One of the many great things about living in Barcelona is that it is a popular place for all kinds of conferences and trade shows. We are attending the Digital Music 2.0 conference this week and I just came back from my first day.
It started off with a ‘where are we now?’ panel discussing the current state of affairs in the distribution of digital music. It basically boils down to people trying to figure out how to make money in a completely new paradigm.
I was surprised to hear how resistant many of the audience members and some of the panelists were to the idea of change. The fact that the record shop as we know it is probably a thing of the past as well as record labels. There is simply no money to be made in this world of $0.99 digital downloads and people seem to be holding on to the old ways for as long as possible.
Some of the quote I heard were “there are no examples of musicians successfully making it on their own using the internet”, “musicians and bands will always need us for distribution, management and marketing”.
I thought I had been transported back to 1996.
There were some great panelists too. The most impressive of the lot were Sam Levin, Gerd Leonhard and Rupert Davies from Virgin Records.
They spoke of new ways for bands to build fan their fanbase using social networking and widgets for promotion. Gerd was especially interesting with his mantra of “get the attention and the money will come”, meaning that people should not be so eager to put a buy button next to everything they upload to the web. Give your product to the people who are interested in it, build a following, get traffic, once you have this attention you will figure out how to monetize it. The goal is to make people want to give you their money instead of forcing them to buy your content before they even know who you are.
I think most of the people that are active in distribution understand this but it sure was a controversial idea to the people in the audience of Digital Music 2.0
Rupert also had some great insights into how tough it getting for record labels these days and that they are constantly dealing with huge changes in the industry and having to adapt to new marketing techniques.
Sam talked about new applications and ideas coming from Silicon Valley, he also gave our company a nice plug in his speech and reinforced Gerd’s comments using our business model as an example.
All in all it was a great time with catered coffee breaks and a cocktail party at a nice hotel at the end of the day.
Here are some links if you want more info:
Panelist: Gerd Leonhard (Media Futurist)
Panelist: Sam Levin (Social Media Consultant)