5 Minutes With Jesse Kirshbaum

Photo: Jesse, right, with panelists at his SoundCtrl panel in 2012. Advisor Jesse Kirshbaum is the CEO of Agency & Co-Founder of SoundCtrl. One of SMW’s earliest supporters, and a man on the frontline of both the music business and social media, we are thrilled he continues to provide us with his thoughtleadership:

1. What is your or your organization’s greatest success with social media to date?

Last year, SoundCtrl presented a satellite event called the Music Hub which featured 7 different panels and discussions, with 25 speakers in music and new media. The online conversations generated by this event were some of the most dynamic and engaging we’ve seen for any event in SoundCtrl history, with over 3K online global viewers watching the live stream and event tweets from Nick Jonas who at the time was the 3rd most influential online voice behind only the Dali Lama, Justin Bieber and his brother.

2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?
Its very interesting how artists are beginning to have direct control not just over their music, but in the ways in which they are able to engage with fans across multiple platforms and even gain control to valuable fan-made content – I think we’ll see the rise in more crowd sourced music and videos as it becomes easier to aggregate relevant and valuable media through platforms like instagram, ptch, and vine)

3. What speaker or event are you most looking forward to at SMW NYC?
Very excited that DMW Music and Social Media Week have decided to unite and join forces when it comes to music content for the week. As a music tech enthusiast and board member for both conferences, it was only natural to me that these unique teams should know each other and cross pollinate. SoundCtrl was able to bridge the gap and provide SMW with special registration and access to the great lineup of music and technology industry speakers lined up at DMW this year. Check out the full list here: www.dmw-music.com. Of course, we’re also very excited to be presenting SMW’s second installment of “I Know the DJ” with Elektro Magazine and Nokia, taking place on Friday, Feb 22nd at the SoHo House.

4. What prompted you to join Social Media Week’s Advisory Board?
Funny story, many moons ago, Toby Daniels and I were meeting about a charity event he was heading up in NYC called Twestival with Charity Water. That same week was the first ever Shorty Awards. It was an era in NYC. And he turned to me and said and I’m going to call it Social Media Week. I was shocked. It was three weeks out and Social Media was not a huge trend at the time, especially in New York. I looked at him with fright and excitement and said… I’m in! I’ve been on board ever since and over the years it’s been a wild ride that continues to grow and evolve!

What’s interesting about SMW is that it covers a wide range of medias, industries and professionals. The growth and influence of social media on all industries has been radical over the past 10 years. It’s not often that all these very dissimilar professions (health, culture, education, advertising, politics, science, and environment to name a few) get to come together under one umbrella and discuss the rapid evolution we all face… it usually illuminates some connections that we might never have noticed, might lead to new solutions to difficult problems, and even anticipate challenges within our own fields.

5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
The 55th Grammy Awards are just around the corner and I’m still reeling from last year’s insider look on the social media analytics that Beverly Jackson (Senior Director os Social Media and Marketing, GRAMMYS) gave us at SMW ’12. Last year, the Grammys became the most social event of all time – overtaking all other award shows and even the Superbowl. Their social team – including one of Billboard’s top 140 tweeters, Lindsey Gabler – are a dream team and I’m excited to see how they manage the biggest conversation in music this year.

A Student’s Perspective: Reflecting on the 54th GRAMMY Awards

Nikhita Venugopa is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. She is providing her report from Reflecting on the 54th GRAMMY Awards.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards, held on Feb. 12, 2012, was massively successful on a broadcast platform and in social media, drawing over 3.9 million mentions of their twitter handles. On Wednesday, Day 3 of Social Media Week in New York, Beverly Jackson, a member of the Grammy team talked about the Social, Digital and Mobile initiatives that went into the award show, a record-breaking feat that overtook this year’s Super Bowl numbers.

“We wanted people to be engaged and connected,” said Jackson, speaking at the Hearst Magazine Arts and Culture Hub.

This year’s Grammy Awards didn’t just have a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook, but they were also on Instagram, Tumblr, YouTube and Spotify to name a few. In some songs of the show, you could even use “Shazam,” an app that can listen to a song that’s playing and find it for you, said Jackson. “We wanted to be on every platform that was talking about music,” she said.

Jackson reflected on the previous year’s socialization of the Grammys and their change in strategy since 2009. For the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, the team just “pushed out tweets” without responding to social media comments, said Jackson. This year, they adopted an “interactive and organic” plan, replying to users and encouraging people to use the Grammy hash-tag.

As a result, the Grammy Awards are the number one social TV event, as reported by Mashable, with 13 million social media comments. The buzz peaked at over 65,000 tweets per second during the airing of the live broadcast.

In her presentation, Jackson maintained that they wanted to recognize importance of social media to the music industry. She talked about a new program for bloggers who were experts in a particular genre of music and would respond to tweets and social media comments. So an expert on Americana music could respond to a tweet about the importance of Glenn Campbell’s performance at the Grammys, she explained. Another event organized by Jackson and her team for the Grammy Awards was the 3rd annual Social Media Rock Star Summit that celebrates the influence of social media on the music world and vice-versa. This year’s summit featured the CEOs of Topspin Media, GetGlue, Shazam, and Turntable.fm.

The death of six-time Grammy award winner Whitney Houston was a widely discussed subject on several social media platforms. Jackson said during Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to the singer at the Grammy Awards, the Twitter traffic almost stopped.

“People were putting their keyboards down and sitting back instead of sitting forward,” said Jackson. She believes it was social media’s way of paying respect to Houston.

Jackson ended her talk by commenting on how viewers were not only tuned into the show, but they were also interacting. “It was important to us that people were engaged,” she said.


Nikhita Venugopal grew up in Bangalore, India. She moved to New York in July 2011 to attend Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she is currently pursuing a master’s degree. Nikhita studied Media and Communications, Psychology and Literature in India and has interned at Ogilvy as a copywriter and Macmillan Publishers as an editor. You can follow her on Twitter at @niks_90.