Speaker Profile Q&A: Mike Jbara, CEO, MQA
Mike is the CEO of high-res audio firm MQA, having joined from Warner Music Group where he held roles as head of studios, president of ADA Worldwide, president of WEA Corp and most recently corporate EVP, technology. MQA has been striking a variety of deals for its technology with device-makers and digital service providers, including Tidal and Deezer in the latter group, and LG and Sony in the former. The company has also worked closely with labels to convert their catalogues into the MQA format, as well as evangelising hi-res music at industry events. Jbara will be speaking in an Innovation in Streaming Audio session at NY:LON Connect on January 23.
:: What’s been the most exciting digital music trend or technology for you in 2017?
There are a couple that come to mind. Like many, we’re interested in where voice recognition and natural language processing (NLP) go next.
The idea of having environmental metadata and voice demand combined to create more natural audio experiences is an exciting prospect.
In addition, the importance of ‘Home as the centre’ will drive innovation in communal experiences.
:: What music startups have caught your eye in 2017?
There is this innovative company working in audio technology just outside of Cambridge in the UK!
But being serious, the music startup that I’m most excited about is a music company that’s approaching artist development and creative culture in an authentic, exciting way.
It’s called Assemble Sound, based in Detroit and led by someone who I think is an important part of the future music industry model.
:: What do you think the biggest digital challenge will be for our industry in 2018?
The same one it has been for the last several years in music – a shortage of innovation and investment because of the industry’s historical resistance to consumer-led disruption.
It would be good if more people on the rights holder segments of music were compensated for taking risks on the consumer experience end, not just on the A&R front.
:: Which trends and technologies are worth keeping an eye out for in 2018?
Social consumption habits and peer-to-peer creator networks.
:: Which question/topic would you most like to see debated at NY:LON Connect?
How to grow share of consumer time (relative to other entertainment forms) through creation of intuitive high-value experiences.