Our CEO named President of GMP

Shachar Oren, Founder and CEO of Neurotic Media, was elected President of Georgia Music Partners (GMP), the authority that promotes, grows and improves the music economy in the state of Georgia. GMP was the primary driver behind Georgia’s Music Investment Act (HB-155), which Governor Deal signed into law in May 2017. GMP is now focused on promoting Georgia’s Music Investment Act to the music industry nationally and locally in order to drive job growth in Georgia, and emphasize workforce readiness strategy in collaboration with academia. GMP is led by a Board of industry professionals who all volunteer pro bono to drive GMP’s mission forward.

The following post was made on the GMP site by exiting founding president Tammy Hurt on September 8th, 2017:

It has been a privilege and humbling experience to serve as president of Georgia Music Partners (GMP) these last 7 years. With a huge legislative win and Governor Deal’s signing of HB 155 into Georgia’s Music Investment Act, the stage is set for Georgia to exponentially grow its music industry. While I have very much enjoyed being at the helm of the organization, it’s time for me to concentrate on building my business and focus on fulfilling my role as national Trustee of the Recording Academy Atlanta. It’s an exciting evolution for me and it is a very good time for GMP.

I am passing the proverbial baton to my colleague, Shachar “Shac” Oren, who has served as a GMP board member since 2014. I believe he is the best person within the organization to lead GMP’s business and workforce development efforts to grow Georgia’s music economy. At our last board meeting, Shac was unanimously voted in as president. If you don’t already know him, he is CEO & President of both Neurotic Media and Amplified. Shac will follow up in upcoming days with information about GMP’s roadmap for 2017-2018.
I’m not leaving, just making way for the organization to continue on the path we have created together. I will continue to provide support to my fellow colleagues and the organization going forward as a board member and sponsor.

It has truly been an honor to have been a small part of the big journey.

Tammy Hurt
Founding President, Georgia Music Partners




Why I Let My VP’s Mom Visit Our Office for Lunch Every Tuesday for the Last Ten Years

Todd and his Mom

I remember the first time it happened. We hired Todd as an intern in the hopes of growing new talent in the company. We were a true startup back then, working out of a tiny office space, with interns huddling around old desktops in our lobby. Our clients weren’t local, never have been, so I didn’t expect that knock on our door. It was Todd’s Mom. She came to take him for lunch on a Tuesday, and he got up and left like it was no big deal.

Todd is now a VP in our office, with a lumberjack beard and holes in his ear lobes. The first time his Mom showed up like that’s just what parents do, I had a feeling it was one of those younger people kind of things, maybe an intern thing. We’re both neither young nor old, but he’s in a different generation than mine. That Tuesday, I thought his Mom came as a one-off visit to congratulate him on his first internship. The next Tuesday she came again. Over a decade later, she’s never missed a Tuesday.

Let me be clear about her visits. Todd’s Mom does not just wait in the car for him downstairs to pick him up and take him to lunch. Every Tuesday, Todd’s Mom parks her car, rides the elevator up to our now Buckhead high-rise, comes in and circulates the entire office to hear about how everyone is doing. Then they go out to lunch.

When times were good she’d bring gifts to my employees who were graduating, getting married and having babies. During the recession, she brought encouragement, warmth and smiles. She was there when we celebrated our 10 year anniversary as a company and when Todd won ’employee of the decade.’ Sometimes she’d take the whole company to lunch. Sometimes she’d even bring Todd’s Dad.

When you work in technology for a decade or more, you experience true generational differences day-to-day in your staff. You see new hours and schedules, new desires for benefits and flexibility. I’ve enjoyed these changes. And yet, experiencing friends and family supporting our office has been one of the nicest things.

I let Todd’s Mom come to our office every Tuesday for lunch for the last ten years because she cares about our staff and she cares about our success. We look forward to seeing her. And Todd loves seeing her. Todd’s Mom has never been on our payroll, but she’s part of the fabric of our culture. This week, we decided to surprise her by taking her to lunch, to celebrate her for all these years of service to us.

Jane, thank you for being part of Neurotic Media for more than a decade. Wonderful to have you on our team!

(Shachar Oren, CEO)

Jane Jones

Holiday Gratitude from the Desk of Neurotic Media’s CEO



This Holiday season, I’ve spent a good bit of time reflecting on how proud and thankful I am of the entire Neurotic Media team. With their hard work and dedication, we have accomplished so much this year. 2015 was another year of growth for us and our customers. We successfully launched our mobile-first, device-agnostic hosted services, and we completed our move to the cloud with the move of our DBs into Azure, so we are now 100% cloud-based. As a thank you, my wife Melissa and I though it would be fun to treat everyone to a tour of our local SweetWater Brewery, followed by an authentic Italian dinner at Alfredo’s.

BreweryBundled in our warm coats and holiday sweaters, we were taken deep into the heart of the cool brewery to see the inner workings of the brewery machine. The beer tasting was great, but we saw a billion times more than beer. This operation was a total beast. Huge machines, massive pipes, the most passionate people working around the clock to deliver beer of the highest quality. They were constantly moving, doing, checking, expanding. Their lights were always on. Heaters, coolers, freezers, bubbling machines from floor to ceiling and gears. We were in awe of the scale of this operation, humbled too. As we passed by a stack of about a million cans waiting to be filled, our tour guide invited us to take a few as souvenirs. Apparently the empty cans make good pen holders for desks before they put the lids on. I reached out to give one to my wife, and she turned to me and said, “Wait, this is exactly like a music download.”

Suddenly the whole place looked different to me. This was so much more than a brewery tour. We had traveled deep into the heart of a machine much like our own. We were looking right at the guts of what we do every day.

When you lead a technology company, it is often hard to explain to people the complexity of what you really do. Our offering puts much of the complexity behind a curtain. We make our client’s lives simple. That’s the point. That’s what we’re selling. But the truth is, much like this brewery, we own and operate massive machines, we have to constantly keep our eyes on these gears and valves. We are full wall to ceiling of music downloads just like each and every can in the brewery. We are the passionate people who work twenty four hours a day to ensure quality. We are constantly moving, doing, checking and expanding. Our lights are always on.

On a local brewery tour, I was able to more deeply appreciate the value of my team, their hard work and dedication, their commitment to our success and all that they do. I am grateful to the entire Neurotic Media team, for our customers, for our partners, for our investors and for every friend and family member who has ever supported us in our journey. Thank you for keeping our future bright and wishing you a prosperous 2016.

— With Gratitude, Shachar Oren, CEO.


SweetWater Cans


NM at SweetWater 2


SweetWater sign


Company Holiday Dinner 2015

Hope Is Universal

Hope is UniversalI had the pleasure of attending last night’s City of Hope gala in Santa Monica. This yearly event celebrates the music industry’s involvement and contribution to a wonderful organization that is breaking ground in the fight against cancer every day.

As the event’ honoree, UMG’s Chairman and CEO Lucian Grainge, stated in his Spirit of Life award acceptance speech, the music industry normally “punches above its weight” when it comes to humanitarian and philanthropic endeavors such as this. And indeed, last night’s event – boasting about a hundred companies and about a thousand participants – raised over $6M for City of Hope.

HopeIt was a wonderfully produced gala, and I enjoyed catching up with several colleagues whom I have not seen for a few years. The speeches were thoughtful and moving, and the food and music fantastic.

The night closed with an amazing surprise live performance by Sam Smith (pictured below).

Neurotic Media is proud to have contributed to City of Hope this year.

As a result of our modest contribution, we are listed on the 3D installation created for the event, which will now reside permanently on the City of Hope main campus.

I can’t imagine anyone in this world that has not been touched by cancer, at least by seeing family members or friends struggle with it or die from it… If you are passionate about making a difference in the fight against cancer, please visit cityofhope.com to learn more about their work, and contribute if you can.

(Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media’s CEO)


Hope NMIMG_20151105_190931~2



Does “New Music Fridays” make sense?

Starting on July 10th 2015, all new music will be released worldwide on Fridays. This includes both physical and digital releases. New music is scheduled to go out at 00.01 a.m. local time on Fridays, according to newmusicfridays.com. This is a significant change from the scattered national release days of the past.

The big question is, why the change?

Kayla SchmandtFirst, having a uniform release day will build anticipation and hype among consumers. This will create regular buzz for the new content as well as help artists to streamline their promotional efforts, particularly through social media, and to reach their fans when they know they are preemptively looking out for their releases. And a lot of shopping naturally takes place on the weekend.
The second major benefit to a global release day is the hope to cut back on piracy. Prior to this switch, different countries were releasing new music on different days. This posed a problem given how easily connected international consumers are today. The U.S. for example released new content on Tuesdays. If an album is released a few days prior in another country, what’s to stop a U.S. consumer from finding that album instantly online rather than waiting for the U.S. release? Ideally, having a global release day will cut some of this “instant gratification” stimulus for piracy, and fans all over the world can be satiated at the same time.

Most stakeholders in the music business are on the same page in support of a consistent global release day, though some are skeptical of the decision to designate Friday as the regular day. This hesitation is largely from those distributing physical content. The greatest challenge here for physical distributors comes in the form of anticipating demand for new albums. Weekends will pose a challenge for restocking albums that sell better than anticipated when released on Friday. Physical distributors have concerns that these supply obstacles may end up costing them sales if would-be customers turn to digital options for immediate access to new music.

At the end of the day, only time will tell how this global release day will actually impact music sales. However, skeptics can take some comfort in the examples set by other countries that have had Friday music release days for years. Germany, for example, has successfully adhered to a Friday release day for the past ten years – and physical sales in Germany are booming. Consumer focus groups also yielded results to support the decision for the U.S. market – those who cared to voice an opinion expressed that they preferred to buy new music on Fridays or Saturdays.

In the ever-changing music industry, updates and advances are commonplace. Each modernization brings its own rewards and challenges. We can all eagerly anticipate the changes that this global release day will stimulate over the coming years, for both digital and physical music.

Kayla Schmandt, Director of Accounts at Neurotic Media, comes from a background in physical music and retail promotions. Her current work with digital accounts at Neurotic Media has given her insight to provide a diverse perspective on the upcoming implementation of a global music release day.

Holiday Music & Motion

Salsa Lesson 1

Thanks to our incredible clients and staff, we had another stellar year at Neurotic Media!

We decided to take one evening to celebrate our brand. We knew it would involve the obligatory, quality wine & dine, and wanted to add some activity to it to make it extra fun – but what? Well, we came across an exciting idea: What better way to celebrate the Holiday Season than with music and motion, which are in line with our own slogan, “Music That Moves”? So here’s what we did this past Friday:

We started the evening at the Academy Ballroom with Jen from Salsambo. After a brief round of Tequila shots (you know, just to loosen up the legs), we hit the dance floor for our Salsa 101 entry level class. And well, we thought it would be easy to learn just a couple of moves, but an hour into it, we had to all admit this dancing stuff is not simple! Doing a basic combo with two spins while not stepping on each other’s toes was not easy. Yet we practices and got it, and had a lot of fun with the challenge.

Eclipse Di Luna 1We then proceeded one block north to Eclipe di Luna – where we reserved a room for our company meal and hit the bar and some quality Tapas… And since on Fridays they have a band playing in the main room, we continued to enjoy Salsa music while savoring the mesmerizing dishes they kept serving us and enjoying talking to each other and our spouses, which don’t get many chances to socialize like this during the year.

So off we go now to our respective homes – to spend time with family and friends for the balance of the year (don’t worry, some of us are still here, and we are all always available, as needed – an internet company never really “closes”). And our new year resolution: To have these sort of shindigs more often!



All of us at Neurotic Media wish you and your family a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year. We want to tell you how much we appreciate you and thank you for your business and support. We are here thanks to you!


Happy Holidays, friends!

Grammy Camp LA 2014!

Savi KnightGrammy Camp. It’s been a week since I got home and am still at a loss of words to say about this wonderful experience.  On Monday, the third day of camp, everyone looked at one another with the same dreaded look, “Its only day three and we still have a week to go. What have we gotten ourselves into?”…  By the following Sunday night, we were looking at each other with a different understanding.  The look was now full of gratefulness and sadness, a look that acknowledged the end of an amazing camp – but the beginning of our dreams and the start of the best friendships ever made.

I was one of eight students accepted to be part of the Music Business Track for Grammy Camp L.A. 2014.  To apply, you simply go to grammyintheschools.com and begin the application process. For me, getting to go to this camp meant the world, which, of course would stress out anyone, but especially a person who was about to graduate from high school and just now figuring out how to make it big in the music industry.  After a long day of trying to sound like I knew what I was doing, and filming a very basic video of why I should be chosen, I sent it all in hoping and praying I would get in. A few months later after work I was sitting on the deck at my cousin’s house as she was about to Skype her mother – and I got the text, I got in.

Fast forward to July 10, when I flew to Los Angeles, California with my mom – to be joined by my aunt and cousin. As they relaxed for the two days before camp, I became more and more anxious about it. I’d never been this far away from home for this long, especially knowing that my family would be leaving soon. The morning of July 12 flew by in a whirlwind, and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to my aunt, cousin, and my mom. I was now surrounded by the people I would be spending the next ten extraordinary days with learning my trade. I moved my way to the window seats and immediately met my first friend – she would be in the songwriting track. After everyone had been dropped off we all sat in Carson Television Center, the heart of Grammy Camp. We were all separated into either Jason’s Combo, Leslie’s Combo, Larry’s Combo, Matthew’s Combo, Audio Engineering, Video Production, Music Journalism, Electronic Music Production, Vocal Performance, or Music Business (all of the combos were instrumental including two guitarists, one bassist, one drummer, one keyboardist, and one hornist). Fourteen counselors supervising seventy-five kids, split into twelve groups led by twelve amazing instructors, coupled with numerous guest speakers – all lined up to talk to us.

Each day was run on little sleep, and interesting to say the worst cafeteria food, but it was all worth it. The day included mostly instructions with some panel discussions from music industry leaders.  I can’t say what happened in every track, but for the Music Business Track we had some of the best guests, from funny non-mother-selling agents to one of the most powerful women in the music industry come and talk to us. The group panels had guest everywhere from charities to Colbie Caillat. Everyone brought new information to the table or some kind of advice as if just being in their present wasn’t enough.

Wednesday involved a double field trip day for Music Business. Our track got to take a tour of the Staples Center where we got to see everything! Locker rooms, suites, clubs, game center (where the announcers sit), the video room (where everything is recorded and put on television and also where the replays are seen), we even got to take pictures on the court. Here’s a fun fact – once the ice is put down, it stays there throughout hockey season; so when there’s a concert or basketball game there is ice under the floor they put over the ice in order to keep it cold. Later that day, everyone got one three buses to go have lunch at the Academy, the place where everything that goes on in the Grammy world is held. We were split into groups and talked with people that worked there and learned some of the behind the scenes. My group got to take home tickets from the 2014 Grammys. After that, we headed out on our special field trips. Bus one had the privilege to go to Revolt Studios and watch Revolt Live being filmed along with being filmed ourselves. After the show wrapped up, it was time for dinner and we split up again. My group headed to the Hard Rock Café, where we reveled in good music, good company, and even better food. Sadly after dinner it was time to head back to the USC campus.

After Wednesday, the real work began. We had three days until the showcase and all of the groups were busy working on their projects. Music Business would run the show, while half of the group was chosen to pitch an idea for an app. Music Journalism was busy writing the script and the rest of the camp was recording and competing for a spot in the showcase. Those three days passed in the blink of an eye and before anyone knew it, it was show time. I had the honor of stage managing the most incredible show I’ve ever seen with some of the most amazing young talent!

The after party was bitter sweet, even with the upbeat music the EMPs were playing. It was the end of camp. The next day we would all be going home, but not to our normal lives but new inspired lives. I loved camp and I love all the people that I met. We are the next generation in music and we’re ready to take our places. GRAMMY CAMP LA 2014!

(Savi Knight, Intern)

An amazing experience

Savannah "Savi" KnightFor most people, high school is four years of meeting friends and waiting to graduate and get out of your parents’ house; for me, it was four years of fighting for a dream they didn’t believe in.  I had kept my career plans more to myself to avoid the family criticism of going a less than traditional business route.  My entire life I have loved music – from serenading patrons at the beauty parlor to picking out my classes at Kennesaw State University for their Music Business Program.  Growing up in a small town south of Atlanta is not the place for big dreamers. Most of the people moved there to avoid the expenses of the city or have their family roots there.  I, however, had much bigger plans which is where my story begins.

Dr. Lyn Schenbeck, who taught me “Intro to the Business of the Arts Class” at C.E.C., told me about a past student of hers that ran a music business.  I was immediately interested to see what the business had to offer, because to me, any experience in the music business was better than nothing.  That December I went into her first block to listen to Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media’s CEO, speak about his company – and I knew that’s somewhere where I wanted to be.  I gave him my resume and cover letter, and almost immediately got a response from Becka Hardy, Label Relations and Account Management.  I started working on January 22nd – and from there on, I have learned things from how to start up a business to how to merchandise different stores and how to create a website.

At Neurotic Media, you are taught through everyday tasks at the company.  Around the office are pictures of websites that have been created for various customers and that you will learn to replicate.  Most of what is done at the company is for its online stores and apps, and you learn where to find the new and/or best music out there along with who owns what when you suddenly can’t seem to find an album you just merchandised.  Along with learning what label owns what catalog, you have the chance to sit on calls with the labels and learn first-hand what goes on during a business call.  Shachar is also very interested in how his interns are doing and will talk to you to see how your experience has been, as well as allow you to listen in on calls with other businesses.  You also learn to create websites through CSS and HTML5, which is a lot harder than the small website you made when you were 13 and bored one night.  If there is anything I can take from here other than theoretical experience, it is the knowledge of how to create a good looking, functional website.

The past four months working here have been an amazing experience – from the people to the knowledge I’ve gained.  As a high school student, I can’t be more thankful to have even had a chance at a company like this, especially in the music world.  Everything that I have learned here I can take with me on my journey into the music career I have chosen.

(Savannah “Savi” Knight, Intern)

Music Startup Academy video coverage

Atlanta’s first Music Startup Academy, which Neurotic Media produced in October 2013 in cooperation with The Music Business Association, was videotaped courtesy of David Seeney and Neon Giant. Several sessions from that productive day are now available at the new Neurotic Media YouTube Channel.

Keynote: Jeff Hoffman’s engaging (and highly praised) Keynote speech is now available for your viewing pleasure. Jeff Hoffman is the co-founder of Colorjar; a serial entrepreneur, including founder and CEO of priceline.com and producer of the hit horror film Cabin Fever; and an Adviser to The National Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

In addition, the two early sessions have been posted:


Music Business 101: Content Ownership And Monetization

The music business at its core is not about selling CDs, downloads, or subscriptions, but about selling intellectual property – IP – in various configurations and monetization schemes. However music is packaged, presented and sold, there are several stakeholders with legal rights to portion of the revenue. In Music Business 101 we will cover the basics of IP ownership and how the different parties interact with one another and with other segments of the industry.

  •  Moderator: Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media
  • David Barbe, University of Georgia Music Business Program
  • Yi Ping Ho, Warner Music Group
  • Peniece M. LeGall, SESAC
  • Shawn Nolan, Jonathan E. Leonard, P.C.


The Digital Supply Chain: How To Source Music Digitally

Offering licensed music in a store, an app, or a subscription utility involve a lot more than just negotiating and signing a license contract. On the heels of such an achievement, a new business needs to consider the operational aspects of content ingestion and maintenance. There are multiple options available, from doing it all yourself to outsourcing it to a vendor. We will address the basic concepts and action points involved and how they affect your bottom line.

  • Moderator: Bill Wilson, MusicBiz
  • Alison Booth, Sony Nashville
  • Todd Jones, Neurotic Media
  • Christopher Read, Sony DADC


More sessions should be posted soon.


A huge eye opener

Bianca HighMusic has always been a vital part of my life. Everyone in my family is musically inclined, so naturally I followed suit. My parents cultured me with music way before my time, so I grew up listening to everything from ABBA to Zeppelin and my music taste is pretty diverse as a result. By the age of 10 I learned three instruments and was eager to learn more. Now I play a total of seven instruments and continue my education in music theory so that I may continue create my own music. Music will remain a priority in my life because it has had such a deep impact in the person that I am becoming.


My experience at Neurotic Media was a huge eye opener, and I enjoyed learning about what the company does. I was unaware of how much work goes into creating download stores and mobile services. My first assignment was to merchandise the online store for one of the company’s major clients. The process was very interesting and allowed me to see that new content is constantly being released so it is important to keep it updated. I learned how to create a website and test features within mobile music apps. It may sound trivial, but yes, someone has to make sure each and every aspect of any particular app actually works. I found it fascinating to dive into the apps and discover how they operated. Also during my internship I had the ability to attend company staff meetings which provided me with a deeper knowledge of how Neurotic Media operates.


Throughout my time with Neurotic Media I have gained pertinent skills relating to the music industry that can be applied in everyday life. My experience has expanded my mind to possible career choices in the industry as digital music steadily rises. (Bianca High, Intern).

Music Redemption Campaign Insights

Having analyzed thousands of music redemption campaigns, we summarized our key findings and provided actionable insights for stakeholders in the following Infographic.

We are proud to release this first of its kind “Music Redemption Campaign Insights” summary – a document that covers nine years of work, over 1,600 campaigns, and over 500MM music reward codes. Our analysis extracted valuable findings for key stakeholders in the industry, and it provides actionable insights to marketers and decision makers.

We divided our work in the music incentives and rewards category into three distinct areas: Artist and Music Product Campaigns, Consumer Brands and Marketers, and Loyalty and Affinity Programs. The hundreds of campaigns analyzed have covered a broad range of catalog providers, genres and artists – and on the side of consumer brands and services, various markets. The resulting data allowed for the recognition of meaningful averages and important trends. Our resulting insights summary is as follows.

We would love to hear your feedback so feel free to post a comment below.

Neurotic Media's Music Redemption Campaign Insights


Neurotic Media has moved!

Neurotic Media has moved a few miles north, from Inman Park to Buckhead – Atlanta’s premier business center. We’re glad to call Lenox Towers our new home.

Our new address is:
Neurotic Media
3390 Peachtree Road, Suite 500
Atlanta GA 30326

Contact information will remain the same. Watch for an open house party invite later this month – we look forward to showing you our new digs.

Baton Bob actually welcomed us last Thursday when we actually, physically moved the office – he apparently stopped traffic right outside our office. Thanks man! A great way to usher us into the neighborhood!

Shared a playlist with friends lately?

How about one curated by a brand? AJC Digital Series
Market smarter w/music: www.bit.ly/Dig227:

Join us Thursday morning, 2/27  for this presentation and walk away a smarter and happier music-lovin marketer!

Using Music Rewards in Data Collection & Segmentation

w/Shachar Oren, CEO, Neurotic Media.
Tix: $10 members, $25 non-members/walk-ins. 7:30am-9am breakfast at Cox.

The stealth company

Alex Mathis-PorterAs a business-to-business service platform, Neurotic Media is a company that is seen and not noticed. People don’t think about how the music they download to their mobile devices or computers get there. They don’t worry about how much work is put into making sure the customers never lose their music. I was completely unaware of all the hard work that goes into a simple free download site – such as, for example, one prepared for the latest Katy Perry single.

I enjoyed the engagement, especially learning what the company does and how I could truly help in a measurable way. One of the first assignments I had was to look up hits from the 50s-80s. I found my morning being very enjoyable looking up hits from the past and composing playlists and recommendation lists. I next learned how to edit websites’ and music apps’ features for the company’s client brands. I was able to sit in on company staff meetings and gain insight into how this small but powerful company runs. I was also able to help with a major project they had in place for the holiday season.

I left this internship with great pride in knowing that I can share with colleagues some of the amazing projects that Neurotic Media is handling for the music industry and which I have had the pleasure to personally impact.

(Alex Mathis-Porter, Intern)

Startup Academy Hailed a Success!

Neurotic Media sponsored “Music Startup Academy” event in Atlanta was hailed a success by both attendees and panelists.

Here’s what panelists had to say:

Jeff Hoffman

Jeff Hoffman’s keynote speech

I was incredibly impressed with what you and Bill put together. The speakers were top notch and the audience was one of the most knowledgeable and engaged I’ve seen in some time.”  Christopher Read, Vice President, Sony DADC

“I had a fantastic time, and was very impressed with the turn out. The attendees seemed much more engaged than your typical music conference panel attendees. I’ve already recommended the conference to a number of colleagues.”  Shawn Nolan, Jonathan E. Leonard, P.C. 

“Of all the panels I’ve spoken on and events I’ve attended, I must say that this Music Startup Academy was top notch and one of the best I’ve ever participated on. You can call on me anytime. Congratulations!”  Peniece M. Le Gall, Director, Writer/Publisher Relations, SESAC


We want to thank all participants, partners and sponsors for making the first Atlanta Music Startup Academy such a successful event!  The show of hands in the auditorium was overwhelmingly that of “Entrepreneurs” even as registrations included members of TAG, AMA, NARIP, students, and more – a diverse crowd, all sharing a passion for the music business and wanting to get involved one way or another with their present or future endeavors.

Shachar Oren Moderates

Shachar Oren Moderates Music Business 101

It was a very energetic day: Starting with Jeff Hoffman’s powerful keynote speech in the morning (which everybody kept talking about all day…), and on through Jon Belliotti’s (Coke) exciting keynote speech in the afternoon, Dr. Gil Weinberg’s (GA Tech) powerful high-tech presentation, and all of the informative panels – it was truly a wonderful event. Even the energy during the lunch break was palpable.

I want to encourage attendees to visit the event’s marketing partners and learn more about each organization’s value proposition for you as an entrepreneur. At minimum, I recommend signing up to the free email list each organization has. And of course, once you see the value in the networking and educational activities each offers, do become a member.

Bill Wilson moderates Supply Chain panel

Bill Wilson moderates Supply Chain panel

Thank you co-sponsors MailChimp and MUSEAIC Labs… thank you GTRI for hosting us… and, in closing, I want to thank the Music Biz team for helping me coordinate this day and make it a reality – thank you Bill, Pat, and Nicole…


You were ALL a pleasure to work with!

(Shachar Oren, CEO).


For an agenda reminder you can always reference this blog post.


We hope to have some videos to post up soon too.




Nikki Barjon's Music & Brands panel

Nikki Barjon’s Music and Brands panel

Lisa Love's Startups Experiences panel

Lisa Love’s Startups Experiences panel


Neurotic Media’s CCA Music Showcase

Join us for Neurotic Media’s CCA Music Showcase This Sunday – featuring The Grahams!

The GrahamsWhen: CCA Chairman’s Reception, Sunday September 15, 7-10PM

What a better way to kick-off your Annual Convention experience than a poolside celebration at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  Networking opportunities abound as CCA’s Chairman, Michael Prior, welcomes everyone to CCA’s Annual Convention!  Don’t miss a special musical performance by The Grahams!

The Grahams combine soulful bluegrass with hints of earthy Americana, adding colors from both traditional folk and country blues, into an infectious blend of storytelling.  It is sure to be a ‘do not miss’ performance!

Announcing Atlanta’s First Music Startup Academy

Music Startup AcademyJoin us, together with co-presenters NARM/digitalmusic.org, on October 4 as we bring the Music Startup Academy to the GTRI Conference Center in Atlanta GA!

This full-day course has been hailed as a great industry primer for musicians, marketers, entrepreneurs, junior level executives, technology teams, marketers, and business development teams looking for fresh new ideas. This talent pool is rarely available for such an affordable price – possible here thanks to all involved volunteering time and resources to provide students and entrepreneur with an affordable platform.

The exciting agenda includes keynotes from Coca-Cola and Priceline executives, as well as panelists from Turner, IdeaDen, SESAC, Sony, Warner Music Group, and more!

Space is limited, so please secure your seat early at http://msa-atl.eventbrite.com/.


Take a look at the agenda below and be sure to reserve your seat:

9 AM
Coffee & Networking

10 – 10:30 AM
Opening Keynote

  • Jeff Hoffman, co-founder Colorjar; serial entrepreneur, including founder and CEO of priceline.com and producer of the hit horror film Cabin Fever; advisor to The National Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship

10:30 -11:15 AM
Music Business 101: Content Ownership And Monetization
The music business at its core is not about selling CDs, downloads, or subscriptions, but about selling intellectual property – IP – in various configurations and monetization schemes. However music is packaged, presented and sold, there are several stakeholders with legal rights to portion of the revenue. In Music Business 101 we will cover the basics of IP ownership and how the different parties interact with one another and with other segments of the industry.

  •  Moderator: Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media
  • David Barbe, University of Georgia Music Business Program
  • Yi Ping Ho, Warner Music Group
  • Peniece M. LeGall, SESAC
  • Shawn Nolan, Jonathan E. Leonard, P.C.

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM
The Digital Supply Chain: How To Source Music Digitally
Offering licensed music in a store, an app, or a subscription utility involve a lot more than just negotiating and signing a license contract. On the heels of such an achievement, a new business needs to consider the operational aspects of content ingestion and maintenance. There are multiple options available, from doing it all yourself to outsourcing it to a vendor. We will address the basic concepts and action points involved and how they affect your bottom line.

  • Moderator: Bill Wilson, NARM/digitalmusic.org
  • Alison Booth, Sony Nashville
  • Todd Jones, Neurotic Media
  • Christopher Read, Sony DADC

12:15-1:15 PM

1:30-2:15 PM
Music Marketing: What Goes Into An Artist’s Successful Marketing Strategy
A significant portion of the “new music economy” that is emerging this decade is built around directly serving the needs of the artist. With distribution itself no longer being an obstacle, the real challenge for an artist today is getting noticed. While large record companies assemble or create their own technical toolsets and leverage deep pockets for marketing and PR, independent labels and artists lean on various start-ups that provide a growing number of DIY tools. On this panel, we will explore what it takes for an artist to successfully market an album and to build a carrier, and the role technology plays in it today.

  • Moderator: Shachar Oren, Neurotic Media
  • Sterling Bacon, Red Light Management
  • Dale Manning, IdeaDen
  • John Stringer, Musician, IndieHitMaker.com
  • Bradley Tomlinson, Reach Records

Second Keynote

  • Joe Belliotti, head of Global Music Marketing in the Worldwide Sports, Entertainment & Partnership Team, The Coca-Cola Company

2:30 – 3:15 PM
Music & Brands: Driving Engagement With Music Fuels Innovation And Revenue
With the demise of music retail, brand partnership has grown in significance this decade as a critical revenue source for many artists. Music is a great engagement tool for brands, driving price point, perception, and ultimately purchase. It allows brands to develop a lifestyle, emotional connection with their consumers. Most Fortune 500 brands use music in activities covering advertising, reward programs, and incentives – driving engagement, consumer insights and product purchase. We’ll hear from some of the stakeholders in this economical food chain about what fuels their music business.

  • Moderator: Nikki Barjon, The Barjon Group
  • Joe Belliotti, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Nick Purdy, Paste Magazine
  • Janet R. Wade, Turner Entertainment Group

3:30 – 4:15 PM
Georgia Tech Center For Music Technology Presentation
Presented by Dr. Gil Weinberg, Director of the GA Tech Center for Music Technology, the presentation will focus on music technology entrepreneurship – a field that brings together artistic creativity, technological innovation, and business acumen. Dr. Weinberg will present new musical instruments and robots he developed at MIT Media Lab and Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology and will explain how entrepreneurs bring these products to market.

4:30 – 5:15 PM
Start-up Corner: Learn From Peers About What Works And What Doesn’t
For every success story in music and high-tech there are dozens of stories about failed start-up attempts. We invited several local music industry start-ups to share their “war stories” with us, how did their start-up come about, get funded, and grew to its present stage. Learning from past mistakes and past success stories is invaluable to any entrepreneur who seeks to launch a successful business in this space.

  • Moderator: Lisa Love, Georgia Department of Film, Music and Digital Entertainment
  • Jamie Dwyer, TicketAlternative
  • Simon Horrocks, Affix
  • Brian McCourt, FreeAllMedia
  • Mike VanBeneden, Mowgli/Songster

5:30 – 6 PM
Show Me The Money: How Can Businesses Lead To ROI
Music start-ups have been funded over the years by multiple stakeholders, from angel investors and institutional investors to industry-insiders such as artists, producers, executives, and record companies. In this panel, we will discuss what motivates potential funding sources to make a favorable decision about a funding opportunity.

  • Moderator: Tino Mantella, Technology Association of Georgia
  • Randall Foster, FOCUS Investment Banking LLC
  • Tuff Yen, The Seraph Group


Demystifying e-Commerce

In this blog post, Shachar Oren discusses what e-commerce merchant banking charges comprise of, what is involved operationally in conducting a transaction, and how to develop a strategy that is right for your business.


Shachar OrenOnline Merchant Banking is handled by banks and their gateways (a “gateway” is the technical systems used to facilitate transactions between a site and the bank). Some retailers interact with both parties (meaning, they sign a deal with a bank to process e-commerce transactions, and separately sign a deal with a gateway of choice such as Authorize.net), while other retailers work directly with banks who include the gateway function as a value-add within the bank offer (all under one agreement).


There are two main charges involved in your conventional online transaction:

1. Authorization fee (charged for the gateway service): This is a flat-fee for the function of looking up a credit card number and authorizing that the amount the retailer seeks to transact is available to be charged to the shopper.

2. Credit card fee (charged for the banking service, and also called “credit card discount” by banks): This fee is a percentage of the total amount of the transaction/purchase being made. Rates vary depending on (a) card, i.e. American Express and Discover tend to cost more than Visa and Master Card; (b) the retailer’s credit line (i.e. history and risk profile with the merchant bank); and (c) the total yearly volume of business the retailer represents for the bank.

There are additional operational costs involved, such as setup fee and monthly service fees, which are marginal in the big scope of things.

The last cost component to remember about merchant banks is the “Charge Back” fine they each itemize. If there is ever a dispute about a fraudulent or wrong charge, the bank invites you to justify it and reference your terms of Service for it. If you LOSE a case, the bank will debit you the amount they are refunding the consumer PLUS a fine (usually $10-$20 per occurrence). It is therefore imperative you include proper security measures and proper ToS on your site to avoid running into any issues.

The owner of the merchant bank account is the “Merchant of Record” that is responsible for any/all tax liabilities involved with e-commerce sales. Tax liabilities therefore apply based on the tax nexus caused by the owner of the bank account being used.


Two technical steps are in the core of an e-commerce transaction:

1. The authorization of the charge: When a charge is “authorized” via the gateway (retailer’s system sends a request, gateway processes it and responds with approval or denial), it means that the amount the retailer inquired about is available at the shopper’s credit card account. This also places a temporary “hold” for that amount on the shopper’s card (thus reducing the shopper’s “available balance” temporarily by that amount).

Temporary holds clear out automatically within a day or two (depending on each bank’s practices) if the amount is never “captured” (this is explained next).

You may have ran into this process yourself when renting a car for a week and being asked by the car rental company to sign on a thousand dollar security hold “just in case you don’t return with it” sort of thing. When you return the car, the rental place tosses away your authorization details. They never process a “capture” so you are never actually charged anything.

2. The “capturing” of the charge: This is when the amount is actually processed and debited from the shopper’s credit card – meaning, the transaction is going through. You can capture less than and up to the amount pre-authorized, but you can’t capture more than the amount authorized. In order to capture more, you’d need an additional, second authorization for the additional amount sought in the larger transaction. For example, if you authorized $10.00, than you can capture anything from $0.01 to $10.00, but you can’t capture $10.50 – to achieve the latter, you’d need to ask for another authorization of at least another $0.50.

Upon capturing an amount against the authorization ID, the original authorized “hold” amount ID is “cleared” and there’s no more record on hold on that shopper’s credit card. The purchase now shows as the final and accurate sum that was captured.

It is possible to run both authorize + capture requests simultaneously in one “call” (one API call to the gateway). This is what normally happens in a brick & mortar retail store for example, since there is no reason for a physical retailer to delay the processing of funds for a product that is leaving the store.

It is also possible to run the authorization first, and run the capture at a later time as a separate call to the gateway. The example I provided above with the rental car “security hold” is one example of how this method can be utilized. The car rental dealership has a hold of X on your credit card, and if you ruin the car, can charge up to that hold amount to your card to refund their losses from you.


At Neurotic Media, we leverage the separation of “Authorization” from “Capture” for what we call “Daily Transaction Aggregation”. When the shopper first orders a $0.99 song, we authorize that + $5.00 at the bank level, for a total hold of $5.99. At midnight, we total all daily transactions and run a “batch-capture” file. If the same shopper ordered 3-4 songs for the day, they all get captured against the original $5.99 authorized amount. For example, if the shopper ordered 3 songs that day, for $2.97 total, then we capture $2.97, and the balance of that pre-authorized amount goes off-hold and disappears.


  • The authorization fee itself only hits the retailer once. It is paid on the initial authorization and therefore could be amortized across several songs, instead of being invoiced repeatedly once per song order.
  • The shopper’s credit card shows the final number for the day, not each and every item ordered. In the example above, the credit card statement will show the shopper a total daily purchase of $2.97 worth of downloads, instead of three $0.99 rows.
  • The shopper gets only one email receipt for that captured order for the day, listing the items purchased (as opposed to an email per item).


Neurotic Media offers many flexible e-commerce engagement options:

  1. Use of our default merchant banking account (“Neurotic Media” is listed on shoppers’ credit card statements)
  2. Open and manage an account we own and operate and D/B/A “you” – which means your name is what shows on shoppers’ credit card statements
  3. Integrate your own gateway and bank into our e-commerce suite so all the monies flow to you directly
  4. Use our API suite to integrate us into your existing system and sell our products while continuing to use your existing shopping cart


Most merchant banking charges involve an authorization fee of $0.20 or more, and a credit card rate of 2.8%-3.5%. This would obviously be very high for a simple $0.99 transaction – since you’re looking at about 23c on the dollar.

Several years ago, merchant banks introduced the “micro payment” model: They charge less for the authorization and more for the credit card use. For example, an authorization fee of $0.10 or less, and a credit card rate of 4% or more. This is obviously more “retailer-friendly” for small transactions, since you’re looking at about 14c on the dollar.

We actually crunched the numbers and figured out that a transaction of $4.50 and under is where the micro-payment makes most sense, while transactions above $4.50 might as well use the traditional model.

Regardless, it is obvious how Daily Transaction Aggregation helps reduce the impact of the Authorization Fee on a per-song basis, and since most shoppers purchase 3-7 songs at a time, the impact of merchant banking fees is greatly reduced by this technique.

Of course, if you are using a traditional Shopping Cart work-flow, aggregation happens within the checkout workflow itself and you may see no benefit in Daily Transaction Aggregation. The latter is fit for wallet/account based systems, which we often prefer to see in use. They offer considerably less click-thru steps on the path to a download than does a cart system.

As always, we stand ready to help answer any questions, just ping us for a call.

(Shachar Oren, CEO)

My First SX

SxSW 2013 Austin TX

I’d been hoping to attend SxSW for some time, and this year, I was determined to make it happen. I had my transportation and my accommodations. I consulted others that had attended prior and even read articles on how to “survive.” I was totally prepared. I’ve been to countless other music festivals, so this wasn’t going to be any different.

I’ll start by saying that SxSW 2013 is one of my favorite memories and was worth every minute, but as others explained, your first one often ends up being much more of a learning experience than you’d probably expect. Instead of focusing on the music that moved me this trip, I thought you would be better served with a bit of advice so you can learn from my experiences and be sure to catch the music that moves YOU at the next SXSW.

Wear comfortable shoes.

I thought my shoes were comfortable, but I hadn’t tried walking miles and miles in them. Running a 5k in your cute shoes is probably a good preparatory activity. I didn’t realize how much walking you could do in one week. By the third day when I was hobbling around, I’m pretty sure everyone knew I wasn’t a veteran.

Stay close to the action.
Becka Hardy
When your cab money starts adding up and it becomes increasingly harder to actually get one, you’ll thank me. I spent a lot of time learning about and understanding the city, which should come in handy in the future.

You won’t see everyone you wanted to see, and it’s better to accept that from the beginning. It’s impossible. With everyone playing at the same time all over the city, and especially if you don’t have a badge or wristband and have to wait in lines wrapping around the venue, it’s just not realistic. Make a (very) tentative schedule ahead of time, it’ll save you frustration later.

You and I both will be more prepared next go around.

But that said, I loved Austin. It was my first time there, and it’s a really great city based on my week there. I was able to catch one of our current interns’ band, Pillage & Plunder. I met up with an old roommate. I was able to see several of the artists that I had hoped to catch including Lord Huron, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, and Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt. I discovered a few new favorites, saw live music on the top deck of a boat, and I ate more tacos in one week than average. That alone was completely worth it.

(Becka Hardy – Neurotic Media Label Relations & Account Management)

A cleansing experience at SxSW

Every March, an enormous amount of commotion takes place in the beautiful city of Austin, Texas. The cause? The South By South West Music Festival.

Pillage & Plunder at a club

As someone defined by the experience of listening to and performing music, it was inevitable that my knucklehead friends and I would throw ourselves into a vehicle crammed with our instruments and drive out to Austin. We didn’t necessarily go to be discovered—we just felt like we had to. Seeing videos of big names like Muse, Snoop Lion, Justin Timberlake, and Jay-Z abandoning stadiums to perform at tiny venues like Stubbs or Batbar introduces the astonishing idea of a level playing field between larger-than-life artists and the indie artists aspiring to join their ranks.



Pillage & Plunder play a street

I’ve performed with my band Pillage & Plunder at seven different SxSW showcases (and multiple street corners in between) over the last two years. We’ve had an incredibly wide range of experiences at the festival. We were bought breakfast by complete strangers who wanted to show us some Austin hospitality. We were guilted into humoring religious fanatics, trying to explain to them that we were not too intimidated by the prospect of hell and eternal suffering, thank you very much. We encountered veteran Japanese rockers Electric Eel Shock performing naked on the outskirts of Austin to a bewildered audience.


Pillage & Plunder's empty trailer

The good times were plenty—but as the word “range” implies, we also ran into trouble.  We woke up halfway through our second trip to find our trailer door open and all of our musical equipment stolen. The incident even made local news. We got the police involved, but unfortunately for now nothing seems to have turned up. That was $16,000 of guitars, amps, mics, drums, and memories that we probably won’t be getting back. Stings.

I don’t know what to make of SXSW. I was already confused about music and its place in my life, but I returned to Atlanta with more questions than answers. I came back knowing that my feelings for music and performance are strong, but the true nature of those feelings is still a mystery. Are they a want, a love, a need? I cannot tell. Some days I feel as though I’ve reached a point where music is like water or air to me—absolutely essential to my survival, yet gradually beginning to lack the allure and excitement of other distractions in my life.

However, I feel as though my trip to SxSW has given me solace and a new direction. I now have immediate obstacles and challenges to tackle. My new guitar—technically my old guitar, since I ordered the same one I lost—has just arrived, and when I hold it for the first time, I hope to see it as the first step in a rebuilding process. Perhaps the festival punished me for getting too comfortable, and for growing accustomed to things coming easily in my music and my life. Music has ways of putting individuals in their place, and rewarding those who work hard to improve their connection with it. I feel as though the festival has exposed my lack of belief in myself and in my music, and my secret hope that there were shortcuts to achieving that beautiful relationship with music that any songwriter, composer, or performer craves.

SxSW 2013 cleared me out, cleaned me up, and has made me want to take the time to properly reconnect with my music and my passion. Hopefully we’ll show ‘em next year.

(Gokul Parasuram, Intern)