At the Upstream Summit, emerging artists, industry experts and creative collaborators from the Northwest and beyond will gather at WaMu Theater in Seattle on May 11th and 12th. We will dig into the most pressing opportunities and challenges currently facing the music industry and work to build a community that supports and uplifts artists at every level of their career. The Upstream Summit is a premier event if you are an emerging artist or a company wanting to find ways to collaborate with the music industry, especially here in the region.
The Summit is built around four themes: Streaming and Beyond, Data and Analytics, Globalization, and Industry Collision.
Summit pass options include 2-Day Summit, or you can enjoy the Summit and then head straight to the music with the 2-Day Summit + 3-Day Fest. For the best access and a weekend of unique Fest and Summit experiences VIP passes are available in a limited quantity. Group packages are also available. Buy Summit passes now!
Thursday, May 11
Streaming and Beyond
Quincy Jones, Keynote Speaker
Making Hits For Every Decade: How The Music Industry is Adapting to The Streaming Model and Beyond
Perhaps no other artist has worn as many hats through as many generations as Quincy Jones. He’s been a hit maker for six decades, on every single distribution platform from vinyl to streaming, and his ability to adapt to the music industry’s and the music consumer’s expectations has resulted in a musical output of legendary proportions. As the 17th person to complete an EGOT, his work has spanned the entire entertainment industry. However, his early adoption and understanding of the streaming model is what maintains his critical role in the industry. At the Summit, Quincy Jones will discuss how to keep your finger on the pulse of the music industry to create music that people want to hear, and to distribute music the way people want to listen.
Ross Reynolds, KUOW
Taryn Rene Dorsey
How to Win in the Streaming Economy
How do legacy artists adjust their distribution to the new music economy and emerging artists take advantage of the multitude of streaming services available? KUOWs's Ross Reynolds will discuss with activist and artist Taryn Rene Dorsey and artist Aaron Starkey how artists, veteran and new, can break through and stand out despite the wealth of distribution as a result of the emergence of streaming tools.
Maggie Vail, Cash Music
Tim Bierman, Ten Club
Gabriel Teodros, Artist
Building Healthy Communities : On and Offline
Being an artist means you are walking the line between existing within a community, building your identity as an artist, and remaining authentic to who you truly are. With the advent of social media, expectations and precedents have been set for how artists can interact with their communities, both in the industry and in their fan base. It has also become an incredible opportunity for artists to give back. Maggie Vail, Tim Bierman and Gabriel Teodros will talk best practices and pitfalls when embarking on creating a supportive community within your own team, with your fans, and with the greater music scene.
A Brave New World: What is XR and What Does it have to do with Music?
Now that Vimeo, YouTube, and Facebook have released 360º players, the proliferation of 360º music is not far behind. What does this new era of world-building in sound mean for musicians and the industry? Sandi Cioffi, of fearless360º, will put on a rapid-fire session on how Virtual Reality, binaural recording, spatial sound, 360º live streaming and more will transform how we play, record, distribute and experience music.
Councilmember Lisa Herbold
Arts + Advocacy: Powering a Sustainable Arts Community
The arts community is powered by supporters and advocates who help ensure its vitality and ability to support future generations of artists. Politics plays a major role in creating an environment where the arts can thrive, but staying attuned to important issues and knowing how to add your voice can be challenging. In this session, attendees will learn how to participate in movement building, and learn how easy it is to deepen your political awareness and engagement in the arts community, on a local and national level.
Madrona Venture Group
Co-Founder Digital Tip Jar
Upstream Startup Showcase
Bands aren’t the only ones in the music industry to start out in a garage. Some of the biggest players in music today, from Amazon to Spotify, began as scrappy startups. The Upstream Startup Showcase highlights a select group of startups that will continue to disrupt the music industry in increasingly significant ways in the coming years. From remix culture and harnessing the power of social video to creating immersive experiences and new revenue streams at live events, this year’s startups are finding new ways for artists, venues and labels to create larger fan followings and promote their music. Venture capital veterans from Vulcan Capital and Madrona Venture Partners will moderate this unique panel, bringing insights into how these startups are utilizing technology and new business models to shape the future of the music industry.
Director of Amazon Music Product Management
and Engineering Program
Amazon Music’s Innovation on Voice: Alexa, play the song that goes…
Kintan Brahmbhatt, Director of the Amazon Music Product Management and Engineering Program, will explain how his team created a natural music listening experience. Amazon Music Unlimited’s magical voice controls allow users to play music based on genre, mood, era or song lyric, just by asking Alexa, which removes the friction of manually searching for your new favorite song through an app or web player. Kintan will explain the advanced machine learning of Alexa, how his team created intuitive new voice controls that turn your Echo device into a personalized jukebox, and how the Amazon Music experience continues to become more conversational and personalized every day.
Jen Czeisler, Rogue Octopus
Chris Lakey, Kobalt
Eric Elbogen, Say Hi
Exploring the Changing Landscape in Synch Licensing
Sync licensing allows artists to show up in everything from YouTube to video games to commercials…anywhere a song syncs with visual media. In this break out session we will discuss the various opportunities for licensing your music and the benefits and challenges that go along with these choices. Should you license your existing songs or write music for the express purpose of licensing? Who can help you? How do you find opportunities to write specifically for synch? What are the opportunities for “micro licensing” and should you pursue them? Our panel will include licensing experts from many different areas of the licensing realm.
Data and Analytics
Portia Sabin, Keynote Speaker
Another "Like" On The Wall: Using Data Successfully in the Internet Age
How many "likes" did you get today, and does it even matter? Dr. Portia Sabin, Kill Rock Stars president and host of the podcast "The Future of What" leads an Upstream Summit keynote panel talking with Tunji Balogun, VP of A&R at RCA Records and Amaechi Uzoigwe, manager for hip-hop supergroup Run the Jewels, both who have effectively mined the vast quantities of data and analytics available to discover and promote their artists. Artists, managers and labels have all begun using data to amplify albums, sell out shows, and launch careers; and at the Summit, Portia, Tunji and Amaechi will give perspective on the types of data available and how best to harness it to reach your audience.
Tunji Balogun, RCA Records
Shav Garg, Indify
Matthew Pavia, Indify
Connor Lawrence, Indify
The New A&R: How A&R Uses Data to Predict Who's Next
In the digital age, the A in A&R is better represented by the word "algorithm" than "artist". The prescient A&R scout turning the world of listeners on to the next wave of music appears to be a thing of the past now that consumers can define their own music discovery using streaming services and artists are "suggested" by data rather than DJs. Sony's Tunji Balogun and the founders of Indify, the discovery platform that uses social monitoring and data mining to predict emerging musicians, will discuss how A&R has embraced music discovery in the digital age.
Four Color Zack
The Journey is Everything
Join Brian Rauschenbach, co-Founder of Seattle Interactive and Four Color Zack, the 2012 Red Bull Thre3style World DJ Champ, explain their experiences paying their dues on the road to success in the creative industry. They will share hard-earned insights on why setting goals, building a brand, building a local foundation, doing research, tracking and understanding data matter in the crossroads of music and business. Brian and Zach will offer a roadmap created from experience for navigating industry roadblocks and why taking shortcuts is the worst thing you can do.
Josh Baron, Songkick
Data-Driven Touring: Using Technology to Benefit the Live Experience
Some of the most successful artists have learned to own and foster fan relationships while on tour by harnessing tools in the digital landscape. What are the ways companies are leveraging data and what has it taught us about modern artists and their relationships with their fans? Josh Baron has witnessed the changing live music landscape and learned to harness innovative data to evolve ticketing and touring experiences for the next generation of live music fans. This session is brought to you by local tech incubator Galvanize.
Friday, May 12
Elliott Wilson, Journalist
How Local Artists Go Global and Global Artists Stay Local
Despite reaching global audiences as Macklemore, Ben Haggerty remains deeply tied to his hometown of Seattle. Macklemore will close out the Upstream Summit with an in depth conversation that explores how he and partner Ryan Lewis were able to bring their unique sound and brand to the world. Their trajectory coincided with a number of dramatic changes in technology which have fundamentally changed the music industry, including major shifts in how music is distributed and consumed. Macklemore will be interviewed onstage by Elliott Wilson, a NYC-based journalist, curator, author, and television producer. The two will discuss from Macklemore’s vantage point, the many opportunities and challenges facing artists in today's landscape.
Adam Farish, 8Stem
RAC, Remix Artist Collective
Leveraging Creativity in the Age of Collaboration - From Original to Remix to Grammy
The remix culture that emerged in the digital era, while reminiscent of the sampling culture of the past, has allowed for remix artists and producers to build careers in music. New tools have emerged, such as 8Stem - a revolutionary, interactive audio format that allows any listener to remix music like a professional DJ or sound engineer. Adam Farish, who co-founded 8Stem with Sub Pop's founder Bruce Pavitt and currently serves as 8Stem's CEO, sits down with touring remix artist RAC to discuss the remix culture landscape and how new remixing tools uplift both remix artists and original artists, who grow their audiences through properly credited source material.
City of Seattle Office
of Arts and Culture
City of Seattle Office
of Arts and Culture
Dr. Quinton Morris
Seattle Music Commission
The Community of Music: Cultivating Creative Spaces to Foster the Next Generation
Artists don't appear out of thin air, they need to be supported and nurtured, especially in a world where arts education is frequently on the chopping block. Teaching artists, professional artists who take the time to work with young artists pursuing careers in music, play a critical role in the lives of young people and communities.
Representatives from the City of Seattle's Office of Arts and Culture, Dr. Quinton Morris, professor of music at Seattle University, and recording artist Daniel Pak (Kore Ionz) will discuss how professional artists can become teaching artists, can participate in the creation of creative community spaces, and can help foster the next generation of arts and culture in their communities.
David Price, Votiv
Shea Chappel, Votiv
Bree McKenna, Tacocat
Faces in the Crowd: Understanding The Key Players Artists Work With
As an artist grows their business and brand, it becomes necessary to build a team to support their needs. From attorneys and accountants to labels, agents and publicists; at what point in your career do you start adding more faces? David Price and Shea Chappel of local artist management team Votiv and Bree McKenna of beloved Seattle artists Tacocat will talk about how, when and why they began to expand their supporting cast, and when you should start considering it as a priority.
604 Records and Light Organ Records
Josh Carr-Hilton, District EDM
True North: The Ins and Outs of the Canadian Music Industry
Sit down with industry veteran Jonathan Simkin of BC record labels 604 Records and Light Organ, and next gen-content disrupter Josh Carr-Hilton of Vancouver-based media company The District on the myths and realities of the Canadian music scene. Discover the truth about breaking in or breaking out of Canada and how Canadian artists and labels reach global audiences in innovative ways.
Susan Stone, Cecilia
Pete Pedersen, Sonos
Music IRL: The Future of Brands, Artists and Audiences Connecting In Real Life
How we consume music has changed dramatically, so much in fact, that it has disrupted traditional advertising and forced innovative companies to look to the future of how music and brands work together. Susan Stone and Pete Pedersen, industry disruptors from CECILIA and Sonos, will talk about how artists and brands can collaborate to change how the future sounds.
Ron Jones Productions Inc/SkyMuse Studios
Pearl Jam and HockeyTalkter
Become the Music: Figure Out What's Most Important To You (And Your Audience)
Two Northwest artists who have become synonymous with iconic sounds will sit for a breakout session on “becoming the music”. Legendary composer Ron Jones is known for iconic theme songs and scores for the likes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Family Guy and Duck Tales. He has mastered the craft of recording, and has since opened the incredible Sky Muse Studios where he teaches the art of creating music, media and production. Ron will be joined by another legend, Mike McCready the lead guitarist for and one of the founding members of Pearl Jam. After years playing in one of the most acclaimed bands in history, Mike has since founded HockeyTalkter Records, a vinyl record label specializing in limited edition 7 inch singles. Ron and Mike will sit down and tap into their collective decades of experience creating music and discuss what every artist needs to understand about making taking achieving your musical goals. Hear from two prolific artists from different ends of the musical spectrum on how you can tap into the music that's in you in order to create the music your audience wants to hear.
From The Smurfs to Star Trek: Composer Ron Jones On The Business of Music
What do Duck Tales, Family Guy and Star Trek: The Next Generation have in common? Their scores were all created by prolific television and film composer Ron Jones. After decades using his talent to write memorable music for some of our most iconic media (The Smurfs theme song anyone?) Ron now trains young professionals from his studio and has a storied perspective on how even the most successful artists will need to figure out how to hustle across industries.
Arif Gursel, VIBEHEAVY
LaSean Smith, Microsoft
Ali Shaheed Muhammad
People Over Playlist: The Lost Art of A&R in the Digital World
In order to curate music for their music discovery service, the A&R the team at VIBEHEAVY borrowed from classic recording industry models and powered them with human centered discovery algorithms, keeping the human side of A&R without ignoring the new data-driven tools available. VIBEHEAVY's Arif Gursel and Microsoft's LaSean Smith will be joined on stage by VIBEHEAVY's Chief Curator Ali Shaheed Muhammad of hip-hop game-changers A Tribe Called Quest to explore the music discovery service landscape and the growing need for entertainment brands and artists to adjust to the new digital landscape or face extinction.
Chanel Summers, Syndicate 17
Marty O'Donnell Music
LLC/Highwire Games, LLC
Composing For Video Games: You're Doing It Already!
Have you ever wondered who created the music in the background of that video game? It turns out that the music wasn't created by developers, it was composed by actual musicians. Writing music for video games can represent both a creative opportunity and a career path for skilled composers. Getting started in writing music for video games is less mysterious than artists might expect. Two video game industry experts, Chanel Summers of the original Xbox team and Marty O'Donnell the composer for Halo discuss the aesthetic, creative and technical challenges of composing for video games and share why these are concepts you already probably work on every day!
Hughes Media Law Group
Ayron Jones and the Way
Sunyata Records & Books/Screaming Trees
From Lawyers to Labels to Likes: Local Legends on How to Survive as a Musician
How the hell do you do it? How do you make music your career? Local entertainment lawyer Joleen Hughes sits down with emerging Seattle artist Ayron Jones and legendary Seattle drummer Barrett Martin of the Screaming Trees to get real about getting your ducks in a row, leveraging social media and streaming services, and going from local to global by developing relationships with labels, distributing your work, and going on tour. Protect your rights as a creator, share what you create with the world, and be able to eat more than Top Ramen (eventually).
Adra Boo, Musician
Whitney Mongé, Musician
Heather Wilder, Patreon
Crowdfund the Jams: Alternative Funding Options for Emerging Artists
Crowdfunding has becoming an increasingly popular approach to financing creative projects. This breakout session will give artists insights into successful crowdfunding campaigns: how to prepare, what work you need to plan for, and how to execute efficiently. We'll also look at multiple forms of funding and show you that there are many ways to bake this cake.
Microsoft Studios & KEXP
KEXP Street Sounds &
How To Place Your Music In Film, TV & Video Games
Understanding sync licensing can help you earn income by licensing your music, but there’s two sides to every deal. In this breakout session you’ll learn about your options for managing your rights and registering your work with Performing Rights Organizations (PRO’s) and walk through real life examples with artists and music supervisors who’ve been through it already.