Announcing The Free! Summit... And Some Other Speaking Gigs

from the talk-talk-talk dept

As regular readers of this site know, I'm pretty passionate about how businesses need to understand the economics of "free" in figuring out how to create business models that work. So, I'm excited to announce that I'll be hosting and emceeing the newly announced Free! Summit, to be held in Silicon Valley on May 11th.

Chris Anderson (whose book on "Free" will be coming out in just a few months) will be keynoting, and we're pulling together the rest of the participants as well. The event is being produced by the fine folks from Tech Policy Central, and works as a nice lead-in to their Tech Policy Summit that will start immediately after the Free! Summit concludes. In fact, attending the Free! Summit gets you access to the opening session of the Tech Policy Summit as well. And, yes, registration to The Free! Summit is, in fact, free. But... there are a limited number of seats, so sign up now. Also, we're very much looking for individuals or organizations interested in presenting case studies on how they've used free as a part of their business model. We already have a few lined up, but feel free to suggest others of interest.

I hope that many of you can join us for what I'm sure will be a great series of discussions on "free" and what it means for business models, policy and the economy.
Separately, there are a few other events I'll be participating in that are worth mentioning:
  • First up, I'm going to be keynoting the Leadership Music Digital Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, to be held on March 23 -- March 25th, where I'll be doing an updated version of my MidemNet talk. It's yet another chance to talk with folks from in and around the music industry.


  • Next, I'm thrilled to be keynoting the Mesh Conference in Toronto, Canada, being held April 7th and 8th. I've attended Mesh the past two years, and it's a fantastic event for (as they say) connecting, sharing and inspiring around all sorts of new ideas relating to the internet, media and new business models. That talk will be a brand new one focusing on digital media business models, followed by an interview with Mathew Ingram and a Q&A. If you're in the Toronto area, don't miss it.


  • Also, the week of March 8 - 14th, I'll (once again) be in Edinburgh, Scotland, giving a whole series of talks at the University of Edinburgh. I'm not entirely sure which of the talks are public and which are for students only, but two events that I know are public are the talk I'll be giving to the Edinburgh Entrepreneurship Club on What Makes Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley on March 10th and then I'll be attending/participating at a special BarCamp Scotland on March 14th.


  • Because I'm in Scotland that week, I won't be able to attend Canadian Music Week in person in Toronto, unfortunately, but they will be showing my MidemNet talk during one of the sessions on music business models.


  • Finally, unfortunately with all the travel on my schedule, I'm going to be unable to personally attend David Isenberg's fantastic Freedom to Connect even in Washington DC on March 30th and 31st, but if you're anywhere in the area, you shouldn't miss it. It's a great event focused on "the emerging internet economy" with a strong focus on the policy angles related to internet connectivity these days. You're probably already aware of Isenberg from his regular writings on the subject, but he pulls together such a great braintrust for his events that you'd be crazy to miss it if you're in the area. And, along those lines, he's agreed to offer Techdirt readers a special $100 discount on registering for the event. Prices actually go up this Saturday, so if you want to attend, you should register now...
That's it in terms of speaking events for now. There are, of course, a few other private speaking engagements that I'm doing (if you're interested in having me speak at private events, please contact us), and some other events that are in the works... In the meantime, I hope to see you at one of these events!

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  1. identicon
    Weird Harold, 27 Feb 2009 @ 5:50pm

    Nope, sorry, you missed my point.

    1) Band A makes money selling music and concert tickets. Band B supports free music and makes money selling concert tickets. Directly or indirectly, Band B has lowered the value of recorded music. Enough Band B types, and recorded music loses almost all it's value (the current situation with P2P music trading, example). So we have our current situation, bands making little on recorded music, and trying to make all their money on concerts.

    What happens though if a new type of band, call it Band C comes along and gives away the music for free, and gives all free concerts, with the intent of selling merchandise at those free shows? In theory, if enough bands join the Band C movement, the value of a concert drops to near zero (after all, if it's free all the time, who would actually pay for it?). It's the same logic in the end.

    2) MC = MR is misleading in context, because it ignores completely the costs to create the product to start with, and all the other costs related to getting it to market (including all that lovely marketing that we all enjoy, those appearances on the tonight show and whatever else is done for "FREE" in the process). If a standard Radiohead album costs a million dollars to make (their time, effort, recording time, equipment, mastering, producer's salary, whatever) and they sell 1 million copies, just the setup costs are $1 per unit without any distribution.

    Admittedly, if the bad wants to work for nothing, pays nobody to do any work, doesn't count their time as having any value, and uses only existing equipment and buries the costs of electricity and whatnot somewhere else, then yes, music costs nothing to produce. Most of us don't have the luxury of working on something for a year full time on something with no intention of ever making a cent back.

    Real marginal costs are NOT important, provided that what you are using to cover the free part sells enough to pay for the free part. If you sell enough t-shirts, the concert can be free, because net there is a profit.

    I understand the idea that "products that are free to reproduce behave differently than those that are not" - but that in the end, the only people who can truly afford to do this are multi millionaires who don't give a crap if they get paid for their efforts or not anymore. When a musician no longer can make money for their music, most of them will stop making commercial music altogether and go back to playing cover tunes at the local bar for beer money, because it's more profitable.

    The entire "free" concept in the end is pretty much just a nice excuse by people who can afford to be flippant to look great to a group of people who can't afford anything. (rich musicians and poor college students)

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