If you feel nostalgia when you hear Aaliyah’s “One In a Million” or Ginuwine’s “Pony,” then you have been impacted by the musical prowess of mega-producer Timbaland.

With a decades-long musical catalog and an ever-evolving entrepreneurial strategy, the Virginia native shared his insight and expertise at AFROTECH 2023.


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During his session, “From Producer to Founder: A Conversation with Timbaland,” moderated by Silicon Valley Bank executive Tosh Ernest, he dived deep into what it means to understand the “right moment.” He also shared how to capitalize on the power of creativity and understand culture to generate significant streams of income.

“So it’s like, let’s embrace it [artificial intelligence] now and figure out the way to make it cool,” Timbaland said. “And if we take it, it will be at the forefront because guess what, we as the culture, are the coolest people. If we figure something out, I think it can be very lucrative.”

The realization of the power of AI and how it can be leveraged by the creativity and expertise of Black culture is what Timabland has noticed as a growing trend. As the technology evolves, the producer notes endless positive opportunities for impact and earning potential.

“I go on Twitch; I’ll be on all the streaming platforms, and this was genius. Somebody had a Donald Trump AI and a Biden AI live streaming, and they made like $100,000 during a debate on Twitch. So I’m like, how did you do that? Wait a minute,” Timbaland noted.

Being able to recognize this level of creativity is where Timbaland sees his part in all of this. His interest is elevating the people behind the technology and pushing it to get them positive exposure and a regular income.

“I feel like I’m not the smartest person in the room. I feel like I’m just the person to elevate the smartest person in the room to be on this tool,” Timbaland stated. “So I think with all these AI tools, if we just really embrace it instead of pushing it away, man, do you know the money y’all could be making?”

This perspective is unsurprising, as Timbaland has been very vocal about his early adoption of AI technology. In a previous report from AFROTECH, he described the power of the intersection of AI and music and was looking to collaborate with the late Notorious BIG.

While that idea was met with mixed reviews, it pointed to growing possibilities of artificial intelligence and how it will eventually impact the music industry.

Timbaland added during his session, “I’m an adopter because I just know where it’s going. I just know how from the early stages of Spotify when the labels weren’t on board. They didn’t understand it. They were like, how is this going to work? So, I look at how AI can grow your company 10x if it is done right. And I feel like I’m trying to be a solution for it. I can already do the creative part.”

With a packed room, the Timbaland session was only one example of the powerful gems being dropped during AFROTECH. There is still time for you to be a part of it. Don’t miss out on all the powerful knowledge being shared. Tap in to the conference and register here.