Music Tectonics Conference Announces a Lineup Including Livestreaming, VR and Social Video

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Music Tectonics Conference Announces a Lineup Including Livestreaming, VR and Social Video

The second annual Music Tectonics conference announced its lineup on Tuesday, which will focus on the growing confluence of music and tech.

The conference held its inaugural run in Los Angeles last year. This year, it will take place virtually on October 27 and 28.

Dmitri Vietze, chief executive of the event's organizer, music PR firm Rock Paper Scissors, pointed dot.LA to a few notable examples of topics to be discussed in the event panels.


The first is what he called two former "step-children of the music industry" poised to grow due to the pandemic lockdowns: music in AR and VR, and live-streamed concerts for remote audiences.

Jaroslav Beck, co-founder of popular VR music game Beat Saber, and Tom Impallomeni, chief executive of VR DJ experience Tribe XR, will feature in the "Mixed Reality & Music" panel. Stephen White, chief executive of L.A.-based live-streaming platform StageIt, will lead a discussion on the livestreaming era.

"Music Tectonics sits at the important nexus of the music industry and the software and service providers of the technology world," White told dot.LA. "It has become increasingly important for these industries to work closely together as the content and platforms continue to evolve. This relationship only works if both groups win, and that starts with meaningful dialog."

Vietze also highlighted two already-growing areas that have received a pandemic boost: social video and fitness. Triller chief executive Mike Lu will discuss his platform's growth with Rasty Turek, who heads Pex, another L.A.-based firm at the intersection of tech and music. TikTok's head of music Corey Sheridan will feature in the "Music in a Borderless World" panel.

There will also be discussions on the growing value of music at a time when music is playing a greater role across a variety of platforms and reforms to copyright law may change musicians' ability to make money.

L.A.-based Super Hi-Fi's chief executive Zack Zalon will join Sonos' Ryan Taylor in a discussion on "The Future of Listening Experiences." There will also be a "Music Tech Investor" panel focused on venture capital and startups.

The event will be headlined by Warner Music Group's chief innovation officer Scott Cohen and Cherie Hu, a music analyst with a popular music-tech blog, Water and Music.

Tickets are $59 for general admission. More information on the event, lineup and sponsors can be found at musictectonics.com.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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PCH Driven: Director Jason Wise Talks Wine, Documentaries, and His New Indie Streaming Service SOMMTV

Jamie Williams
­Jamie Williams is the host of the “PCH Driven” podcast, a show about Southern California entrepreneurs, innovators and its driven leaders on their road to success. The series celebrates and reveals the wonders of the human spirit and explores the motivations behind what drives us.
Jason Wise holding wine glass
Image courtesy of Jason Wise

Jason Wise may still consider himself a little kid, but the 33-year-old filmmaker is building an IMDB page that rivals colleagues twice his age.

As the director behind SOMM, SOMM2, SOMM3, and the upcoming SOMM4, Wise has made a career producing award-winning documentary films that peer deep into the wine industry in Southern California and around the world.

On this episode of the PCH Driven podcast, he talks about life growing up in Cleveland as a horrible student, filmmaking, Los Angeles and his latest entrepreneurial endeavor: A streaming service called SOMMTV that features–what else?–documentaries about wine.

The conversation covers some serious ground, but the themes of wine and film work to anchor the discussion, and Wise dispenses bits of sage filmmaking advice.

“With a documentary you can just start filming right now,” he says. “That’s how SOMM came about. I got tossed into that world during the frustration of trying to make a different film, and I just started filming it, because no one could stop me because I was paying for it myself. That’s the thing with docs,” or “The good thing about SOMM is that you can explain it in one sentence: ‘The hardest test in the world is about wine, and you’ve never heard about it.’”

…Or at least maybe you hadn’t before he made his first film. Now with three SOMM documentaries under his belt, Wise is nearing completion of “SOMM4: Cup of Salvation,” which examines the history of wine’s relationship with religion. Wise says it’s “a wild film,” that spans multiple countries, the Vatican and even an active warzone. As he puts it, the idea is to show that “wine is about every subject,” rather than “every subject is about wine.”

For Wise, the transition to launching his own streaming service came out of his frustration with existing platforms holding too much power over the value of the content he produces.

“Do we want Netflix to tell us what our projects are worth or do we want the audience to do that?” he asks.

But unlike giants in the space, SOMMTV has adopted a gradual approach of just adding small bits of content as they develop. Without the need to license 500 or 1,000 hours of programming, Wise has been able to basically bootstrap SOMMTV and provide short form content and other more experimental offerings that typically get passed over by the Hulus and Disneys of the world.

So far, he says, the experiment is working, and now Wise is looking to raise some serious capital to keep up with the voracious appetites of his subscribers.

“Send those VCs my way,” Wise jokes.

Subscribe to PCH Driven on Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, iHeart, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.

dot.LA reporter David Shultz contributed to this report.

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