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Music Tech leaders tackle COVID-19 with Europe-wide innovation challenge

By Tina Brodal Posted: 20. Apr, 2020

#NextStageChallenge is an initiative which aims to find quick and lasting solutions to key challenges through a hackathon, accelerator program and conference.

Europe’s leading music / tech organizations are teaming up to highlight sustainable and engaging technical solutions around digital events in an effort to curb COVID-19’s devastating effects on the living sector.

Monday, April 20, there is a kick-off and Q&A webinar for participants curious about the initiative.

Aim to find lasting solutions
#NextStageChallenge is an initiative aimed at developing quick and lasting solutions through a 2-week hackathon. The winners of the hackathon will have access to an accelerator program run by LeanSquare, a European investor and accelerator, as well as the organizer of the renowned music / tech conference Wallifornia. The winners will also have the opportunity to develop and present the idea at a planned digital conference later in May, where a European network of relevant industry, professional community and investors will gather.

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Crucial for the future
Erik Brataas from the newly started investor company indie5000 has a long track record in the Norwegian music industry and took part in starting one of Norway’s most successful music / tech companies with Phonofile. Brataas is a mentor in the hackathon, and says such innovative initiatives are crucial for the industry to survive in the future.

– New sustainable online live experiences and ways to engage fans will be critical in developing new income streams and business models that can outlive Covid-19 and be an integral part of the future of the industry. Music Norways position in this European initiative ensures that Nordic perspectives and values are part of these inspiring innovation processes in Europe, says Brataas.

Italian Stefano Fasciani, Associate Professor at the Department of Musicology at UiO, is also a mentor in the hackaton. Both Fasciani, Brataas and Music Norway’s own Jonas Vebner are part of MIR’s startup / technology working group and contribute to the initiative on behalf of the Norwegian field.

Access, Fan Engagement and Value
#NextStageChallenge will begin with an open call for submissions until 24th of April, 2020. During a two week period beginning on 27th of April, companies, teams and individuals will explore solutions relating to three main areas:

Access (creation, production, broadcasting, curation)

Fan Engagement (audience, user experience, immersive technologies)

Value (monetization, monitoring, rights management).

The most innovative submissions from each category will then be chosen to join an accelerator program, followed by a conference to showcase their solutions to the wider industry.

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European initiative
The initiative is a collaborative effort between Music Innovation Hub (Italy), Music Norway (Norway), Music Tech Germany (Germany), Music Ally (UK), Sacem (France), Sound Diplomacy (UK), STHLM Music City (Sweden), Technoport (Luxembourg), Teosto (Finland), TheLynk (France) and Wallifornia Music Tech (Belgium).

Jonas Vebner from Music Norway says new technology always has been one of the most important drivers for new business models and revenue streams in the music industry, from ala carte downloads to today’s streaming market.

– For Music Norway it has always been important to be close to this field, which has given birth to initiatives such as our own music / tech accelerator MashUP Norway, various meet-up series and various collaborations with important arenas such as Slush, Sonar + D and Oslo Innovation Week to mention a few. Otherwise, Music Norway has the pleasure of coordinating an informal national network of music / tech entrepreneurs where we are seeing a lot of exciting activity these days, says Vebner.

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Vebner points out how the current situation allows both new and old industry professionals, both inside and outside the music industry, to test how best to run digital live events.

– But if the new platforms are to be post-covid, it will be important to rethink the very experience of participating in digital events so that payment willingness does not become in tough competition with all the other digital services that exist, Vebner adds.

Yvan Boudillet, Founder of TheLynk, hopes the initiative will foster open innovation and cooperation within the ecosystem and beyond.

– We are calling on Europe’s best startups, developers, designers, researchers, music professionals and creators to transform the live music experience, for good. We hope these trying times will lead to the most creative & sustainable digital solutions, he said.

For further information, or to submit your idea to #NextStageChallenge, visit: www.nextstagechallenge.org

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