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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
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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This week in “Raises”: A pair of Web3 platforms for gamers landed funding, as did a Manhattan Beach medical startup looking to bolster primary care via nurse practitioners. Meanwhile, a Santa Monica-based investment firm launched its seventh fund with more than $14 billion in dry powder.
Improvado, a marketing data aggregation platform, raised $22 million in a Series A funding round led by Updata Partners.
Web3 gaming platform FreshCut raised $15 million in funding led by Galaxy Interactive, Animoca Brands and Republic Crypto.
Medical startup Greater Good Health raised $10 million in a funding round led by LRVHealth.
Joystick, a Web3 platform for gamers and creators, raised $8 million in seed funding.
Open source data protection company CipherMode Labs raised $6.7 million in seed funding led by Innovation Endeavors .
Mobile phone charging network ChargeFUZE raised $5 million in seed funding led by Beverly Pacific, TR Ventures, VA2, Jason Goldberg and Al Weiss.
Polygon, a startup aiming to better diagnose children with learning disabilities, raised $4.2 million in seed and pre-seed funding led by Spark Capital and Pear VC.
Pique, a virtual women's sexual health clinic, raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Maveron.
Psudo, a sneaker startup that utilizes recycled water bottles and 3D sublimation printing to create its shoes, raised $3 million in a seed funding round led by SternAegis Ventures.
Santa Monica-based investment firm Clearlake Capital Group raised $14.1 billion for its seventh flagship fund.Raises is dot.LA’s weekly feature highlighting venture capital funding news across Southern California’s tech and startup ecosystem. Please send fundraising news to Kristin Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“Moves”, our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (email@example.com). Please send job changes and personnel moves to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FaZe Clan brought on Zach Katz as the gaming and media company’s new president and chief operating officer. Katz was previously the chief executive officer of the music tech investment fund Raised in Space Enterprises.
TikTok brand factory LINK Agency promoted Dustin Poteet to chief creative officer. Poteet was previously creative director at the firm.
Livestream shopping platform Talkshoplive hired Tradesy co-founder John Hall as its chief technology officer. Universal Music Group Nashville's former vice president of digital marketing, Tony Grotticelli, also joins the company as vice president of marketing.
Anjuli Millan will take over as head of original content at Snap after three years of overseeing production for the division.
Tech and media company Blavity hired Nikki Crump as general manager of agency. Crump joins the company from Burrell Communications Group.
O'Neil Digital Solutions, which provides customer communications and experience management for the health care industry, hired Eric Ramsey as national account sales executive. Ramsey joins from T/O Printing.
Investment firm Cresset Partners named Tammy Funasaki as managing director of business development. Funasaki previously served as head of investor relations for Breakwater Management.
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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.
Snapchat is preparing to roll out enhanced parental controls that would allow parents to see who their teenagers are chatting with on the social media app, according to screenshots of the upcoming feature.
Snap’s parental controls.
Courtesy of Watchful.
Snapchat is planning to introduce Family Center, which would allow parents to see who their children are friends with on the app and who they’ve messaged within the last seven days, according to screenshots provided by Watchful, a product intelligence company. Parents would also be able help their kids report abuse or harassment.
The parental controls are still subject to change before finally launching publicly, as the Family Center screenshots—which were first reported by TechCrunch—reflect features that are still under development.
Santa Monica-based Snap and other social media giants have faced mounting criticism for not doing more to protect their younger users—some of whom have been bullied, sold deadly drugs and sexually exploited on their platforms. State attorneys general have urged Snap and Culver City-based TikTok to strengthen their parental controls, with both companies’ apps especially popular among teens.
A Snap spokesperson declined to comment on Friday. Previously, Snap representatives have told dot.LA that the company is developing tools that will provide parents with more insight into how their children are engaging on Snapchat and allow them to report troubling content.
Yet Snap’s approach to parental controls could still give teens some privacy, as parents wouldn’t be able to read the actual content of their kids’ conversations, according to TechCrunch. (The Family Center screenshots seen by dot.LA do not detail whether parents can see those conversations).
In addition, teenage users would first have to accept an invitation from their parents to join the in-app Family Center before those parents can begin monitoring their social media activity, TechCrunch reported.