Listen to Meredith Reese talk about Digital Asset Management
Henrik: This is Another DAM Podcast about Digital Asset Management. I’m Henrik de Gyor. Today, I am speaking with Meredith Reese.
Meredith, how are you?
Meredith: I’m good, thanks for having me.
Henrik: Meredith, how are you involved with Digital Asset Management?
Meredith: I’m the Digital Asset Manager for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. I’ve been here for now just about a year. We implemented a brand new DAM right when I started and it’s been fantastic so far.
Henrik: Meredith, how does one of the world’s top orchestras use Digital Asset Management?
Meredith: They use it for just about everything you can think of. I personally sit in the archives department where I’m responsible for preserving all LA Phil historical records and serving requests both internally within the association and for outside users. But we also maintain a complete audio and video archive for our orchestra members to review. So we’re currently using our Digital Asset Management system, not just for historical purposes and research of all types of assets, but also for the orchestra themselves, which makes us pretty unique as far as orchestras go. And then we also support all of the affiliate groups that help out the orchestra. And we’re a nonprofit organization, I should mention. So we have a lot of volunteers, but we do have a full-time staff within the association that is responsible for all the administration of the LA Phil, planning the season, executing the season. So we have a full-time production staff who works directly with the orchestra and our music directors.
Meredith: We have a full artistic planning staff who actually programs the seasons and we have a marketing team within who does both digital and physical marketing. And really all of those groups are constantly creating assets all the time. And they’ve seen all their assets grow just within the last five years. And also as part of the archives, we manage a museum. We managed the Hollywood Bowl Museum at the Hollywood Bowl. The LA Phil has two homes. We have the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown LA, designed by Frank Gehry. And then we have the Hollywood Bowl. There is a lot of history to that performance as well. That’s not just, you know, classical music, but, all the pop programming that we do throughout the year. So we’re responsible for exhibiting in that space. At the Hollywood Bowl Museum and then we have a couple of spaces in the Walt Disney concert hall as well. So all of the assets that are being created by the organization are being used and shared and reused on a regular basis. It’s actually surprising that they didn’t have the Digital Asset Management system until now.
Henrik: Meredith, What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve seen with Digital Asset Management?
Meredith: In general or here at the Phil[harmonic]?
Henrik: Either. Or both.
Meredith: Either? I would say here at the Phil, it’s been, We’re a small nonprofit on team, but we’re still people who work within those silos. That’s actually been quite surprising to me that there’s not more interaction or collaboration the teams, but that’s starting to change the culture. Starting to be more open, more transparent its definitely, our programming is a lot more dynamic. It’s not just your traditional classical shows anymore. There’s constant overlap. When our music director, Gustavo Dudamel performed elsewhere, also conducts other orchestras, but as well as his collaborations that he does here at the Walt Disney concert hall or at the [Hollywood] Bowl. And so it’s really gotten, people into more of the spirit of collaboration, but they still have a hard grasp on their assets. You know, who owns what, who can see what, who can share. And as they start to get more use of digital asset management system and we’re used to being able to search those assets, they realize first of all that metadata is really important.
Meredith: Making their stuff searchable and, especially information around rights, how they can use these assets, how they can reuse these assets. They’re starting to get more comfortable with that process and the silos are starting to break down little by little. We haven’t definitely a new collaborative spirit around here, but it’s just starting. I think we’re just barely scratching the surface and our DAM tool really does sit as the tool to help that along. So my challenge is really change management challenges, making sure that people are comfortable with the system that’s working for them as well as, how we can innovate later on. That’s I mean innovation is a huge challenge with DAM in general, but it’s something that I believe strongly in, you know, that we have to keep, you know, making this tool better and better and meet the needs, not just why we got the tool in the first place, which was really just to solve the influx of digital assets that are here, the association, but really think about, you know, what are we going to be dealing with in the future?
Meredith: What type of assets are we going to be seeing from both a technological standpoint and being able to describe them with good metadata and being able just to share them with the best way to share our information. We’re going to be seeing a lot more audio and video content is my guess and we’re going to be seeing a lot more data around that content. That’s going to be really important and we’re also going to have to open our doors to the general public. We’ve got a lot of demand to make audio recordings available to researchers and just music enthusiasts. So we’ll see if we can meet that demand too. That’s on the horizon. Launching a DAM system that the musicians could access as a pretty big success that just happen. So having a team of orchestra, you know, full-time world-class musicians that rarely really interact with the administrative folks and now they’re working in one system is pretty amazing. That definitely has broken down the two biggest silos here in the association and that took a lot of planning just to roll that out, to configure it correctly. I mean, streaming audio from a DAM system. Our DAM is off the shelf. You know we have a software as a service model. So technologically it wasn’t that challenging, but getting people comfortable, training them, making sure that it would meet the needs and that it was compliant with our union contracts and how we treat the musicians. How musicians treat restoration was really, really important. And we’ve got more on the horizon. Another big plan that we’re rolling out is a project management tool to sit within our DAM that will help the marketing group, basically, bring assets in and organize them and share them in a more streamlined way. And it’s also gonna help with scheduling our entire orchestra season.
Meredith: I come from the entertainment industry and so I’m used to TV seasons and film schedules and tentpole projects. And so working with an orchestra, it’s really all about the concert season for that year. And LA Phil is demanding, we have two seasons, we have the winter season and the summer season at the Bowl. And so being able to schedule that and make sure everybody’s slotted in the right space is a day to day. yeah, it’s just taxing on so many people. So we’re trying to move those processes internally and really associate them to all of the content that people are making along with the performances. Our whole taxonomy, if I can dive into the metadata kind of Geeky side of what I do is based off of performances. We have a hierarchy that’s based on the season. And then the locations that are venues and then the performance dates and then all of the works associated to that date.
Meredith: And we work directly with our music librarians who actually prepare the music for every single performance that the orchestra does. And then we have guest artists come in and that has its own challenges too. Yeah, it’s all built on the back of how the season is scheduled. So we really needed a system that would address that. And so we’re calling it project management, but really it’s project management and plus scheduling plus asset wrangling plus work in progress collaboration all under one system. It’s going to give our users that one stop shopping experience that I think most people are looking for
Henrik: Meredith, what advice would you like to share with DAM professionals and people aspiring to become DAM professionals?
Meredith: I would say just get as much experience as you possibly can and don’t be afraid to take risks and don’t be afraid to try new things and all of your failures are going to be just as valuable learning opportunities as your successes. My past experience definitely taught me that. And so I entered in the LA Phil. I was, you know, just about prepared for anything. And so it’s been nice that I haven’t, you know, had to have as many struggles in previous places and the adoption process has been really, really smooth so far, but I would definitely inspire people to keep at it and be persistent and try new things and dive into your metadata and your data models and really understand them. I think the biggest skills I’m seeing for DAM professionals, you know, are really those that match a data scientist, you know, the analyzing and the ability to, you really get down to good, you know, data model building and good taxonomy structures and, you know, really rich metadata and how that’s mapped, how that all fits together. But then being able to, you know, explain that to all your general users. And I think that’s the biggest skill someone can bring to DAM today.
Henrik: Well thanks, Meredith
Meredith: Thank you
Need a Digital Asset Management Consultant?