SF MusicTech: A New Hope
from the a-new-day-dawns dept
I spent most of yesterday at the always excellent SF MusicTech Summit. And, as usual, I try to pull out a “central theme” that seems to come across from the overall event. This year, I actually heard a few people note that it was difficult to find a central theme this year — but I’m not sure that’s true. What struck me wasn’t necessarily what was being discussed, but what was not being discussed. Unlike past such events, there was no major label presence (if they were there, they were hidden). There was also no talk about piracy. I honestly can’t recall it coming up even once on a panel or in a discussion (perhaps other than Michael Robertson talking about how EMI claimed MP3Tunes was built on piracy after a judge clearly ruled the exact opposite). In fact, there wasn’t even the typical “doom and gloom” talk that so often permeates these conferences.
Honestly, what struck me was the sense that the industry is finally coming through that long dark winter, and that the future is suddenly wide open in front of them. Yes, there were reasonable complaints (some of which I hope to write more about later), that there hasn’t been much “real” innovation or disruption yet. But almost everyone was looking forward and thinking about all the exciting things that could come next. It really felt like an awakening of sorts, where people are finally realizing that the major labels no longer have the power to be bottlenecks, and that the playing field is wide open with opportunity. Lots of people recognize that there’s a long way to go and lots to be done, but it really was the most optimistic “music” related event I’ve ever been to.
So the central theme that I started noticing was a simple one: lots of people in the industry are done with complaining, and they’re ready to move forward. That can only be described as good news.