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Academics / Study at the Popakademie / SMIX.LAB


Digitalisation poses one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century for the music and creative industries. For over a decade, established structures and processes of the music and media industry have been undergoing a process of transformation and repositioning toward the conditions of a digitally connected market.

As an interface between the online world and the traditional music industry, SMIX.LAB, founded in 2008, sees itself as a competence centre for digital music business. It serves the imparting of digital knowledge and future-oriented research, it investigates modern possibilities of music marketing, and it wants to help shape and initiate. The research lab is primarily available to the students of the Popakademie, but is also a potential starting point for all those working in the music industry. Its goal is to foster the qualifications and practical skills necessary to develop viable, sustainable solution models for the music industry.

SMIX.LAB Divisions

Current cooperations
In collaboration with international training and consulting firm Music Ally, students at Popakademie's SMIX.LAB have produced a report on the impact of playlisting on the continued streaming of emerging artists:inside. It is an original study that looks at Spotify data in a series of case studies to better understand the impact of playlisting on the "breakthrough" of some of 2021's biggest newcomers. The study is aimed at artists:and marketers:who want to rethink their approach to playlisting emerging artists and should help them make decisions in this regard with more confidence.
Link to the report.
Courses of study
One of the aims of the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg is to continuously develop a forward-looking curriculum - with SMIX.LAB playing a major role in terms of digital trends and advances in the music industry. Students can specialize in Digital Innovation Management during their main course of study. The courses in the SMIX.LAB teach the necessary technical infrastructure and its contemporary use, also in the field of music marketing. At SMIX.LAB, students are supervised and supported in the preparation and writing of research papers as well as bachelor and master theses with a future-oriented thematic focus.
In their main course of study, students from the Music Business and the Music and Creative Industries degree programmes carry out one practical and one research project per semester as part of the project workshop. SMIX.LAB acts as a partner in the implementation phase with explicitly forward-looking topics and acquires suitable partner companies and institutions that could be considered clients or project partners.
Future Music Camp
SMIX.LAB organises an annual, nationally recognised conference for digital music and creative industries called Future Music Camp.

Popakademie Digital

Cover excerpt PopakademieDigital #5

With PopakademieDigital, the Popakademie Baden-Württemberg publishes white papers on topics related to digital music marketing. These whitepapers present trends from the Internet and the digital music industry in a simple, understandable and practical way.

PopakademieDigital #5: (How) does TikTok influence the German charts.
The social media platform TikTok plays a major role in modern music marketing. However, little data exists on how exactly TikTok influences the German music industry. The project of SMIX.LAB under the guidance of David Stammer in cooperation with the music/data analysis company Chartmetric investigated this connection. The topic is of particular topicality, as TikTok continues its rapid development as a leading medium for young people and thus addresses one of the most important target groups for the music industry. The research project attempted to analyze the musical influence of TikTok on the German charts and thus make it measurable.

PopakademieDigital #4: The digitised festival of the future
The music festival market is booming. In Germany, about 1600 festivals are carried out every year. Because of the market oversaturation, it is becoming more and more difficult for promoters to stand out of the crowd. In the fourth edition of our whitepaper series, four of our students, among others, write about AR/VR technologies, voice assistants, blockchain and smart data, all with respect to the music festival market.

PopakademieDigital #3
In the music industry, blockchain technology has been one of the most prominent buzzwords of the past few years. The proponents of the technology claim that it could transform traditional structures in a fundamental way and solve many of the music industry’s problems: these include the “metadata disaster” and the lack of a global rights database, contract intransparency (especially in the context of complex pricing models in the digital age), as well as the authors’ and artists’ loss of control over their rights.
In the third edition of the whitepaper series with the title "Blockchain-Technology - Potential for Implementation in the Music Industry", author Vanessa Fliegauf looks at this complex issue, creating a simple means of engagement. Fliegauf not only addresses the above-mentioned problems but also shows how the blockchain works and its implementation potential for the music industry.

Previously Published:

PopakademieDigital #2
In the second edition, »Musicians on Instagram – an Update« Steffen Geldner, former Project Manager for Digital Innovation at the Popakademie, brings successful German musicians on Instagram under focus again and analyses their interactions on the platform. The goal of the study is to describe the status quo, identify key figures and compare these with data from 2015: how much has the interaction rate grown? How many new followers did each profile gain? Which German musicians are the most successful on Instagram? A status report and the changes from the previous year constitute the second whitepaper.

PopakademieDigital #1
The first edition gives an initial overview of successful German musicians on Instagram and their performance on the platform: who is active, and in which form?