The day started (for me) with a panel discussion on digital music and mobile distribution. This was in a separate room from the other discussion regarding podcasting. The mobile discussion didn’t have translation and the entire panel was speaking in Spanish. It was basically an hour long Spanish comprehension test for me. I was then invited to a panelist’s lunch by my new friend Sam Levin. It was great to be able to sit down and talk to the panelists over lunch. Everyone had great stories that I could really relate to (and would most likely be extremely boring to 99.9% of the rest of the population). Gerd Leonhard told me about his days at the helm of licensemusic.com during the internet bubble, spending tons of venture capital money with big offices in San Francisco only to crash along with the hundreds of other companies during the time. It actually sounded like lots of fun.
Simon Wheeler of The Beggars Group told me about his day to day accounting headaches. Sheets and sheets of invoices for royalties of pennies all to be added up, accounted for and paid out. We have the same types hassles at PIR but on a somewhat smaller level. It was a good warning to keep building good accounting practices as we grow.
Talked to a couple of people from Pitchforkmedia who I had never heard of before but their music site is apparently very popular.
There were quite a few representatives from various Catalan government agencies and when asked about what they do and how they promoted their service they answered “we have spots on the radio”.
Sam was incredulous, “have you heard of internet!? do have any internet promotion at all?”
To which they replied “we are working on building our website”.
If there is one thing I learned from this entire conference is that the Catalans (for the most part) are firmly stuck in the 80′s.
They go on and on describing how the internet is a terrible thing, people are stealing music! the government must do something to stop these people from stealing our music!! we have to go back to the old days when people bought CDs from us!!!
Good grief! Wake up!
Anyway, the panel on internet payments was promising in the beginning but turned into a “let’s go back to the old days and shut down the internet!” type of argument in due course.
The final workshop called Digital Distribution with the 7 major Spanish digital distributors was about as boring as they come, long Powerpoint presentations, people reading from their scripts with their heads pointing at their shoes.
I left after 20 minutes and enjoyed the rest of the beautiful sunny Barcelona afternoon.
All in all I enjoyed the Digital Music 2.0 conference in Barcelona, it had it’s good and bad points but it was great to be in a roomful of like-minded people for two days.
Oh yeah, there’s also a good chance I’ll be one of the panelists next year.