A Student’s Perspective: Chris Kaskie Keynote with SoundCtrl’s Creating Music for the Social Web

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 Keynote: Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork Media followed by SoundCtrl’s Creating Music for the Social Web.

Day Three of Social Media Weekend began at the Hearst Arts and Culture Hub with the keynote speech by Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork Media, a Chicago-based webzine and guide devoted to music criticism and news. Kaskie commented on social media’s role in music today and what Pitchfork hopes to achieve through Twitter and Tumblr.

“When it comes to social media, I find myself spending more time trying to figure out how to use it than actually using it,” he said. Kaskie also highlighted the importance of maintaining Pitchfork’s role as a trusted source for music journalism, regardless of their platform of communication.

“The biggest challenge that Pitchfork faces today is the expanding world of music online,” said Kaskie. It’s increasingly common to see people discover music through peer-to-peer interaction and recommendation. “I’m really bummed that when I die, I have to leave my kids logins to my Cloud account and not record collections,” said Kaskie.

The Internet is filled with opinions and comments on music but Kaskie said he hopes that Pitchfork can provide context to “all the noise,” whether it’s on Spotify or Twitter or Facebook. “To me, it’s very social that we’re interacting with people’s social music experience,” said Kaskie.

After Kaskie’s talk, a panel discussion commenced on social media’s effect on the creative process of the music industry. The panel included Kaskie; Maura Johnston, music editor of the Village Voice; Josh Deutsch, co-founder of Downtown Records; rap-artist Asher Roth and moderated by Jesse Kirshbaum, co-founder of Sound Control. In speaking on the role of social media, Deutsch emphasized maintaining the image of a trusted brand, echoing Kaskie’s keynote speech. The panel discussed the differences between creating an album for a major label and a mixed tape for the web. Asher Roth said social media had rewarded music artists by letting them be free. “It’s a more enjoyable experience to create music for just your fan-base,” he said.

From a journalistic perspective, both Johnston and Kaskie agreed that the music’s format does not affect their critique and commentary. “People can make some of the best music in world in their bedroom. It’s a level playing field,” said Kaskie.

Johnston believed that music is visceral and it’s that feeling determines the strength, regardless of whether it’s online or on an album. “It’s the way it hits you,” she added.

However, in response to what they felt was missing from social media, Kaskie said it lacked an editorial, personalized voice. Johnston also commented on the myopic view that can come from the digital world, referring to Spotify, an online music streaming service. She said social media users often forget that there’s more to music than what you can find online.

All four panelists agreed that while social media was a valuable platform for communication, people should step away from it once in a while and explore a world outside Facebook and Twitter. “Go for a walk. Ride a bike,” said Roth. “It’s going to make you a more interesting person. A better tweeter.”

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. She is interested in writing on subjects like education, science, music, arts, social issues and the general eccentricities of the city. You can can follow her on Twitter at @niks_90.

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About a Hub: Art & Culture

This is the first of a part of a continuing series of posts spotlighting our 6 #SMW12 Content Hubs. We’ll be posting profiles of all the hubs throughout this week so keep checking back for more! 

The Art & Culture Hub is your go to location for all things music and tv and funny and style. We’re excited about the eclectic breadth of these events and look forward to seeing you there!

You can view all of the events from the art and culture hub by clicking HERE but check out a handful of our favs below!

On Monday check out The Mobile-Social Living Room a panel on how emerging media is reviving the live television experience from 9-11am. From there, be sure you don’t miss this, newly added to the schedule, keynote by Media Personality and Founder of Abrams Media, Dan Abrams from 12-2pm.  Then spice it up by heading over to a keynote by hip hop legend Jermaine Dupri on Building a Community (3-5pm) before digging into a panel on social sharing and the Art of Doodling from 4:30-5:30pm.

Tuesday morning– get up and at em with a panel on Digital Voyeruism from 9-11am before heading over to a keynote from Entrepreneur Kevin Slatin with a corresponding panel on E-Commerce (12-2pm).  Take a quick lunch break and then head over to The New Ghostwriter  from 3-5pm OR maybe decide that this panel on Social Syndication from 3:30-5:30 is more your style.  No judgement either way.

Okay.  On to Wednesday.  I know, all that and we’ve still got THREE MORE days of events for you. Kick the day off with a Keynote from Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork from 9-11am then make your way over to a panel on Street Style blogs from 12-2pm or maybe you’d prefer a discussion on the Grammys and digital from 1:30-2:30pm. I know, it’s a touch decision. I promise. You will survive it.  Once you’ve made that call the rest of the day is easy.  Head straight on over to a panel on how to be funny on twitter from 3-4pm  then take a quick breather before going to a panel on the state of curation.

Phew.

Thursday. I know, I can’t believe it either! Start your day with a keynote from Elisa Camhort with a corresponding panel on Companion TV from 9-11am. Then dive into a keynote from Jonah Peretti founder and CEO of BuzzFeed with a corresponding panel on Start Ups from 12-2pm.  What a morning.

Grab some lunch and recharge before heading over to a panel on Transmedia and Social Media from 3-5pm. After that there’s a panel called IN THE TWITTER KITCHEN: A MODERN COOKIE BAKE-OFF.  It’s happening from 4:30-6:30pm. I’m not going to tell you what it’s about.  You can click through to find out for yourself. But I will tell you that maybe you should go.

Friday? Friday! Already. This week will absolutely fly by but if you’ve waited until the last moment to get your fill of #smw12, no worries, we’ve got you.

Aruba, Jamaica Oo I want to take you to a 9-11am panel on social media and the travel industry in 2012.

Then maybe layover your way into a panel on how entrepreneurship is revolutionizing daily life through social media from 10:30-11:30.

If all this activity is making you hungry then you’re not going to want to miss a panel from 12-2pm that features Robyn O’Brien, Amanda Hesser & Bun Lai followed by a panel on food trends.

One panel left and sure enough we’re ending things off with a bang.  From 3-4pm don’t miss Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll: Social’s Steamy Side.

Yep. That’s it for this hub.

See you next week.

Keynote Spotlight: Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork

Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork

This post is a part of a continuing series of Keynote Spotlights– check back here throughout the week for more information on the phenomenal individuals who will be gracing #SMW12 events next week!

You can hear Chris speak, followed by SoundCtrl’s Creating Music for the Web Panel, on Wednesday, Feb 15th from 9-11am at the Art & Culture Hub!

Chris Kaskie is the President of Pitchfork, the essential guide to independent music and beyond. With more than 4 million unique visitors each month and 500,000 visits each day, Pitchfork has one of the Web’s most loyal audiences, and is considered one one of the world’s most popular, respected, and influential music publications. In addition to developing Pitchfork into an internationally renowned online music magazine, Chris runs the company day-to-day and is an architect of Pitchfork’s growth and expansion into other arenas, such as the Pitchfork Music Festivals and Pitchfork.tv. He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy and two children.