While I have occasionally been called a boozer, a schmoozer I am not. So I admit that when I attended Collision 2106, the massive technology networking conference hosted in New Orleans between the two weekends of Jazz Fest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
Collision 2016 brought more than 11,000 entrepreneurs, investors, and media members to our already Jazz Fest crowded city. With so many talented people and so little time, I found it kind of overwhelming, and I am not in the least bit surprised that, according to Collision figures, more than 52,000 cups of coffee were drank during the event.
But like any other event, after your third cup of coffee the thing to do is find your niche, so I gravitated towards the Music Stage, where the conversation was kicked off by WWOZ’s new COO Arthur Cohen and Scott Aiges, long time director of programs for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, whose opening remarks set the stage for various explorations on how technology is changing the face of the music world, as well as the worlds of the various industries that depend on it.
After discussing the essential place of music in the structure of New Orleans, and the importance of making sure that that music is heard all over the world, Cohen and Aiges were followed by speakers Heather Gallagher and Bear Kitty, representatives of that most imaginative of all creative festival communities, Burning Man. Gallagher and Kitty focused their talk on the amazing power of intrinsically community-based creativity, and the importance of creating space in our communities for that creativity to thrive.
As the day went on, other issues discussed by various speakers included modern day music rights, the future of music media, building communities around live events, creative collaborations, and business models for funding music, and how to build an audience in this digital age.
It also saw a demonstration by Remidi CEO and DJ Andrea Baldereschi of the T8, a “wearable musical instrument” in the form of a smooth black glove which allows the wearer to create electronic music by simply tapping, not just a physical surface, but the very air itself. Eight sensors in the glove and a motor sensor bracelet detects the wearer’s hand movements, allowing them, via controls in the bracelet, to scroll through music samples and notes and set specific sounds that play when the hand moves in a certain way.
While a similar product was released by musician Imogen Heap in 2015, according to Remidi’s Chief Technology Officer, the TO is by far a more affordable option for most people. It also allows people with no formal musical training to produce high quality music almost immediately, he went on.
“Anyone can tap a rhythm,” said De May.
Collision also witnessed the merging of technology, bounce music, and twerking as New Orleans’ Queen of Bounce Big Freedia unveiled her new App at the conference.
“No one knows what the future of bounce is,” said Big Freedia. “But by using the new technology that is available, the number of social media platforms that you can reach is immense, and I want bounce, and the culture of New Orleans, to reach as many new audiences as they can.“