Music Industry Blog – Bobby Owinski

by Bobby Owsinski

Record labels, especially large ones, are often seen as just exploiters of artists and their music. That may be so in many cases, but labels by and large can also be centers for incubation of new artists and ideas. The problem is that it’s so often behind the scenes so it’s not brought to the general music population’s attention. Capitol Records is trying to change that by opening its new Innovation Center.

Located at the iconic Capitol Tower landmark in Hollywood, the intention of the Capitol Innovation Center is to bring together leading thinkers from the music and technology industries for events and workshops. This will be presented not only to Capitol artists and potential artists but to the student community as well. The idea is to “foster innovative ideas, bridge the gap between content creators and the tech community,” and “foster the next generation of leaders in music.”

The Innovation Center has several speaker workshops on tap, as well as the first CIC Hackathon set for June 2nd and 3rd. The Hackathon is intended to bring together software developers, producers, songwriters, and influencers in a challenge to incubate new music-related products, services, and content. 

Hackathon’s are divided into two areas; develop teams and content teams. Winning developer teams are eligible for an eight-month license to draw from UMG’s catalog, while winning content teams will have their finished pieces heard by the Capitol A&R team. 

You have to hand it to Universal Music (which owns Capitol) as CIC is the third similar initiative to help music content and technology development. Universal launched its Accelerator Engagement Network in October 2017 to partner with other similar accelerator programs throughout the world to assist in the evaluation, mentorship, and development of innovative music start-ups. Abbey Road Red was created in 2016 as an open innovation department designed to support the endeavors of the brightest music tech entrepreneurs, researchers, and developers. In 2018, the program is now expanding with in-house R&D activities within the music creation space.

If you ask me, any attempt to help young artists, producers and developers is a good thing. Good luck, CIC!