Paper Scissors Inc.

9:15 – 10 AM
Label and Publishing Basics for Entrepreneurs
A deeper dive into the economics of the music industry, including performance rights, and understanding the various rights for master recordings and songwriting. We will also go over the various legal issues surrounding music product development.

  • Aileen Atkins, Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard
  • Ben Vaughn, Warner/Chappell Music

10:05 – 10:50 AM
Music Industry Content Acquisition and Business Development
Trying to attract an investor, strategic partner, powerful label, or a megastar like Lady Gaga for your startup? A cool product isn’t enough. Learn what makes your business more attractive to those that can help you breakout. Learn about the third rails and how to manage navigating around the barriers to entry. What are the “dos and don’ts” in licensing vast libraries of major content, etc.

  • Bill Campbell, Barefoot Media LLC
  • Jon Vanhala, Crossfade Partners

10:55 – 11:30 AM
VC Chat: Proof of Idea Required
You may think your idea is completely fleshed out, but when you meet with a potential funding partner you are suddenly bombarded with a myriad of questions that you never really thought about. But don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Learn what venture capitalists look for in startups and entrepreneurs today and how you can be sure that you have the proof that you can fully actualize on your idea.

  • Larry Miller, NYU Steinhardt School/Musonomics Podcast
  • VC TBA

11:35 AM – 12:15 PM
Starting Up in Music Tech: The Agony & The Ecstasy
This panel will explore the promise and the reality of building and growing a startup in music tech – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll cover topics such as moving from idea to business model, from business model to customer discovery, to product development, to business creation and growth.  Across this spectrum, we’ll discuss the opportunities and challenges of innovation in the music industry, forming partnerships with majors, tackling the tough problems of licensing, data sharing, and the like. The goal is to present a complete picture, warts and all, informing attending entrepreneurs and industry players alike with information that helps us all build a more vibrant, viable music tech startup community. In addition to the industry-specific matters noted above, we’ll also look at how to solve the pressing problems of boot-strapping versus raising capital, developing the right product for the right market, acquiring first customers, and scaling.

  • Moderator: Shawn Yeager, Back Porch Group
  • Michael Amburgey, karaoQ
  • Stephen Davis, ear.IQ
  • Chris McMurtry, Dart Music
  • Channing Moreland, EVAmore

12:15 – 1:15 PM

1:15 – 2 PM
New Listening Experiences: How Services Differentiate from the Streaming Standard
Launching an all-you-can-eat, on-demand music streaming service is hard work, yet a number of services have now managed to establish themselves as global players. What has happened, as a result of various conditions, is that a rigid set of service features have been wrapped into what can be considered an on-demand streaming standard. Many provide the user with access to absolutely everything ever recorded but still recognize this is not necessary. Where then is the differentiation happening, what can be licensed, and in which ways are innovators successfully diverting from the standard? This panel will explore the concepts, services, and business models that provide users, entrepreneurs, and developers new and alternative ways of accessing content either alongside the established models or in competition to them. We will look at ways in which the listening experience is transforming and who in the industry is well placed to truly address underserved markets.

  • Organized by 7digital

2 – 3 PM
Free Your PR and Your Brand Will Follow
In this one hour workshop, music tech companies will learn the basics of PR in the music business. Fifteen year veteran publicist Dmitri Vietze will give you an overview of the PR process, how to develop compelling story angles for your product or service, how PR and marketing work together, and what it takes to capture the interest of journalists at trade publications, business press, tech press, and consumer press. There will be time to answer lots of questions.

  • Dmitri Vietze, Rock Paper Scissors Inc.

Music Biz 2016, which will return to Nashville from May 16-18, is the music industry’s premier event, giving the commerce and content sectors a place to meet with trading partners, network with new companies, and learn about new trends and products impacting the music business. Registration is open now, with early bird discounts available until March 11, 2016. For more information or to sign up for the conference, visit