Tech CEOs Team Up to Create New Web-Tracking Technology
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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Many fans were floored when they learned that Pharrell – the Vivienne Westwood hat wearer – earned less than $3,000 from the 43 million digital streams of his infectious, chart-topping hit song Happy on Pandora. While some point to this financial imbalance as the reason streaming services should be shut down, let’s face it – on-demand digital music is here to stay. But PredPop (Predictive Pop), a new proprietary web-tracking technology, just might be the answer to the decade old question of how to properly compensate artists for every instance their music is enjoyed online, without rewinding the clock to the “good ol’ days” when fans were forced to shell out $20 for an entire album.

[RELATED: Jay-Z Set to Relaunch Tidal, a New Music Service]

“We are creating a brand new source of revenue that the music industry does not have right now,” says Shelton Mercer III, PredPop co-founder and CEO of the charitable platform TwitChange.

While Pharrell’s income was only diminished slightly, streaming services offer an essential subsidy to independent and lesser known artists whose music won’t illicit hundreds of thousands of dollars from concert tickets, commercials, radio play, and merchandising.

“We specialize in using data and analytics to find new paths to monetization for the music industry,” says Jon Gosier, who co-founded the company with Mercer. “We looked at all of these conversations around streaming with Tidal and Apple Music, but we noticed that, with all of these new efforts, none of them really solved the problem, which is to stop the tide of declining revenue for artists from their actual music.”

Currently, PredPop is marketing two products: a data visualization dashboard that helps music execs, advertising teams, and the managers of artists track music impressions and make revenue decisions based on social media activity, artist sales, shows, and streaming activity, among other things. The second product is an audio cookie that monitors music listeners worldwide, to improve the way online ads are targeted.

Predpop’s music data canvas project explores 25 years of chart-topping hits through data visualization. It looks at the number of weeks the songs charted and the years they were released, with links to corresponding videos on YouTube.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.