An Evolved Music Industry Is Finally Embracing The Value Of Meaningful Relationships

Download (2)Here Stephen Love explains the motivation behind the creation of Socially Driven Music, a reinvention of the global music industry, and how it works to combine evolving technology and social relationships within the music business.


Guest post by Stephen Love of Socially Driven Music

Everyone loves music. Most people have felt the emotion and visceral reaction to a particular song that vividly captures a moment, transports us to a past experience as poignantly as a photo, or inspires us profoundly. Paul Simon could have written this masterpiece, iconic song today. Have a listen and you’ll understand our compassion for the sentiment as the motivation for creating Socially Driven Music. Then please consider and share the read.

As the music industry is still largely continuing to grapple with the basics of grasping its future, we see the future as much more than music distribution moving from CD’s to downloads to streaming. SDM not only utilizes rapidly evolving technology, but applies the potential of comprehensive, interwoven social relationship platforms, predictive analytics and neuroscience to execute on the innate potential and value of music. This is the manifestation of music industry experience infused with visionary foresight and informed by the thoughtful selection of the most advanced world, political and business perspectives available. SDM is the constantly evolving company to take theory into reality with considered reflection of the work of the world’s most recognized thinkers, such as Panos Panay 0f Berklee College of Music’s Berklee/Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (ICE) and Open Music Initiative, a collaboration with MIT Media Lab. 

Image: Maegalina

SDM mobilizes an army of grassroots “Musicpreneurs” (advocates) who work with the company’s executive team and Mentors (music industry luminaries) to identify local music artist and songwriter talent, cultivate and market it with a multitude of disruptive, innovative systems discussed in previous essays. As we harness music for daily social good, we also monetize it through a plethora of untapped channels and long overdue equitable administration for the good of the creative community and, by extension, the benefit of all the communities music touches.

Giving Back” seems to be even more in vogue right now across business sectors, including the music industry. That’s a good thing, except that nobody else has recognized this opportune juncture for a novel and reciprocal artist/fan relationship. This new dynamic is driven by altruism but also serves to return artists and songwriters to an age of equitable royalties through a natural avenue of empathetic benevolence. SDM shares the concern about a deeply divisive society in the US, (indeed, around the world) at a time when social programs are more the responsibility of the public sector and cooperation is urgently needed. Its mission is to empower and interconnect local communities of social good. Music is the common thread and connective tissue that, when purposefully integrated with social good causes, can immensely benefit the constituencies of both. To this point, Mark Zuckerberg revised the Facebook Mission Statement just last month to reflect an emphasis on Community rather than Individual connections. In part by incorporating the potency of institutional and organic playlists flowing from and into communities of social causes (including Facebook Town Halls), SDM cross-promotes and exponentially creates omni-channel/multimedia visibility, marketing, branding opportunities and, most importantly, engagement for all.

Att he core of its visionary music business creative and administrative model, SDM is about uniquely precise crowdsourcing on steroids: identifying the “Musicpreneurs” and music fans within socially conscious organizations and connecting them with Artists and Songwriters to propel music-driven communities to make a daily — not occasional — difference with whatever their cause (e.g., Stroke Recovery, Childhood Disease and Illness, Substance Abuse, Hunger, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Cancer, Sexual Health or Dysfunction, Ethnic & Religious Equality, Immigration, Anti-Bullying, Counter-Terrorism and Security, Clean Water, Suicide Prevention, Animal Rights, Patient Advocacy, Senior Care, LGBTQ Equality, Campus Rape, Veterans, Environment, Common Sense Gun Control, Homelessness, etc.). Imagine, for example, how Facebook (in addition to its sophisticated use of Artificial Intelligence, but rather than hiring 3000 part-time monitors) could mitigate its problem of violent, terrorizing, suicidal, bullying and criminal posts by mobilizing communities of relevant causes, powered by music and sponsors, to track and report these abusive posts as the aberrations they are to the rest of us).

Socially Driven Music (SDM)’s Value Proposition is to empower a wide variety of important “Social Good” projects with music fans as the grassroots ambassadors for a shared social impact passion. (#FoodShare#FeedingAmerica, #MakeAWish, #TheDreamFoundation, #MusicFromTheStreets, #PartTheCloud, #HalfTheSky, #StJudesChildrensHospital, etc.). Interestingly, as SDM endeavors to encourage more women into music leadership positions, GE just announced an ambitious program to bridge the STEM gender gap (which we support on behalf of the work of our friend, the late math and science education advocate for women and girls, Dr. Pamela Clute). This comes at a time when thinkers like Andrew Dubber and Samuel Potts are independently hinting at SDM’s vision of an ever-evolving, intersected, music-tech industry that transforms music listening into an interactive experience that can educate while entertaining. Potts suggests that the tech industry is already the new music business.

Tell us about the causes you’re passionate about and in which you want to be included here:

Think of SDM as the superimposed solution for music discovery, cultivation, distribution and administration presented as a synergistic hub/coordinator/catalyst for parlaying poignant initiatives, often in concert with one another, for impact every day. The caring is an extension of the kind of heart historically displayed by the music industry at catastrophic events. And science, such as is being explored by Apple’s HealthKit and ResearchKit initiatives, is the co-pilot.

ASAP Science

Brain images show links between music and regions of the brain responsible for sex, emotion, mathematics, memory and coordination. Bruce Brown wrote in Digital Trends in February that “Study Shows Music Has The Same Effect On Your Brain As Sex and Drugs.”

Researchers at McGill University have proved that music can have the same effect on your brain as opioids and endorphins, reports Fact.

That music rush — the chill many get from just the opening chords of a song — represents your brain releasing natural opioids such as endorphins that block pain and induce feelings of pleasure. In the McGill study, subjects were administered naltrexone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids by blocking the effects of opioids, so “feel-good” chemicals have no effect. Naltrexone induces anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, in this case, the pleasure specifically associated with opioids.

The testing applies to more than just endorphins and music. “Preliminary studies have shown that music listening and performing modulate levels of serotonin, epinephrine, dopamine, oxytocin, and prolactin. Music can reliably induce feelings of pleasure, and indeed, people consistently rank music as among the top ten things in their lives that bring pleasure, above money, food, and art,” the authors of the study wrote.”

In addition to predictive analytics, SDM embraces The Sync Project, Dopamine Labs and other research that is clinically proving the neuroscience causation and impact of music on the human brain (among other initiatives, the Sync Project is demonstrating how music may be used to replace, or at least reduce, use of opioids for pain relief). What would happen if the libraries that are serving as first-responders to opioid overdoses also became meeting places for recovering patients to listen to and share “Medicinal Music?”

We are also privileged to have begun to explore collaborating with Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, of the UCLA Medical Group, a pediatrician who is researching the influence of music in a study conducted through Mattel’s Pediatric Pain Program. Dr. Tachdjian has also created the Children’s Music Fund, a foundation he started to raise money to buy instruments for hospital patients across the nation after seeing clinical evidence of its medical efficacy in helping patients.

Susan R. Barry, Ph.D., is quoted in the Maegalina blogpost from Psychology Today: “In the last twenty years, brain imaging studies have revealed that musical training has dramatic effects on the brain. Increases in gray matter (size and number of nerve cells) are seen, for example, in the auditory, motor, and visual spatial areas of the cerebral cortex of musicians. As Dr. Oliver Sacks writes in his book Musicophilia, ‘Anatomists would be hard put to identify the brain of a visual artist, a writer, or a mathematician — but they could recognize the brain of a professional musician without a moment’s hesitation’.” Another excerpt from the Maegalina blogpost reminds us that “Scientists are also wondering if these findings can aid in helping therapy of stroke victims or other patients with damaged portions of their brains. The thinking is that these patients can also learn to rewire their brain to perform tasks of damaged areas in undamaged areas. Music therapy has already been in use for decades for Schizophrenia and other neurological disease. Melodic Intonation Therapy, a form of musical therapy, is starting to be used in stroke victims, however. In a TedTalk by Robert Gupta, he describes the work of Dr. Gottfried Schlaug, a neuroscientist at Harvard. He says, “Schlaug found that his stroke victims who were aphasic, could not form sentences of three- or four- words, but they could sing the lyrics to a song…after 70 hours of intensive singing lessons, he found that the music was able to literally rewire the brains of his patients and create a homologous speech center in their right hemisphere to compensate for the left hemisphere’s damage” (Gupta 2012). These results are an exciting find for the future treatment and recovery of stroke victims whom have lost the abilities of speech cognition.” This writer employed this modality for his mother and can attest to its efficacy.

 Life Noggin

SDM applies this thinking to a range of illnesses and social good causes that can be motivated by music. In conjunction with other innovative analytical and Facebook Group solutions like Liquid Grids (its Caregivers and Cancer communities are some of the largest Facebook Groups), SDM can identify, connect and activate music artists and fans impassioned by the same issues. With facilitation by Socially Driven Music, these motivated aggregations will utilize their collective brainpower to interact with a panoply of companies for support and product sponsorship in accomplishing their shared goals. Think about the work that #MusicFromTheStreets is doing, for example, and the nonexclusive but recurring correlation between homelessness and mental illness and substance abuse. Consider how SDM and its strategic alliances (e.g., Higi and Liquid Grids) can identify and possibly help friends and family of afflicted and addicted people before they become homeless. Now consider the revenue and donations that can be generated from advertising, sponsors, music placements in multimedia, etc.

Our strategies generate participation in these causes by helping to create music with an emotional intelligence (EQ) that will define today’s issues for tomorrow: the next generation of songs that follow those featured in the excellent CNN documentary “Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History.” SDM is focused on emerging talent around the world (some rights issues are less complicated), but also supports “Legacy” artists like those depicted in the “Soundtracks..” series. We know that many of these pioneers remain fantastically creative and productive despite being excluded from (antiquated) pop charts… and we bring a game plan untapped by the music industry to assist them in reemerging. It should not be lost on the reader that SDM’s concepts address fans of all genres, but also act to reengage former music fans who feel that they’ve outgrown the insipidity in much of today’s pop music.

The Audience Controls Music Now,” said Wes Pentz — Diplo, of act Major Lazer — in a recent interview). SDM agrees and further extrapolates that audiences will also control social good projects when galvanized by music. A recent CNN series called “Champions for Change,” showcases social good causes that resonate with certain of its anchors who then participate in that activity to expose it to their viewership. It has broadcasts ranging from amputee Veterans being trained to climb mountains, to teaching young girls the metaphor of how the mindset of competitive running corresponds to achieving dreams, to how a program introducing the arts is inspiring school kids whose district budgets have eliminated these programs.

Television series “Champions for Change” and “Soundtracks…” are examples of a cross-section of caring people identifying and fulfilling a need to help and educate others, respectively. Using specifically designed strategies for seizing upon the commonality in each of these projects, SDM is then able to extend this work with a combination of music licensing innovations, Social Relationship Platforms, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, predictive analytics and inventive integration of relevant special interest groups (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, et al). This amalgamation of tech and creative innovation is one of the formulae that SDM employs to feed an insatiable love of stories that we all see evidenced ubiquitously, most recently through the introduction of storytelling tools from Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, among others.

Confirming how music can create micro-marketing stories through correlative Playlists (to You Tube’s chagrin) is video platform Dailymotion and its recognition of the ability of this forum to not only aggregate eyeballs, but generate and motivate interaction amongst its users. Stories, if they’re compelling, have long been recognized by marketing experts as a “Call To Action” tool. The company Higi (you know them as the blood pressure, heart rate, weight, etc., kiosks inside your local pharmacies) is an example of a fascinating opportunity to reach consumers with medical stories by various celebrities, especially music artists, based on the extensive data it collects. Through its acquisition of SmartStory, it can entertain and educate while also driving sales of OTC product. Combining stories with Higi’s other acquisition, rewards company Earndit, further entices the consumer. Higi, which partners with Liquid Grids (which also collects and serves to dissect the Big Data science) and Golden Image Enterprises, also has the extraordinary possibility of becoming a POS. It can become a Redbox-type of music access distributor for special promotions and “windowing” of music that relates to a special motivational story or accomplishment that is targeted individually within a diversity of medical issues. What makes the combination of these companies and SDM even more unique is the prospect of reaching people in need on a localized basis. Localization is the model behind the successes of AirBnB, Dropbox, Groupon, Tinder, Reddit, Foursquare and others, and is one of the main precepts in SDM’s DNA. In fact, SDM believes that this understanding is the main “driver” in Elon Musk’s desire to bring its own streaming service to Tesla (in which SDM is exploring participating). Imagine the JV implications for Amazon and the potential exposure of emerging local artists through this new music delivery service. Then consider the exponential benefit of coordinated social good campaigns with Higi/Golden Image/Liquid Grids, powered by SDM.

This brings us to “Answering The Call” – an inspired rallying call for all impassioned causes (check out the video: We think you’ll agree that the potential anthem speaks to the ambitious objectives of many social good missions. Van Jones’ #LoveArmy shares the same message to implore civil discourse and compromise as the solutions for moving forward as does Rand Bishop and his #PeacePilgrim walk, which motivated the song. During Rand’s 90-day trek completing near the end of July, he will have had the opportunity to talk with a cross-section of California and Oregon and hear the stories of people who share a desire for civil discourse. It’s a microcosm sampler that complements the work of other caring people, such as W. Kamau Bell in his CNN series “United Shades Of America.” These initiatives similarly and reciprocally coalesce around a determination to make a difference by example. Further illustrations include #JourneyAcrossAmerica” and its companion challenge, #What’sMyWin, created by Higi, Golden Imaging Enterprises and Liquid Grids, with Darren Kaviloky. We can find other clear indications of the direction of the music industry in a recent piece published by Jay-Z called “This is Our Power” that speaks to the need for activism (his Roc Nation manages Van Jones) and in Lady Gaga and Starbucks’ “Cups of Kindness” collaboration which complements Starbucks’ proactive “Feed The Hungry” campaign. SDM will hope to work with truly activating all these good deeds with a giant step into the future of the music industry propelled by legions of music-loving activists.

While we utilize music to power social good, we must concurrently stay mindful of the current reality of musicians and songwriters struggling to find ways to recreate the lucrative living that was once possible from distribution and broadcasting of their music. SDM embodies some of the smartest solutions for monetization and expansion of music distribution into untapped outlets, while working to dramatically improve the unconscionable paltry royalties being paid to our treasured songwriters and artists (locally and globally). We support the immense possibilities for bringing transparency to intellectual property royalties through various blockchain projects (we like Benji Rogersthinking at dotBlockchain) and the futuristic work of IBM Watson in conjunction with three of the world’s largest Performing Rights Organizations (PRO’s). Getting artists and writers paid equitably for their work is a cause which precipitates all the others in a logically evolved “Smart Contract” model (including addressing ATV Music CEO Martin Bandier’s exhortation for song credits to be included in digital files), and is the one which will rally and break down real and artificial barriers for the good of all. Check out our previous essays that provide an overview of the innovative solutions SDM brings to the table as it teases the music business into its future and addresses the many continuing holdout issues of an industry in transition. We are humbled that our thinking is aligned with so many visionaries, among them venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla who, according to Venture Beat, thinks that there’s a high-paying job on the chopping block: oncology. “I can’t imagine why a human oncologist would add value, given the amount of data in oncology,” he said during a panel conversation hosted by MIT in San Francisco in June. His comments were part of a broader point that education will not be enough to stem the economic upheaval and job loss that comes about as part of the growth of artificial intelligence. He doesn’t believe that human radiologists will exist in five years as a result, for example. Similarly, SDM believes that the music industry as we know it today will be unrecognizable five years from now. Join Socially Driven Music in imagining the future of music!

Stephen C. Love, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President, Socially Driven Music, was one of the co-architects of the legendary ATV Music Group (publishers of the Lennon-McCartney catalogue), where he served as Executive Vice President, Worldwide. His career includes EVP Music, Worldwide, at Carolco Pictures, All American Television and Pearson Television (Fremantle). Long considered a big thinker and visionary, he has extensive experience in international music publishing creative, royalties and overall administration, Film and TV supervision, and negotiation of composer, artist and soundtrack agreements for dozens of productions, as well as being adept at negotiation of all synchronization and master use licenses. SDM is a labor of love (pun intended) to transform the music industry for the benefit of music creators, while motivating social good along the way.

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