Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What is the Future of Music?
by Kwasi Fordjour

Students attending the enticingly named “Future of Music” panel were impressed when they realized that they were going to be accompanied by Ted Cohen (Managing Partner, TAG Strategic LLC), Tim Bucher (VP of Consumer Software, Dell), Amanda Marks (A Strategic adviser for Universal Music Group) and Matt Adell (VP of Music Services, Napster).

The panel, which was held the first full morning of GRAMMY Camp®, opened with an in-depth introduction by the panelists. After recalling how they were recruited into the music business the quartet of music industry heavyweights gave a brief summary of their careers and the roads they took to reach their positions. Cohen then initiated the discussion by speaking about the humble beginnings of the music business and how the creation of the Compact Disc changed people’s perceptions of music and the amount they purchased. But what really sparked many responses from the GRAMMY Campers was the topic on illegal downloading and DRM.

The campers were asked if they were illegal down loaders or honest buyers. Cohen responded to the campers that honestly admitted that they are illegal down loaders by stating, ”We are in the age of recommendation. It’s not about file sharing anymore; distribution is trivial.” He recommended websites that can indeed distribute music worldwide. But the question that really ignited back and forth banter between the campers and the panel was, “If we are out of the age of illegal distribution why is their DRM Protection on music?”

This question began a dialogue on how file sharing is being replaced by subscription because the average consumer doesn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on music to put on a portable device. The conversation was then directed towards Amanda, Tim, and Matt, who discussed the details and motives of DRM. They returned the conversation to the campers, asking them about their average buy of music for their IPOs and the majority of shared music on their Ipods. Stimulated campers wanted to know in return how file sharing affected the music industry and were labels turning to the internet to market artists. “But if the music industry is moving towards a technical age what is the point of a major label if an artist can do it independently?” The panel responded by stating an artist can market themselves on their own but in order to receive international coverage they need a label that has the right resources. All in all, the panel got GRAMMY Camp ’08 off to an informative start.

“I feel that I would take away more information about the music industry and places I can take my music to get it exposed to the public,” said Ramond Harris, a Music Production student.

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