Lauren Bissell – the Producer…
She has worked with figures and stakeholders such as Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, Willie Nelson, NAS, Matthew McConaughey, Dave Chappelle, NASDAQ, Comedy Central, South by Southwest, Universal, and Sony, to name a few. Her cinematography was also featured as the famed opening scene of the recent Netflix release, The Great Hack (Official Sundance Film Festival premiere, BAFTA Nominee, shortlist for The Oscars).
She grew up listening to classic rock… Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd… She laughed, “And I have a Grateful Dead tattoo on my left buttcheek, hahaha! I was the Supervising Producer of Austin City Limits Live and was a business partner with Willie Nelson and Family in my 20s… There was nothing else I wanted to be doing. I was a bit relentless!”
…and Lauren Bissell – the Entrepreneur
The work of a producer leads her to found Immutable Industries. It is a private firm focused on the advancement of emerging technology, blockchain, building IoT protocol, and data rights in the media and entertainment industries and beyond.
Lauren Bissell explained, “I come from an industry that has historically suffered from new and emerging technology. The music industry tends to be one of the first to suffer and the last to adapt. Immutable as a term is a nod to the emerging tech world and literally means ‘unchangeable… unyielding or fixed.’ I like to look at it, in music terms, as ‘not mutable,’ aka not able to be silenced, not able to be stopped. The paradox here, which I quite enjoy, is that the music industry has to be adaptable to change in order not to be ‘muted.’ That’s where the fun in the name came from.”
The importance of applying new technologies
In a rapidly changing world of technology, it’s hard to keep up. The music industry is often last to adopt new industry standards and constantly suffers from a shrinking or shifting financial pie. New technologies like blockchain / NFTs, AI, and AR/VR have infiltrated the entertainment industry. Many people still don’t even really understand the real benefits or how to use them in a sustainable way. “I help artists and companies to understand these technologies and create new industry standards from a strategic proactive angle, rather than a reactive one,” Lauren Bissell told us about the nature of her business.
New ways for artists to connect to fans…
“Blockchain technology has brought incredible freedom to many artists and given them more options on ways to create their work and allowed for new revenue and funding streams that also create an incredible bond with their fans. It’s really a beautiful thing for fans to have the opportunity to help fund artists they love and then participate in the upside of those successes. Fans now get to be a part of the music their favorite artists create.”
In Lauren’s view, “If implemented correctly, NFT’s also allow artists to build a more tight-knit community and show love to their superfans, tying exclusive access to special experiences and giving their fans something to cherish. Sure, there is the tradeable NFT market aspect, but community building and nurturing relationships with fans is the sustainable piece of this puzzle. This is where NFT’s prevail.
…and to manage their operations
Lauren Bissell pointed out to further benefits of applying new technology, “Backend blockchain protocols also allow artists and publishing companies to manage their catalogs much more effectively and ensure that artists, writers, and all parties are paid appropriately.
The tech is constantly developing and will continue to yield new use cases for the industry over time. She wrapped up, “I want to see our industry run towards the opportunities rather than shy away from them, and most importantly, in a sustainable way!”
There is a dot that connects everything. For Lauren Bissell, it is music.
“Music has always been the foundational piece of my life. As a really young kid, I used to sit in front of speakers for hours and hours on end. Music and sound were and are literally a language to me. Growing up, I would spend many of my weekends at a world-renowned music studio in the desert that belonged to a family friend. It was acoustically designed by Vincent Van Haaff, who was one of the world’s leading acousticians and studio architects. I can still remember being woken up from naps on the couch by crazy rock musicians yelling over me, “Hey kid, get in the booth!! I need a kid’s voice on this track!” Music obsessed, growing up in that environment was complete heaven for me.”
Much later on, university studies took the young girl to the American University of Paris, a half liberal arts and half diplomatic University. She took her Degree in “Global Communication” and Minor Degrees in both “International Law” and “Business.”
Working for Cambridge Analytica
“As my career progressed, I kept looking around me and realized that many of the systems in our industry were broken. The business side of the industry seemed to function with a complete lack of innovation and new ways of doing things were often looked down upon. It occurred to me that music was an industry that functioned on fear. So I set out to innovate.”
“In 2018, I was recruited by Cambridge Analytica to build out a music and entertainment vertical based in New York City. Unfortunately, what I didn’t foresee at the time was that my real job would be to collect data in a very unique way that provided insights on people based on their listening preferences and choice patterns. These data were to be used in international elections. Thankfully, that department never saw the light of day. Data ethics are at the forefront of public conversation and legislation today. I set out to figure out how these technologies could instead be used in a positive and beautiful way for the industry.”
Working with governments and countries worldwide
“My first big job was as a Program Officer for Melody For Dialogue under UNESCO. So, I have always been involved in various areas of diplomatic and international work. We used music from different cultures to aid international relations and diplomacy. It was such an incredible concept. We also produced international events like the Opening Ceremony for the Asian Olympic Games in Guangzhou, China, as well as concerts, symphonies, and choreographed pieces for diplomatic forums.”
“I’m a part of the Windsor Castle Alumni in Special Consultation to the United Nations. We bring together talented entrepreneurs and world leaders at Windsor Castle to hold focus groups for problem-solving and to add structural solutions for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We are also launching The Future of Finance this coming year, which will be a digital program for multi-generational education on emerging financial systems.”
Harmony is key for disruption to yield success.
As an influencer, Lauren Bissell has been invited to speak at locations internationally. “When I put together roundtables or my own events, I prioritize having cross-industry representation in the room. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen startup companies pitch solutions for problems they don’t understand. Often they present a solution that goes against music copyright law or something that will get their customers blacklisted from other parts of the industry without even knowing it. How can tech solve the music industry’s problems if they don’t understand the industry or what the real issues are? Everyone wants to create a disruptive technology, but at the end of the day, harmony is key for that disruption to yield success.”
How does Lauren Bissell view the future of crypto?
“It’s important to focus on the sustainability of something. If you’re investing in a cryptocurrency, remember that you are really investing in the business behind that currency. If there is no viable business plan or other use for that technology, then what are you really investing in? The cryptocurrency markets are suffering right now, but the true and long-term benefits of these technologies to the entertainment industry aren’t based on market fluctuations. It’s about the technology itself and the capabilities it provides. I’m an evangelist for creating systems that bring you closer to your fans rather than releasing quick NFTs or cryptocurrencies that don’t have a real purpose. I’m most interested in blockchain technologies that are community-building and provide long-term practical solutions for problems, rather than quickly fluctuating currencies.”
For her, fashion is an incredible medium, an artwork
“Fashion has always been something I have extreme amounts of fun with. I’ve been through countless eccentric phases of style in my life — from gothic to preppy and everything in between. I’m one of those people who literally have to try everything and I was never scared to change things up and experiment in life. I’d say my style now is pretty consistent. I love artistic and edgy fashion that is also very sleek and professional at the same time. A lot of what I wear is inspired by music. Very early in my career, I was worried about standing out too much, so I toned it down. Now I like to have as much fun as possible and I think my crazy style has become a part of my personal brand. I’ve been known to speak on stage in some pretty crazy outfits, hah!”
Her advice to businesswomen forced into facing unavoidable challenges
“We are definitely in one of the most challenging eras the world has seen in a long time. There’s a lot of uncertainty, ups and downs. A lot of women I know who have started their own businesses are hurting. On a practical level, I would say always make sure you have set up multiple sources of both passive and active income for yourself. I would also advise you to be creative and look beyond what everyone is telling you. We tend to view whole markets as going “up and down” but really, things are always just shifting. One submarket might be in trouble which brings opportunities in other submarkets.
It’s important to remember the beautiful things that we have in our lives when things are difficult. Gratitude is what brings us through crisis. An artist I really love sings, “Remember life, and then your life becomes a better one.” You’re more resilient than you think you are.
Her future project: sonic studies
“I’ll be excited to share when it’s ready – My next project will be focused on soundscapes. The science behind how our sonic surroundings define our experience. I don’t think people realize how much sonic waves affect us, even and especially beyond what we audibly detect or hear. The earth has a sound, you know, a sort of hum. One of the projects I brought into our work at UNESCO focused on sonic waves through the use of scientists at NASA to communicate in space. There’s a lot to be discovered here. I can’t express how excited I am for the future of sonic studies.”
A favorite quote
“Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.” – From the original Superman.
AN ARTCODED PRODUCTION @art.coded
Muse: Lauren Bissell @lauren.bissell
Photographer: Reinhardt Kenneth @reinhardtkenneth
Producer: Gina K Park @ginakpark
Fashion Stylist: Michelle Wu @michellewustyle
Make Up Artist: Archangela Chelsea @archangelachelsea
Hair Stylist: Antonio Ferrer @vivalamane
Hair Assistant: Ja’el Serrano @serranostudiosla
Lighting Director: Rielle Oase @really_rielle
Videography: FLASCH @flaschworld Gaffer: Gerald King @kingerald_photo
Grip: Matt Mendoza @matt.mendoza.media
Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam