Jonathan Shakhovskoy: Digital R&D in the Arts Annual Forum

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Jonathan Shakhovskoy, the co-founder of the Script, a music and content agency, share their learnings from being one of the first projects funded through the Digital R&D Fund. …

Jonathan Shakhovskoy, the co-founder of the Script, a music and content agency, share their learnings from being one of the first projects funded through the Digital R&D Fund.

This presentation was delivered at the Digital R&D in the Arts Annual Forum at Vinopolis on 3 July 2014. For more information, visit:

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  • 1. The Album-App Project
  • 2. Project Overview Key Question: Are mobile apps a viable format for music distribution? Key areas of investigation: 1. Consumer desire 2. Cost of production 3. Royalty models 4. Chart eligibility 5. Distribution issues 6. Creative opportunities
  • 3. Why This Project? Addressing falling revenues is a major music industry challenge Multiple stakeholders and multiple obstacles It’s a Commercial and a Creative question Business models, consumer desire, artistic fit, break even point Royalty Agreements and Distribution Are Factors Royalty models and points of sale are cited as a major obstacles Music Artist - App Developer collaboration is newStreamline development processes and explore creative opportunities Implications for wider arts sector Reducing cost of production could open this format to the wider arts sector
  • 4. Why Hasn’t This Been Done Before? 1. Music format innovation was Apple’s job 2. Music industry the first to be hit by digital piracy problems so are risk averse 3. Multiple stakeholders often at odds with each other Artists Music Publishers Record Labels Digital Music Distributors Royalty Collection Societies It’s complicated, and without a guaranteed positive outcome Stakeholders
  • 5. Wider Arts Sector Benefit 1. A rich and compelling experience for many art forms, but are expensive to build with quality. 2. A reduction in production costs could pave the way for use by musicians, fine artists, photographers etc 3. Less prone to piracy than mobile websites so could offer a more “privileged” digital experience of an artist’s work. 4. The format could provide a unique consumer experience driving higher revenues and disrupting existing business models.
  • 6. Key Challenges 1. Stakeholders with no commercial imperative to innovate 2. Music rights holders beholden to digital distributors for format innovation 3. Significant amount of music law knowledge required 4. Difference of opinion amongst stakeholders on interpretation of some points of royalty agreements 5. Music artists generally know nothing about app development
  • 7. Learnings To Date 1. Consumers desire is definitely there. 2. Music publishers are making full adoption difficult. 3. A music artist with two apps on his phone can produce some brilliant app concepts. 4. We made the world’s first chart eligible album-app, so chart eligibility is possible. 5. Cost of production can be reduced, though cross-platform costs remain a stumbling block. 6. Full adoption will require a concerted effort especially from technology stakeholders.
  • 8. Please discover Francois & The Atlas Mountains “Piano Ombre” LP / CD / MP3 & innovative Album-app for iOS Available on the Apple App-Store