This is a guest post from Anna Zò, project manager at Music Innovation Hub, a  multi-function social enterprise that enables socially responsible projects in the music industry. Zò is in charge of Innovation, Music/Tech-related activities and European programs – and she’s currently part of the team curating the conference program of Linecheck Music Meeting and Festival – where Music Ally has been involved this past week.

Here she writes about the state of music/tech in Italy, where she says, a series of digital innovations are kick-starting growth and optimism across the industry. (You can also read our recent Country Profile on Italy here.)

Italy is not only ruling in music and sports – from Måneskin’s Eurovision victory to their worldwide recognition in Euro 2020 – this year the historically traditional country is quietly pioneering a tech revolution. Italy is slowly overturning adversity through innovation across music, science and technology. Italy is the European’s fifth largest market and was one of the countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, Italy is undergoing a digital transformation – there was double-digit growth in streaming in general (29.5%), with revenue increases for both paid subscription (29.8%) and ad-supported (31.6%) services.

Anna Zò, Music Innovation Hub

Analysing Italian startups and investment, the Italian economy is the 4th biggest in Europe, but Italy ranks at only number 12 for Venture Capital investment in Europe, with €3.6B raised in the last five years. To support the Italian tech ecosystem and kickstart the economy the Italian government has taken some important steps by establishing ENEA Tech, a foundation to invest in innovative technologies and create jobs. 

New research has put Italy in second place for digital transformation among G7 countries: according to research from the European Center for Digital Competitiveness (ECDC), Italy is becoming a model of digital hub.

Conferences such as Italian Tech Week, which was held in Turin, brings together ideas, experiences and stories from some of the most famous and influential people in tech, and last year in an article titled Surging homegrown talent and VC spark Italy’s tech renaissance’, TechCrunch described the Italian ecosystem as ‘still small but developing rapidly’. 

In Milan, Music Innovation Hub – a company very close to the B Corporations model, based at Milan’s hybrid center for culture and creativity BASE – is a private, non-profit social enterprise born in Milan in 2018. It’s the self-financed outcome of a union between five different charities and businesses, and from Music Innovation Hub’s efforts and input during the peak of the COVID pandemic in Italy, the country saw the start of a digital revolution in music.

Heroes gathered the best artists within the contemporary Italian pop scene at the Arena di Verona, in association  with three of the biggest Italian live agencies: Live Nation, Friends and Partners, and Vivo Concerti.

Now, at the end of 2021, bespoke ticketing live streaming platforms are booming, and artists can create an exclusive experiences: Dua Lipa with LIVENow, Billie Eilish with Maestro, or as British artist L Devine did, embarking on a “URL Tour”. As Maestro’s CEO Ari Evans said when talking to Music Ally“Creators need to embrace the fact that the internet is not a one-way broadcast medium”. 

In 2020 and 2021, Music Innovation Hub took a step forward with Heroes, and alongside companies like Mandolin in the USA and LIVENow in Italy and the UK, they launched a platform that could do live music justice: paying musicians, and creating an exclusive D2C offering giving music fans pay-per-view access. Heroes was one of the first ticketed live streamed music events, providing a valuable blueprint for years to come. 

Linecheck also had to adapt its music meeting and festival format: last year’s event was a virtual-only affair, and this year was a hybrid format, combining an in-person conference and festival experience at BASE in Milan with livestreaming content, and live showcases screened in real time from Milan, London, Paris, Berlin, Hamburg, and Haldern. 

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