I got to DROM around 6pm, just in time for Jared Evan’s soundcheck. I sat down on the fourth row of chairs next to Jared’s manager and SoundCtrl board member Matt Graham and watched while Jared (his band includes our resident DJ Get Live) ripped through a practice run of his set. After the sound check, we caught up and prepared ourselves for what would be the best SoundCtrl event yet.
We had over 600 RSVPs plus our own extensive guest list for a venue with a 300 capacity, so we didn’t know what to expect. When doors opened a little after 7, people came in packs and were greeted by a piano player playing Sinatra-ified versions of contemporary pop songs. I was happy that my buddy Jon came…he’s the one who that awesome guest post last week that got picked up by Huffington Post. Also, my friend Michael came up from Philly; I greeted him by saying, “have I ever told you that you’re one of my top 10 favorite vibraphonists”, to which he responded, “do you even know 10 vibraphonists?”
Around 8:30 everyone sat down for the fireside chat with Avner Ronen (CEO of Boxee) and Tom Silverman (Founder of New Music Seminar), and moderated by SoundCtrler Chris Phenner (also from Thumbplay). After intros from fearless leader Jesse Kay and our sponsors, the head to head went under way.
Avner walked on stage wearing jeans, a hoodie, and sporting a Boxee logo tee-shirt. His attire was completely juxtaposed to Tommy who was wearing a pin-striped record exec suit. Looking at them on stage, you can see the differences between the tech scene of today and the record industry (which is different than the music industry).
Avner held his own against Tommy, who is known for his raspy voice and knockout right hook. As I heard more about Boxee, it really hit me how suitable Avner was for this event. It’s no surprise that music is plagued by piracy…and in comes Boxee, which makes it easy to allow you to use the internet on your TV. Boxee welcomes users to use all the content that’s on their computer to broadcast on their TV screen. Some (if not of most) of which isn’t actually purchased content. So in essence, Boxee is aiding and abetting piracy and illegally acquired content (music and video included). However, that’s not to say their service isn’t valuable and makes life easier for people who don’t feel the need for cable or satellite television. Boxee is in a moral middle ground, but the same is the case with iTunes who allows users to upload content regardless if it was purchased.
The performances themselves were amazing. Jared’s NYC live premier was everything I had hoped and I definitely see some potential with his mix of rock, hip-hop, and R&B. And then Free Sol hit the stage and completely blew my mind…amazing stage presence, incredible flow, and a tight live band.
I gotta thank Watchitoo for streaming the chat, Ben & Jerry’s for supplying free ice cream (and thanks to Libby for hooking that up), Erica for taking pictures, and DROM for allowing us to have our event there. More importantly, even bigger thanks to our sponsors Pepsi (represented by Bonin and Josh), Eventbrite (represented by Tamara and Ben), and Dot Music (represented by Constantine).
SoundCtrl is one year deep and we’ve accomplished so much. I wonder what the rest of 2010 has in store for us…