Last Wednesday’s FlashFWD Awards proved once again why music tech culture – its creations and its community – is on the rise.
Since its inception in 2010, FlashFWD has evolved each year with the steady growth of music tech – a movement that has always forced change within the music industry and continues to shape its future. Just walking downstairs you could feel the energy and excitement from attendees before the ceremony as they explored our interactive hall featuring a 3D printing doodle bar, an exhibition by Foldable.me and music videos programmed by emerging radio service ZUUS Media.
The ceremony gathered the best and brightest in this movement to celebrate six incredible honorees and all of the FlashFWD nominees, who have each proven to challenge and evolve the ways we cultivate and consume music.
The night opened with a performance from emerging artist, Robert Delong, a self proclaimed “tech guy” whose performance of hit single “Global Concepts” had him hopping between a drum set and a Wiimote controller.
The GRAMMYS social guru, Lindsay Gabler, presented Best in Discovery to the Songza team who said, “We’re really honored to be honored for being a great discovery app. What we aim to do is help you discover what’s perfect for you right now.”
FlashFWD partner Trident presented Best in Mobile and Tablet to Instagram. With over 100 million monthly users, 40 million photos uploaded per day and 8,500 likes per second, Instagram is a tool that artists of all levels have embraced to better connect with their fans.
Comedy duo and FlashFWD hosts, ItsTheReal, then took to the stage with the help of violinist Charles Yang for a memoriam that had us all laughing as we remembered those tech companies we “lost” this year – including Spinner, the OLD Myspace, etc.
Best in Live went to V Squared Labs, the experiential visual art production studio behind the legendary Amon Tobin ISAM tour, the Skrillex Mothership tour, and Infected Mushroom. Eventbrite and Robert Delong welcomed CEO and Creative Director Vello Virkhaus to the stage, “I’ve been doing performance visuals since 1993 so it’s been great to grow with the electronic dance music community and work with amazing artists.”
GIG-IT, a new 3D concert gaming experience for Facebook, then took to the stage to introduce our brand new category Best in Gaming and our 2013 honoree, SoundPlay by Pitchfork & Intel. Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork Media was unable to attend but accepted via video, “When we set out to make SoundPlay we thought it would be not just appropriate, but exciting, to pair up an independent gaming community with the independent music community that we’ve covered for such a long time.”
An incredible performance by NYC’s own emcee Joey Bada$$ led into a FlashBKWD from the 2012 Best in Artist Support honoree, BandPage, who passed the torch to Nate Auerbach of Tumblr – “As a platform that is most well known for being imaged-based, it’s great to be recognized in the music space for what we’ve been doing with artists.”
We’d then come to the pinnacle of the evening, the presentation of the SoundWAV Award to our 2013 honoree Questlove. Last year, Steve Stoute (CEO at Translation) presented this award to Scooter Braun… this year, we were honored to have with us legendary producer Swizz Beatz who in addition to working with the likes of Jay-Z, DMX, Beyonce, Kanye West, and Bono, is also a recent executive board member with electronics company Monster, and has lent his creative contributions to the likes of global brands such as Reebok and Lotus Cars.
Swizz spoke to us about the importance of investing in and nurturing the growth of new technologies that will help push the music industry forward. He then welcome Questlove to stage, handing over the crystal award to the drummer/producer/educator who looked down at it saying “Who knew that talking about Peanut Butter Cap’n Cruch for five hours on Twitter would help me get here…” We also caught up with him backstage where he told Fuse, “It’s nice to be recognized… now that it’s manifested in my hand right now, I have to say that this is a nice honor and I appreciate it.”
SoundCtrl Co-Founder Jesse Kirshbaum closed out the evening remembering the past and thinking towards the future…
“We started SoundCtrl 5 years ago when there was no music tech scene in NYC. Now music companies like Spotify can launch in the US with multi billion dollar valuations and DIY artist like Macklemore have back to back singles on the top of the pop charts…
For the past 10 years the music industry has been at the forefront of a digital revolution and now we are starting to see that next evolution of the business.”
Then, brand new Broadway show iLuminate hit the stage with a performance that brought everyone in the house to their feet. Such a spectacular example of the convergence of music and technology was truly the perfect way to end the evening.
We’d like to thank all our partners who include Internet Week NY, Trident, Pepsi Digital Labs, ZUUS Media, GIG-IT, ooVoo, Eventbrite, Citi Private Pass, Stache Media, and Newcastle. Your continuing support and enthusiasm is what is fueling this movement.
For more coverage on SoundCtrl’s FlashFWD, check out FUSE, VIBE, Billboard.biz and Billboard’s Backbeat