Saturday, October 07, 2006

Future of Music Coalition summit - Day 2

I started Friday with "The New Deciders: Metafilters, Blogs, Podcasts" panel, which I suppose was a little redundant given the blogger panel that concluded Thursday's session. Of course, a lot of mention was made of Pitchfork Media, their infamous ratings and their taste-making ability, but Patti Schmidt did a great job of keeping the conversation open. The panelists agreed that maybe there aren't any "new" deciders but that the proliferation of blogs and 'zines are necessary to sift through the sheer amount of stuff that is out there.

After lunch, the panel "Young Musicians" congregated Torquil Campbell (Stars, Memphis; much more affable than I've previously heard or read from him), Win Butler of Arcade Fire, Toronto composer Brian Current, and Bernadette Houde of Lesbians on Ecstacy. Lawyer Chris Taylor was a bit of a dry moderator, but did keep the flow of discourse going. Mostly the granting programs of Canada (FACTOR, Canada Council) were addressed, and the sort of catch-22s that arise from them: when you really need the money, when you're first starting out, you can't receive a grant, and then once you start being able to finance yourself on your own terms, grants start coming your way. Current mentioned the other problem that often plagues Canadian artists - it's only after one receives attention abroad that one garner praises at home, but opportunities abroad will not present themselves without some level of status at home. A lot of jokes were cracked - the most memorable anecdote being Bernadette's band being forced to open a bank account under the name Lesbians in Ecstacy. Sex prevails once again in Quebec.

The best panel, by far, of the conference, was the DIY online distribution panel. Carl puts it very well, indeed:
But I was really really glad to have caught the panel on "DIY Online Distribution Models," which may sound dry but actually included a group of people more inspiring than any other at the Future of Music event - people who are actually using new media to do great things for artists, rather than fretting about "monetizing" something they don't really get.
I was most intrigued by Bryna Gootkind, Melissa Ferrick's manager, who proved that the somewhat isolationist model can work; Shannon from Magnatune, whose site facilitates a lot of services that are usually filled with paperwork and headache; and of course Brian from ArtistShare, because a) he's a musician and composer and understands what musicians and composers do; and b) he's one of the few non-rock/pop/indie/alt-whatever people talking at the conference.

I'm bailing on this morning's copyright/p2p panels because I find it redundant, and as the DIY panel proved yesterday, I'm much more intrigued by people presenting options and positing new ways forward in this brave new world than trying to fit square pegs into round holes. I'm looking forward to the Bob Ezrin string session this afternoon, as well as the indie label summit - Ninja Tune, Arts & Crafts, and others.

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