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The Pandemic’s Hottest Concert Series | SXSW 2021

Timothy Z. Mosley
Musician, record producer, DJ, rapper, singer, songwriter at Verzuz, Llc.
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Timothy Z. Mosley
Musician, record producer, DJ, rapper, singer, songwriter at Verzuz, Llc.
Lucas Shaw
Entertainment Reporter at Bloomberg
Fadia Kader
Head Of Media Partnerships and Creators at Clubhouse
Swizz Beatz
Record producer, rapper, businessman at Verzuz, Llc.

Born Timothy Z. Mosley, multi-platinum Grammy winning Super-producer Timbaland is arguably one of the top 5 best music producers of all time. Timbaland has created career-defining hits for artists such as Jodeci, Aaliyah, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Nelly Furtado, One Republic,Keri Hilson, Bryson Tiller, Ginuwine, Missy Elliott, Destiny’s Child, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Katy Perry, Madonna, Alicia Keys and more. As a CEO he founded Mosley Music Group one of the most successful independent record labels in the business selling over 25 million albums and 40 million singles having broke artists One Republic, Nelly Furtado, Bubba Sparks and more including his solo projects. Most recently Tim has found himself in headlines worldwide as co-founder of one the hottest most successful startups in 2020 called ‘Verzuz' with producer Swizz Beatz. Verzuz has quickly become one of the most impactful platforms in music history. In addition, Mosley is co-founder / CEO of music-tech start up BeatClub which is launching Q1 2021.

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Lucas Shaw is a reporter for Bloomberg News, and the author of the Screentime newsletter. He covers the business of Hollywood, music and media, and all the ways in which they are being changed by new technology.A Los Angeles native and lifelong sports fan, he welcomes any food recommendations.

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14 Year industry dot connector, 360 strategist. hands on marketer and brand strategist with experience in digital, talent / brand alignment , brand partnership , project management , product placement and event production . Accountable for leading the "big idea" from the development stages to execution.

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Swizz Beatz is Grammy-Award Winning music producer, entrepreneur and visionary, producing for some of the biggest musicians in the world including Jay-Z, Beyoncé, and Kanye West (contributing to more than 350 million records sold). Over the years, Swizz has worked closely with various global brands from Bacardi, to Aston Martin and Reebok (to name a few) and most recently American Express.Recent graduate of Harvard Business School’s OPM program, Swizz began collecting art in his twenties, and in 2014 launched The Dean Collection, which began as his personal art collection and has since grown into a global discovery zone for art enthusiasts. Swizz later launched No Commission – a live art and music festival where artists retain 100% of their sales. In 2019, Swizz and Timbaland launched the global digital series VERZUZ which has become a powerhouse in programming for artists and music catalogs. With millions of viewers each show, the brand continues to push boundaries and “give artists their flowers.”

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About the talk

Musicians didn’t think twice about internet concerts before 2020. They could make more money in one night on the road than they could in a year on Twitch or Instagram Live. But the pandemic has stranded thousands of professional musicians at home, and brought out their innermost creativity. Of all the biggest at-home concerts, nothing comes close to Verzuz, a recurring event that is part concert series, pert history lesson. Every few weeks, two musicians gather and take turns playing their biggest hits and telling stories from their careers. The project is the brainchild of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, two producers responsible for some of the biggest hits of the past 25 years. The old friends started by talking live on Instagram from their respective homes. But what started as an impromptu conversation between two music industry kingpins quickly morphed into must-see programming. Now in its second season, the show regularly draws millions of viewers for acts like Ashanti v....

About SXSW:

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. An essential destination for global professionals, this year’s online event features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, professional development and a variety of networking opportunities. For more information, please visit sxsw.com.

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Hi, my name is Luca Shaw. I'm a reporter for Bloomberg and author of the screen time newsletter, do I am sad to miss the annual trip to Austin for barbecue and tacos and live music. I'm very happy to be moderating this panel today about one of the most exciting new projects that emerged during quarantine vs. Which is a recurring video series concert history, lesson featuring some of the most famous names in music and today on the panel we have two of its creators or it's two creators producers use in Timberland who are two of the most prestigious producers

of the past 25 years and we also have body a caterer from who's the head of Music partnership that Instagram which is an app. You probably all heard of and use everyday and also where you can go to watch each of the versus live while they're happening. So thank you all for joining me today. You know, I want to start. I imagine most of the people have Heard of it at the very least, but it, if you haven't seen a versus what is it? It? What, what do you sign up for? Nobody want to answer first.

Well vs. Is a educational celebration of platform where to creative coming together to play the hits of 20 hits a piece. And I'm the audience get to see and experience never seen before with some of the greatest artist of all times. Some of the biggest hitmakers, some of the best song, right? Is some of the best produces, some of the best performers in the world and during covid. And even outside of Kobe, we're trying to maintain the celebration of creatives. So versus is celebration, the creators Now,

it started just a couple weeks into the lock down when the two of you were at home, but if memory serves the idea for this dates back a lot further, where did the idea for versus originate and then how did it come to be in 2020? It was it was a versus was I did it Miss, which had about three and a half years ago. Tamper with it at Hot 97, Summer Jam and we had a great response and you always talked about doing the tour doing the album versus, you know, you pick our own artist, we had a whole plan and we always, you know,

try to organize that land and nobody knew that the pandemic that this plan will become digital. You know, it was already, I mean, was written in the universe, is for this to happen this way. Why'd you do it? Why'd you decide to use Instagram for it? I believe Instagram is a everybody in America is, is is on IG. And if you want to talk to anybody, it's like a worldwide walkie-talkie. You can reach anybody at any time and give out any information without the middleman. So why not? Do this idea Miss Swiss know that we were doing something for love? Like it was

a joy of us just sharing our Brotherhood and just bonding as you don't friend is going to pandemic. Make you realize your loved ones if you need to check up on people more and that's what it all stems from, you know, so, it's like some Joy. So I thought, agonizing, Swiss start like, yo, what's up, we doing, how we going to do it, and he's like, I see what you doing from there. You just took place in grass, roots of his own because of the love. So, overwhelming of what we shared, just one conversation prior to accepting that the first battle up, it was just

all love and I think that energy is transferred to the world and I she was the perfect place to Do that within a week without the first that we saw Technology Center squawk out to every human being in the world. Body of water at what point, in that first night or shortly thereafter. Did, did you and in the folks at Instagram recognized what was happening and did you reach out to him and swiss that they reach out to you? Yeah. So prior to us, going in to bring in place, we actually sent that a bus. Is she

letting our partners know, we know that you might be Courant, you know, if so remember live is the best way to connect when I walk with your audience and have more intimate way. So, obviously like that first week in Sheltering in place, like I was watching what was happening. A lot of musicians and artists were going is like trying to connect. Everybody was scared and obviously, Tim and sweat are geniuses a day off to go somewhere a little bit technical difficulties. So I got an email While I was honestly watching them live and I was like, typing comments in the

section, like, at that time. And if things were, like moving really fast, I got an email like to help troubleshoot some stuff like Gary, who is on Tim's management team and it was really exciting, and I was just so happy to see them come on the platform and make this happen. So obviously like, you know, we followed up with an email with some additional practices and you know, the history. We've said touch this whole time. They honestly brought that energy and we just were there to help support in any way to keep it going. How

do you think primarily free lockdown? I think. Use Instagram, free lockdown. How often were artists using Instagram or you know stories obviously I buy GTA V videos. Now uses more moment as opposed to like a main production moment. So you know what's Wiz and Tim were able to do was to make it and is Ventana production and utilizing live as opposed to just like showing us a behind-the-scenes moment. They brought us along for the journey for the actual event for the, for the title as opposed to just like being side stage. So that's how I would say.

You know what, they were able to do with shift, the way culture happens on live. Swiss and Tim have you guys done building it out you know you start the two of you twisting your car then you have on some, some producers appointed you something special and then how did you choose to build it into what Bubble gum. We just organic, we build it. We just listen to the fans and we listen to the artist. I wanted to be on the platform or use the platform before and then we also knew that we need to make further steps to make sure the quality is right. So we brought in a team from

Rolling to troubleshoot with Instagram as well. And then we also know that people wanted to have another experience within me out of the Apple component. So you can watch an HD and do playback some different things like that. But, you know, we just constantly evolving the product and evolve evolving, where it started from. And, you know, we even have some other big announcements of, you know, how we moving forward and do things that we have going on coming soon. As you know, it's just been a organic transition, the whole entire time and me and him always say

let the universe fan control. At what point in your respective careers did the two of you become friends? Mia, Swiss always been friend. I mean, once you, I think once I came to like a, when I move to New York, we always was passing by the, we always had that musical connection that led to our friendship, you know. But at the same time, we was very competitive, you know, since we didn't get wasn't no, animosity was always competitive and he want to see what I was doing. Always want to

see what he was doing. He was he was disruptive just like I was just wrapped up and I think when two people that think differently want to change the world, have a have a special but, you know, I'm in that's why I versus I believe was so Grand because we can talk about our bond during during the pandemic. And then so I believe that if you want to add years, I would say my whole music career. We've been. Rinse. Was there a I guess, one of the things. I'm up in the reserve. Golf Course, is a fact where you see the effect that an

individual event has on that artist whether it's increasing. Listenership. For the social following was there was there, a particular event early on where you saw that take place and then it continued to snowball. Was there an artist who benefited? Most The versus effect. I think everybody benefits and that's why I called her birth is a fact I think it's different effects how they benefit but To have some so powerful that it has an effect on saying that's just a blessing in itself. You know, like

all this text that. I mean, you know, you have some artist album that went from, you know, number 42. Number one, you had a most people on versus followers on Instagram, go up in a million +. You had streams, go up for musical artists, music being played and, you know, up to 700 + percent. You had a lot of artist getting side deals from podcaster, you know, movies to a now performing at all the award shows that's that's coming up, you know, a lot of these artists as great as they were and

still, there is a lot of people weren't thinking about them and calling them until after they see him on there and then they seen that audience in versus say, wait a minute, these people still have it. Then everybody start calling up those artists and we call it the person. who's who's singing the National Anthem Tim Gladys Knight, I think that's like, that's a great decision but you know, we just find it strange and amazing that you know, right after Universe has all these different things happening and you know, and this

is what we do it for a. We do it for the versus effect because those artists should get their Garden while their living and music shouldn't have an age limit on it. And that's what verse in Show versus shows. That music is timeless and creativity is timeless. Started to just when you want to decide, I mean, you know, I think they both hid it so. Well, the most important thing to know is that like my first recollection, obviously being from a Johnta, Austin is one of my favorite writers ever and to see the discovery happening.

I mean, this is early versus days, right? But to see the discovery happen in real time and be like, holy crap, like John Jay wrote, what he did what, and to see his numbers like climbing in that moment was extremely impressive and that's when I knew, I mean again early versus days is just outstanding and now like jonte is in so many conversations. I mean, I just use him as an example because you know he's not as big of a household name, he's an industry name and for him to become a household name, among seem like just music fans to know what, he contributed to music is, just an

example of what the prices of factors outside of just like the big glorious things as far as like number one, albums, and streams, and millions of fall. It really is just so exciting to see. Would you say I mean that it brings up, something that I thought about in the context of the event, is each event for the hardcore fans of the artist that you're putting putting it on, or do you think it's more for that General audience, and you figure the hardcore fans and show up no matter what?

I think everybody have a particular case, you know, we switched it up a lot, you know, last night we had D'Angelo which was amazing next we have Raekwon vs. Ghostface which is amazing. So you know we try to switch it up just like how we went to you know Beenie Man and Bounty Killer You know, just like how we went to to Kirk Franklin and in the gospel side, you know, we like to keep switching it up me and Tim plan on doing our Union, on our anniversary because you know, me and Tim's versus was the first versus and I did mines from the car. He did his from his basement and you

know, to really step on my own. We haven't stepped on a stage of the proper way. So we think for the anniversary of be something amazing, but we can relive that moment again at the anniversary. And I had a little bit more extra fun to it. But we always like to not be in a box. Universes, is not something that should be predictable. Which is why when did versus sports with the NFL, right? You know, people then, you know, if they thinking, it's just two people going back and forth. Every time, that's not versus versus

the celebration of creativity. We went to Comedy, winter, sports music, winter education. We're too many things that are winds technology and so during this discovery people are going to be able to unlock all of those different doors down there, myself and Tim. And I team I've been working on What are the what are the plans for some of those different categories? Go crazy. Reflections. No. Talk about it. Bring the ideas. Bring it to life. Wait. Lucas did you know that she wasn't have yet to be in the same room in the past year and any of these verses like that's a fun fact. So what I

really I know this is your job but what I want to know is in the 1-year anniversary but y'all do your verses? Are you going to come together? Is it going to be reading a reunions? All right. Why wouldn't it? What's the versus way? We going to go crazy. You guys advise, some of the people participating on how to Peace Out songs or having seen it. Like you say, don't start with the biggest hit, or do you start with the biggest hit, things like that? at the beginning of versus, you know, Swiss like

he's so like curation is so like important to both of us but like to him he was like, oh no, you cannot play this song and people, can feel it when they picked the wrong. Something that's not a hit. It just everybody, we tell people at the beginning, how you play your music is Barry cuz when people start to judge, if they going to judge on how you play your music. So now, I believe that we've got to a better place where people can, you know, better songs play.

I agree. What does that mean? How you play your music? Willis light. You know a lot of these artists people have been seen in a long time and in the fan run they have in their mind what they want to head. Right. Like so if somebody was to tell me that playing a brand new song, I would tell him it's a bad idea and I'm like, you know, I think it's a bad idea. Are you not to have your first 10 songs at least be there songs that, you know, people want to hear because that's where they're most engagement is and then

people to maintain through the night. But you start coming on and playing these unreleased songs out the gate, you can lose the momentum of your audience because they like, wait a minute, this is not what I signed up for what is this? Don't don't say two or three. They did get your audience is going to totally tap out. So I tell him save some for the beginning. Save some for the end. Save some for the middle and then, you know, at the end play some new do what you want, after people at happy already. So that's just like regular.

It's okay. I was one of those guys at one point kind of my life because you buy me Bill. When you do buy would be creatively, be like, all this would be dope because its original as fresh. But people people want what they want, they want what they used to. And you have to know how to place an order your new new, you know. So you just can't get them off the back with the Lulu or creativity. You got a lot. It was kind of like when you go to see stupid live. No, I

mean, in some of these people have to have that experience from trying to space out there. I believe it's the same concept. Some people messed that up to It is important. You know, like just what it is. And swiss really said this and we both talked about this. You got a curated playlist Gone. Everything has to be like a playlist. And a concert got to feel like a playlist if you don't going to lose people. Especially right now in 2021 after men, a pandemic and probably

be out in another year. Whatever people want they want that instead, they want to be a fun. Don't want to be thinking, oldest new, I don't know this, and I want up a million a million, then you hit her with us. You just you just said and I'm wondering when do you, when do you see if you think that the live musical will really come back because we see artists who have scheduled tours for summer fall winter? They when everybody take the vaccine I guess you know

you can can't even get on. You can't even get on a plane without a covid test now. So imagine going to a concert, you definitely don't have to have the app on your phone as they going to come with the show. That, you know, you safe being around a massive, massive amount of people. I mean, you know, I know people that still getting sick to this date and it's not old people is young people that still getting sick to this day even though it might not be the most hyped up thing anymore. But, you know, it's still live in effect out there so everybody still got to protect themselves and

I don't know how you going to do a spaced-out Arena. You know, people that have two people going to have to, they got to figure it out, you know. But until then, we right here and even when that happened we going to be going to be mounted versus toy jumping off too. So this is not only for his money. Did you do side? But just know we going to come outside to and it's time to play, you know, cuz I feel like we are, we are in the face of the love life, where Streamlight people going

to have to scream, so she can go to concerts. But I feel like you're going to have to have a screen, the component to it too, cuz everybody's not going to not going to travel all those cities, like, how we used to, but that's not going to happen to probably tore, open up. I can see people doing how the football teams does it in the baseball teams will be selected the traveling. In all that comes with it, but I believe stream is going to be a part of it too. Are you think I'm screaming? All these? Sorry. You

all think that streaming will be part of it, long term that you do five years from now, at 2 or will will have a streaming component or someone maybe sells you do an at-home concert first, third of the price or whatever it is of course, it's too much money and everybody. You don't Michael Jackson kind of had the right idea. What he's going to do a show in London and you got to go to London to see it. I just imagine the screen was out. You ever dare, if you want to see it live, you go to London. If you got the funds, you can go see it live

but the most part if she say it was out before he died. Rest in peace the key but just imagine. If I G without he did that concert, Even with that, I feel that people are getting very comfortable being in their own space. Now, you know, even when they come outside and coming outside, but it's not feeling right? It's not feeling save, you know, people guards away up. So, it's just like, you know what, for the anxiety. And imma get to be around a thousand, three thousand, 20 thousand fifty thousand people. I just set it up in my living room in 15. 20 people

open wheel joint from really enjoyed from the VIP, which is my house. So a lot of people change for people to be comfortable to come outside in a real Major Way. It's very true. The consumer Behavior has completely shifted. You know, I don't see us ever going back to just like a single, like performance stream. It has to be options. You have to have options. You can buy a VIP package at home or a meet-and-greet like potentially, like there might be a day where it's a meet and greet with the versus artists like here I am

throwing out ideas, you know, ahead of time. It's just it's so many ways to do it. We've all had to adjust in the last year and some change that it's I don't see as it's a new normal. We're shifting completely Paradigm shift. I mean, today, we just launched, you know, things to the inspiration. That these gentlemen have had, we've had many conversations about how Instagram can do better be better. Today, we launched the for screen live where you can go live with three additional people. So I mean there is ways and I mean

you know it's the future is looking bright for Instagram when it comes to streaming and we have the likes of Swiss and time to think and be nice and so many other artists that really really like to look and live and worst our hand to shift culture. Literally I think we're pretty much at the end but I want to ask all of you. So taking out the, the one-year reunions of of the two of you. What upcoming versus are you almost excited about All about. All of this so

exciting. Lucas, how can you ask him that question? It's like legendary one after the other you can ask if mom or dad, who your favorite kid is, it's just not going to happen when we can say we were excited for Raekwon and Ghostface versus will. I think that's a very amazing cultural moment. I'm so happy those two agreed to do it. That's never happened before. We never had two people inside of their own crew facing off once again. You know, me and Tim. It was amazing because it's not predictable, you know, it's like these two guys

have always been seen together beside. Okay. Well, let's flip it up and then see how to Celebration work with those two and we're excited about it and we're excited about bringing the producers back, bringing the songwriters back. You no taking it back to I started having unpredictable lineup on International Going Global with versus and in an artist Embraces. His company is only approaching a year old, you know. So we still have a lot more work to do

and I'm sky is not the limit. Okay, thank you for doing this. I'm glad to meet at work, this time and appreciate the time. It's always

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Timothy Z. Mosley
Lucas Shaw
Fadia Kader
Swizz Beatz