From CEO to Sweetie, in under a minute. by Dav Abrams

I am 23, an intersectional minority woman, a rising entrepreneur, and a CEO.

I came from a world of possibilities, a house of chances, and a mind of effort driven results. I came from parents who triumphed adversities. The world — the industry — was going to be my runway. I am standing on its edge, my runway is twice as long, and the double-edged sword that I carry everyday is twice as heavy.

When you grow up as woman in New York City, you develop a very particular type of deafness. You hit puberty, and your ears develop Asshole-intolerance. You step out the door, and almost automatically, you switch on this deflecting deafness. It becomes your shield, and is the only way you’ll be able to withstand the eyes, the calls and the threats. This deafness allows you to live a life without running at every slight chance of danger. So why is it that upon seeing the rose colored industry I longed for, I forgot my intolerance shield and tumbled down the long runway?

This past weekend I attended a trade conference that is known to be the most well-respected and reputable marketplace for my industry. I had heard stories of intellectual exchange, network expansion and progression. What I encountered was a very polarized and fragmented collection of individuals, which presented to me a global glance at a multi-billion-dollar industry. My key takeaways of these four days are as follows:

1. A large majority of the industry still avoids evolution, and has not changed values or operational practices over the last 30 years.

2. Technology integration is valued by many as a passing trend instead of a necessary practice.

3. Real change is being driven by the forty-something-year-old individuals who see diversity, equality, creativity and iteration as our most promising solution for success.

Being the hyperaware female that I am, I was naturally drawn to the other women professionals I saw. I attended all the women-led and women specific events and counted (on one hand) the female presence on each panel and in each specialization. Music business has historically been a place where women are underrepresented. Having known that, I appreciated these specific events that were meant to bring together those who valued the female presence in such a dynamic industry. However, contrary to what some might want to believe, the reason there are women specific events, is because the majority of the industry is still run by older white males, who take a side of misogyny with their morning coffee.

These four days took my rolling strength and confidence, and quickly shook me down to a vulnerable gazelle in a sea of lions. I learned that in 2017, I am still living in a world curated by “grab her by the pus**y”-minded individuals. I met executives who saw me as powerless, “beautiful AND sort of smart (I guess).” I encountered seemingly professional meetings, with heavily sexualized undertones. So how do young women professionals break an industry of structure and objectification?

We don’t. We build a new one.

By attempting to fit strong, young women into the framework of the old industry, we result in two scenarios: The first is the “I don’t take BS from anyone” woman who acknowledges her place in this game, and plays by the rules until she wins. She sees top ranking men objectifying her and is smart enough to know that as unfortunate as this is, it will open the door she needs to finally get the opportunities her intelligence deserves. The second, and one that is all too common, is the “let me just keep quiet” woman. The woman who recognizes that her male superior is too blinded by her body to realize her best asset is her brain, drive and work ethic. She fears being fired, or losing an opportunity because of the current circumstance, so she resorts to saying nothing at all. While many women flutter between both situations, neither are truly effective, and in fact both perpetuate the very issue we are trying to combat.

We’ve seen for years the efforts of feminist trailblazers make strides of success. This is no small feat, and in reality opened the doors for my peers and I to work towards our future. Nevertheless, we are still attempting to fit a new, empowered generation of professionals under the leadership of the tyrant sexism that holds power. So let’s not fit, let’s build. Let’s create the industry we want to work in by speaking up one by one, and face our individual autocrats no matter the shape they might take. Let’s break the longstanding practice of one-too-many unsolicited comments. Let’s build individual courage, and create an industry wide shift. My identity, as I described it earlier has long influenced my daily awareness. It fills my thoughts from mundane daily tasks, to the most high stake business situations. This will never change. What I propose is for our identity to show us where our true human power lies. In all that I do, in all that I am, I am, and always will be, reminded that I am a woman.

I choose to use this double-edged sword as my most powerful weapon, and I hope you will too.

#thenIsaid

The Impulsive Foot-Tap by Dav Abrams

For music lovers all over the world, it is difficult to put into words the euphoric experience of listening to the greatest artists of a generation. While the definition of great fluctuates depending on the era, certain artists, such as Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, David Bowie and Beyoncé withstand the test of time, and are considered musical legends.

As humans, we have an innate response to music, which provides us more than just entertainment. It causes a physiological response. Lets call it the impulsive foot-tap. You know which one I’m talking about… …Hearing something that tickles the brain cells, thus causing the impulsive foot-tap subconsciously. I believe this response is what has kept us coming back to music for centuries, and is why there will always be a music industry.

In 1981, the creators of MTV understood the power of the impulsive foot-tap, and changed pop-culture forever. They paired together music and visuals, and for the first time broadcasted it in Technicolor. MTV popularized music videos in a way the world might not have been ready for, but embraced with open arms. This pairing reinforced the impulsive foot-tap, and brought to it a multi-sensory dimension. With this came two ways of experiencing groundbreaking art and what’s more, we could dance along to it. This shift pushed artists of the time to challenge their creativity, and experiment with new spaces to create. The results? Thriller
 
 Fast-forward almost 40 years, and we see truly innovative artists struggle to push the limits of a medium that has been around for nearly a century. By not advancing the medium, we are forcing superstars to carve masterpieces out of stone. It is time for a change. It is time to challenge artistic creativity, as well as the consumer’s understanding of music. Virtual Reality will do this.

Virtual Reality provides more than just high-tech visuals. Within its immersive nature, lies the true power of its innovation. By breaking the standards of filmmaking, creators can communicate to their audience in ways they never before imagined. Artists can have the new canvas they’ve been searching for. In experiencing the world an artist creates from the inside, audiences can see, feel, and impulsively foot-tap along to the very euphoric qualities that have always drawn us in. The results?

AtraVerse.

AtraVerse is a full service creative agency producing narrative driven virtual reality content for the Music Industry. We connect the pivotal players needed to create extraordinary audio-visual experiences. My business partner and I started this company because we saw the potential that virtual reality offered artists as a new medium of expression as well as a lack of creative exploration happening within it. We want to guide the players of this market through successful partnerships, in order to bring back the magic that happened when music videos were something new.

On June 23rd we will be launching the world’s first virtual reality visual compilation album. We will travel through the journey these three artists have taken during moments of isolation. We will reimagine what the impulsive foot-tap means in 2017. We will find out what we as humans share, during the moments we Seclude ourselves.

Join us.