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SXSW festival happenings.  CEO Ian Rogers was on the panel “Man vs Machine: The Curation Dilemma”. Music curation, of course, is precisely what Beats Music is trying to solve. Pandora, Google, Gracenote, Rdio and TastemakerX leaders were also on the panel.  Some quotes by Ian Rogers captured from Twitter during the panel:

“The new gatekeepers are people with taste, who I trust”
“Curation from trusted sources will drive distribution in future”
“Music is not just sonic, it’s cultural”
“The opp is serve music up in a way thats approachable. Putting 20m songs in a box & saying good f*cking luck is not approachable.”
“We’re going for more “Feels like” than ‘Sounds like.’ It’s not, ‘You like Mumford & sons here’s another song w/ banjos.'”

What would SXSW be without giveaways – Beats Music is making personalized “The Sentence” tee-shirts here.

Lastly, Spotify’s Chief Content Officer Ken Parks told Billboard that with their freemium business, Spotify converts over 20% of users to subscribers.  This is an extremely high percentage.  Usual conversion rates are 2% to 4%!

Considering this conversion rate, Spotify wants to attract as many people to their offerings.  Time will tell if Beats Music will need to adopt a freemium model to attract users and turn them into subscribers.  Currently they only offer a 7-day free trial.

Spotify is gearing-up to grow as they received a $200 million credit line this week –  leading many to speculate a public offering is coming.