'Out of destruction, comes creation. The only thing we can count on is change.'
EVAN MURRAY talked to ROBERT SINGERMAN about Mondo.NYC Music Festival and Tech Conference.
About Robert Singerman
Known for developing talent and new music business/tech, as an entrepreneur, agent, manager, label executive, consultant, producer, and music supervisor, Robert Singerman has represented R.E.M., Gipsy Kings, James Brown, Suzanne Vega, Violent Femmes, 10,000 Maniacs, Smithereens, Fela Kuti, Bad Brains, pre-Beastie Boys, and King Sunny Ade, among many other artists.
His main mission is giving music subtitling solutions, so that music becomes truly global, through the universal understanding of the lyrics. He’s working at LyricFind as SVP, International Publishing, to license and monetize legal lyrics and lyric translations from the publishers and songwriters around the globe, with platforms; Google, Amazon, Pandora, Deezer, Spotify…
Robert directed the EU’s European Music Ofﬁce, US and The French Music Export Ofﬁce, North America. He represented the Brasil Music Exchange in North America; and created CAB (Chile Argentina Brazil Music Trade Mission Tour annually from 2016 through 2019.) He’s assisted trade missions from many countries to many other countries, working with CIMA, A2IM, ABMI, Sounds Australia and other organizations and export offices.
He’s given keynote speeches, moderated panels and spoken at conferences worldwide, including at Canadian Music Week, WAMI, SIM SP, BIME, Mama, SXSW, Midem, Womex, CMJ, NMS, Sync Summit, Digital Hollywood, Reeperbahn, Caribbean Music Summit, Medimex, FIM PRO, Circulart, Live at Heart, Waves, Popkomm, Tourism Summit and Reggae Month in Jamaica, and the World Cultural Economic Forum, among many others.
Robert’s a partner in LyricFind, .MUSIC, Mondo, SyncSummit, YouBloom and Heaven11 and other companies. He’s on the Board of Directors/Advisors of SIM SP, Songtradr and Make Music New York.
Mondo.NYC is a Global Business Summit and Music Festival. By day, Mondo.NYC, headquartered in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is an incubator for the music and tech industries and by night, it’s a platform for emerging artists from around the globe performing at New York’s premier independent venues.
Hope all is well, and everyone around you is healthy. Can you tell me what the status of the festival is at this time? Give us an insight into how things have been happening for the festival.
Mondo is happening Oct. 13 - 16th in the epicenter of the pandemic, but also the epicenter of the music business. (Sorry LA, London, Paris, Mumbai, Nashville....)
Whether it will be all virtual, or just partly virtual and safe physical depends, like everywhere, but particularly in NYC, on the people and government's response to C19. It has been very rough in NYC, with what you've all probably seen in the news, but also on a personal level, with many tragedies, both in terms of death and illness and over a million job losses nearby. It's a mix of anxiety and gratitude for most of the more fortunate people.
We have great relationships with the City government, but even they don't know what the future in 6 months will be.
In the meantime, Mondo has been partnering with different organizations on a series of free Zoom and YouTube panels, with a live remote concert performance highlighting some aspects of the panel. These are available archived, too and have averaged over 350 people, with as many as 800 and are scheduled for an hour, but have been often 90 minutes, including questions and answers.
On this Thursday, May 28th at 4 pm EDT/NYC time, Allie Silver (Free Radical Productions, Band Therapy) and I are curating an International Development monthly series called Being Present Everywhere from Home.
These will feature different aspects of the business with tips, inspiration, opportunities and information that we trust will be relevant and shared among the participants. The first one of this series, (every last Thursday of each month), will feature David Hazan, Head of Midem North America and Trisha Carter, Music Export Manager, CIMA and is focused on export, monetization through virtual conferences, panels and festivals, while staying safe at home.
There will also be a short live, remote, performance by Arnaud (Nano) Methivier, an incredible French artist and friend, who has created an ongoing cultural festival called Agora On Off, at Agora-off.com, that I welcome all to submit content for and does one on one socially distanced concerts in his local park, stay for his performance.
It's been very gratifying, so far, to see the response and interest build, and contribute in the period to many folks, while expanding the Mondo network, but it is, like everywhere, interesting, with all the unknowns.
What are some of the biggest challenges the festival is facing right now? Mostly, as above, not knowing if we'll be allowed to have "safe" physical concerts and showcases and/or the physical, in-person, conference. It's also been good, though, to learn the options, the greener virtual alternative, (not as in greenbacks, US term for $), but as in a cleaner environment, with less travel and traffic.
Are there any plans in place now in case something like this happens again?
Well, we're paving the way with this one, luckily it wasn't in March, like SXSW, or May, like Live At Heart, Newfoundland and CMW, ..., so we have some time to prepare and pivot.
What do you see changing in the music industry if anything with the impact of of the virus?
I hope a lot will change, that it doesn't go back to normal, but that it advances all the collaboration, new technology, greener aspects, (both financial and environmental) and that it leads to more sustainability for the creator community, as well as a better experience for all fans.
The live music business has now had the disruption that the recorded music business experienced, with peer to peer piracy and the creative and out of the box solutions to endemic problems, that were even difficult, if not impossible to see, like second hand ticketing, hierarchial systemic challenges and fan and artist safety...will eventually be resolved with new ideas coming from this crisis and pause.
Some of the "fat" may be trimmed, too, which will hurt many in the Industry, but could ultimately be better for all. Out of destruction, comes creation. The only thing we can count on is change, so managing change is the skill that everyone is building now.
As music trends roll, do you have any predictions on what's coming next? From your point of view, where is the live music industry headed?
The live music industry needs to shift to creating various new modes of digital enhancements, like showing live and virtual subtitles for lyrics, in original language and translations, for accessibility, but also to aid the communication and relevance for the audience, especially for emerging artists.
They also need to pay more attention to the safety of the fans and artists, so no more Bataclan and Las Vegas horrors ever happen or that viruses aren't rampant and people sickened and eventually killed through close quarters, like at Mardi Gras this March in New Orleans.
Any open thoughts?
I'm very happy to be able to be doing a virtual panel with close friends and associates where all the world can jump in and listen and participate, especially as we are missing, in the same exact days, (in a parallel no-C19 universe) the Live At Heart Newfoundland conference/festival, produced by you, Evan Murray, and by my friends at Vision 360, which was scheduled for these same days. I hope a lot of our Newfoundland crew and artists can participate in this panel, as well as many of the Canadian Music Week participants, which would have also been this week.
People used to say I'm everywhere, as I do travel for more music conferences and LyricFind business than most anyone I know, but now, I can "Be Present Everywhere From Home", as you can all be, too! Ubiquity rules! For networking, making new friends, keeping the old, and moving all forward. Stay positive and stay healthy and keep finding opportunity in crisis! Please!
Thanks for the opportunity to share Mondo, our panel next week and my thoughts Evan. For the artists, or people working with artists, and all the music community reading this please don't hesitate to participate, share this and apply for Mondo virtual performances, yourselves.
EVAN MURRAY is Event Co-ordinator at Live at Heart, Newfoundland, Export Development Officer at Vision 360 (Canada) and Canadian Coordinator at Live at Heart, Sweden. He is also International Music Consultant at Wonderwall Media, India.