Last night I was on a panel organised by MusicTank and there was some pretty interesting debate. Not too many new ideas were talked about but there was a fair amount of consensus that the record industry is currently in a somewhat painful process of turning into a music industry as it struggles to get to grips with multiple alternative revenue streams and distribution formats. There was an interesting mix of industry types, music lawyers and analysts / consultants, so there was the normal see saw between talk of increasing margins and protecting the artists. One of the inescapable facts of being a major record company is that the investment community has to be kept happy, which often means that nurturing of artists is compromised.
There was also general agreement that ring tones were hugely important, though opinion of exactly why ranged from them being a ‘distraction’ for record labels to being a fundamental shift in consumption habits for young music fans. For the record (no pun intended) I’m in the latter camp.
All in all a decent discussion, though it was a little telling that the major record labels themselves were pretty un-represented. Which begs the question ‘ are they taking all this as seriously as the industry watchers actually think they are?’