Digitize Your Reality: A Conversation with Randy Sosin – Part 1
“One of the biggest problems that we have in the world today is that we’ve devalued music to, it’s basically free. And, you know, I keep seeing these articles like, well, ‘what if Spotify charged you $14.99 a month?’ That isn’t going to fix the problem. Getting another billion dollars in the system so that Universal or Sony can get another $800 million into their coffer… it’s not going to the artists.” – Randy Sosin
This episode’s guest is a groundbreaking filmmaker who has been at the helm of some of the most important music videos, concert films, and livestream events, driving the sales of millions of albums, downloads, streams, and concert tickets. From Eminem to Pink Floyd, from Sarah Silverman to the Electric Daisy Carnival, he has been at the forefront of music visual storytelling for over twenty-five years. He’s currently focused on Music and Entertainment blockchain projects: he’s a blockchain Shaman and can help anyone understand and embrace the new Web 3.0 reality.
His name is Randy Sosin, and this discussion will definitely be looking to the future. What’s new under the sun for musicians, and for all of us who appreciate good art when it comes to sound? What does Randy recommend and what does the future look like to him? Listen in to find out.
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A Changing Industry
As our conversation starts, Randy tells us about his early memories of sound. “I remember the first time hearing the Beatles,” he says, “and that was something that really changed my life. You know, like, just the sound that came out of the radio, the harmony, and the whole thing.” We go on to talk about the music industry and the changes the digital age has brought about, and how those changes sometimes don’t get as much attention as they should. “Oh, you’ll see articles like vinyl outsold CDs,” Randy tells us. “and that may be true. Vinyl may have outsold CDs in 2022, but if you go back to 1985, there were hundreds of millions of units sold. Now you’re talking about a million units sold.”
The Music of MySpace
Randy tells us about social media’s current role in brand promotion, and how blockchain technology can help cut out the middleman between bands and their audience. “All that data and all that information goes to the other platforms,” he explains. “You can use it and you hope your algorithm works, but coming soon will be the direct-to-consumer where they’ll be able to connect to you directly in your world.” We also talk about how MTV once held, and then lost, the cultural influence that social media now holds, and how today’s platforms haven’t focused on music the way MySpace once did. “And it was, people loved it, you know?” he says. “But then it’s gone away. I’m shocked that there is, I guess TikTok is what people say to me, but it’s not necessarily about music.”
Moving Beyond Royalties
We discuss the challenges of making money as a musician in the digital era, and how utilizing the blockchain can ensure that the artists are being rewarded for their effort. “If they know that they can get money quicker and more efficiently,” he says, “and it’s coming directly to them, I think there’s going to be a sense of like ‘I don’t need to make a hundred million in order to make twenty million. I can make twenty million and I actually made twenty million.’” The topic turns to the traditional record industry and to royalty payments, a concept that, in his view, became obsolete a long time ago. “When you buy a record,” Randy tells us, “when I bought an album or if you bought a CD, you don’t pay a royalty every time you listen to it in your house, you know? But in theory, you should.”
As the first half of our discussion “Digitize Your Reality” comes to a close, we talk about augmented reality, VR, and the audio transformation that virtual performances can bring. As Randy puts it, “why do we have to have a stage in one place with two points of sound? You know, it’s 2023, like, you can have twenty, thirty points of sound very easily. Everything’s digital.” We also talk about AI and machine learning, and how they’re going to change everything from listener playlists to composing the songs to concert performances. “Even with music,” he says, “it’s going to figure stuff out. It might not be perfect at first, but it’s going to figure things out and it learns, it’s machine learning. So I encourage artists to embrace it.”
- Randy’s first memories of sound and how the Beatles changed his life
- How social media apps like TikTok became the new MTV
- Using blockchain technology to connect musicians and fans
- How the future of buying albums might become very different
- The role of virtual and augmented reality in the music industry
Tune in next week as we talk about the missed industry opportunity that Napster represented, how he’s working to reinvent the music video as we know it, and how the combination of digital venues and audience participation could completely transform the way concerts are performed.
Connect with the Guest
Connect with Randy Sosin on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/randysosin
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This interview episode was very skillfully made to sound beautiful by the talented Humberto Franco.