Saturday, June 2, 3:00 pm

If you’re a music fan who’s only heard of blockchain in passing and never thought it would apply to you, it’s time to change your thinking. The SHAPE session on blockchain technology and its future in the entertainment business had the audience transfixed—even those new to the technology. Panos Panay is Vice President of Innovation and Strategy at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, an institution of rich history and cultural influence. Under Panay’s guidance, the college is working with blockchain technology to transform how musicians and composers are compensated and how music lovers can reach the music they enjoy.

“The complexity and infrastructure of the music industry harkens back to the late 19th century,” Panay said to murmurs of agreement in the audience. All the intermediaries involved in publishing, producing, and distributing music take a cut of the profits, leading to “revenue leakage.” Blockchain technology enables “transparency, fewer intermediaries, faster consumption,” and all the things music creators and lovers truly hope to achieve.

Here are some highlights of the session:

  • Janet Snowdon of IBM talking about IBM’s own transition into the blockchain space, especially where music is concerned: “Where there’s mystery [in music distribution], there’s margin,” she said.
  • Kim Jackson, Co-Founder and President of Entertainment, SingularDTV, describing how a blockchain entertainment structure can track IP and instantaneous revenue reporting and value exchange.
  • Snowdon discussing how IBM is committed to both the transparency and security of blockchain for artists and consumers. “We don’t want any bad actors to join an industry network.”

All of that was music to the enthusiastic audience’s ears.

You can watch the entire session below.
Andrew Keen


Author, Commentator, and Host of TechCrunch’s Keen On

Session Moderator

An acclaimed public speaker, Andrew Keen is one of the world's best-known and controversial commentators on the digital revolution. He is the author of Cult of the Amateur, Digital Vertigo, The Internet Is Not the Answer, and How to Fix the Future. Published in February 2018, How to Fix the Future has been called "[a] bracing book" by Walter Isaacson, and "the most significant work so far in an emerging body of literature…in which technology's smartest thinkers are raising alarm bells about the state of the Internet, and laying groundwork for how to fix it" by Fortune Magazine.

Photo credit Jens Panduro.

Kim Jackson


Co-Founder and President of Entertainment

After working with Universal Pictures for Steven Spielberg (Munich) and Spike Lee (Inside Man), Kim Jackson founded Streetwise Pictures. Her critically acclaimed production, Blue Caprice—seen in theaters across the country—premiered at Sundance and was the opening night film at New Directors/New Films at MoMA. Kim was nominated for a Spirit Award for producing. She has been the driving force behind more than a dozen award-winning and theatrically released independent films including Children of God and Gunhill Road. She executive-produced King Cobra, starring James Franco and Christian Slater.  She is a selected Artist Academy member of Film Society of Lincoln Center and an alumnus of Simmons College. She co-founded the blockchain entertainment studio SingularDTV, which is producing Alex Winter’s feature-length documentary Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain Technology and The Happy Worker by Duwayne Dunham (Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Little Giants), executive-produced by David Lynch.

Panos A. Panay


Vice President, Innovation & Strategy, Berklee College of Music
Managing Director, Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship

Panos is the Vice President for Innovation and Strategy at Berklee College of Music, the Managing Director of the Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship (BerkleeICE) and a passionate entrepreneur, educator and startup mentor.

As the founder of Sonicbids, he created the leading platform for bands to book gigs and market themselves online, building a subscriber network of 550,000 bands and 35,000 promoters from over 100 countries. He led the company as CEO for 13 years, from its inception until after its successful acquisition in a deal backed by Guggenheim Partners.

Panos is also the co-founder of the Open Music Initiative, which has brought together over 140 leading music, media, technology industry organizations and academic institutions to create a blockchain-based open protocol for uniform identification of musical rights owners and creators.

At Berklee, his work and approach to entrepreneurial and innovation pedagogy builds heavily on the concepts of music thinking, and in particular jazz, as a catalyst for creative breakthroughs in business, life and art; and has spearheaded multi-disciplinary collaborations between Berklee and MIT; the design firm IDEO; and Brown University.

He writes frequently about startups and entrepreneurship for blogs and publications such as Forbes, WSJ Accelerators and Fast Company; and guest lectures and speaks at many universities and events around the world.

Awards include: Fast Company's "Fast 50" honor; Inc Magazine's "Inc 500”; Mass Hi-Tech All Stars; Berklee College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award; and Boston Business Journal’s “40 under 40” and BostInno's 50 on Fire. Sonicbids and Panos were also profiled in a chapter in the Financial Times-published book "Outsmart" by best-selling author Jim Champy.

Passion point: reaffirming the value of contemporary music education in a fast-paced, globalized technology driven world.

Panos is a native of Cyprus, holds a Music Business & Management degree from Berklee College of Music, and lives with his wife Kimberly and twin daughters Zoë and Lydia in Watertown, MA.

Janet Snowden


Global Director
IBM Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions

As Global Director of IBM Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions, Janet Snowdon leads a team of subject-matter experts responsible for media and entertainment (M&E) solutions that are based on cognitive and cloud computing. Prior to her new assignment, Snowdon was responsible for building and managing the M&E sales team in Japan with over $100M in revenue responsibility. With over 20 years experience in M&E, Snowdon is known for landing "first of a kind" solutions in M&E including the use of data tape technology for M&E which resulted in a Technical Emmy Award, and content protection technologies for Blu-ray and SD cards. Snowdon has presented in numerous international M&E conferences globally in English and in Japanese. She is also a member of IBM’s Industry Academy.

View past events: 2017