talks & debates
talks & debates

Meltdown and CMU present: Where Next for Music?

Part of Grace Jones' Meltdown

Join us at Meltdown for a free afternoon of talks working with CMU, exploring the process and business of making music in the digital age.

The Power of Sound: 1pm – 2pm
Music can instigate a wide range of emotions, but what is it about the science of sound that makes that possible? What draws us to certain combinations of sounds, to certain harmonies? How much is innate and how much is cultural? And how can music affect human behaviour? We consider the power of sound from a creative, commercial and political perspective. How can music be used to communicate, to affect how someone consumes, or even as a tool of torture? Here we explore the power of sound. Speakers include:

- Dr Dawn Rose, University Of Hertfordshire: Dawn is a researcher in the psychology of music and dance. Her background as a professional musician, music teacher and performing artist has informed her research work. Within music psychology, her interests focus on rhythm, entrainment and synchronisation between motor functions and external stimuli, while her doctoral work investigated the effects of music education on cognitive, behavioural and socio-emotional domains in children.

- Rob Wood, Music Concierge: Rob is Founder and Creative Director of Music Concierge – a ground-breaking and award-winning music consultancy service. It designs, supplies and manages high-quality bespoke playlists for boutique hotels, luxury brands, leading F&B concepts, and high-end retailers, giving each its own unique audio identity or ‘musical DNA’. Having also enjoyed a long career as a journalist and DJ, Rob is an expert on music and its role with brand positioning, atmosphere and customer experience, and he is regularly asked to write and talk about how brands can use music effectively.

The Political Artist in the Social Media Age: 2.30pm – 3.30pm
In a period of increasingly polarised politics, should artists seek to be more political? And if so, how? Through their songwriting, videos and alliances, or by simply speaking out? Can musicians really change public opinion? Can political activity impact on an artists' own brands, in a positive or negative way? And do the digital platforms that give artists a direct channel to their fans help or hinder? We consider the political influence of artists, the challenges of the echo chamber, and the power of the platform owners. Speakers include:

- Jessica Straker, Juice VCR / Grime 4 Corbyn: Jessica is founder of Juice VCR, an online music television platform that showcases the latest music videos from independent artists from around the globe. Her work focuses heavily on community and DIY culture. She is also Communications Manager for the Grime 4 Corbyn campaign.

- Ebenezer ‘Slix’ Ayerh, Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation: Ebenezer has worked as a musicians since the early 2000s and was a key pioneer in the Grime scene. More recently he co-founded the charity Ruff Sqwad Arts Foundation which aims to bring forth social change using the arts as a tool and a medium to engage disadvantaged young people.

- Tshepo Mokoena, Noisey: Tshepo is UK Editor of Vice's music site, Noisey. She previously edited at the weekends while everyone else slept in and also spent a couple of years on The Guardian's music desk, covering the intersections of pop culture, race and gender. Mostly, she likes to write about good hooks.

Music & the Machines: 4pm – 5pm
In the digital age, the music industry is increasingly relying on big data and AI technologies to dissect and classify songs and recordings, to power recommendation services on the streaming platforms and music identification systems like Shazam and YouTube's Content ID. But how do these technologies work? What do they tell us about music and the way we consume it? And can the machines use what they learn to become the music makers of the future? We analyse how the leading technologies work, and what they tell us about music and music-making. Speakers include:

- Mick Grierson, Goldsmiths College: Mick is a researcher specialising in the development of new types of technologies for the creative industries. His research has been central to the development of new types of works by world leading musicians (Sigur Ros), artists (Christian Marclay), and TV shows (Derren Brown Mind Control). His research team have produced work that has been acquired by world leading institutions including The Whitney Museum of American Art, and been funded by companies like Google and Microsoft, while his software serves as the basis for a number of professional creative digital media platforms.

- Brittney Bean, Tracks2: Brittney is the co-founder of Tracks2, a playlist tracking and streaming data service, and the co-founder of Songdrop. Previously she was the director of Green House Group, a digital marketing and development agency. Brittney is also the co-founder of Mother Clucker, a multi-site street food operator, and has a Masters Degree in History of Art from St Andrews University.

- Ed Rex, Jukedeck: Ed is the founder and CEO of London-based artificial intelligence startup Jukedeck, where he and his team are building AI that can compose original music. Ed learnt to code in order to start Jukedeck, which now comprises a team of 20 musicians and engineers. He spent his childhood studying, performing and composing music, and graduated from Cambridge University with a double-starred First in Music in 2010. He is a published composer and wrote music for a number of choral groups and for theatre before starting Jukedeck.

Dates & times

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Royal Festival Hall
The Clore Ballroom, Level 2



need to know

Age recommendation
For ages 12+