Digital Music Forum – set in the relaxing and hip Roosevelt Hotel in the heart of Hollywood – DMFW is attended by senior digital media leaders at top technology and media companies, startups, record labels, artists and management, media outlets, industry associations, investors and law firms.

Registration includes access to all speaking and networking sessions on Oct. 3 and 4, including invitation for Oct. 3 Reception, Oct. 4 Luncheon and Oct. 4 VIP Reception (open bar in roped off area at Tropicana Bar).

The Giveway

We are happy to give one lucky reader a pair. Leave a comment with your interest. I’d love to hear from you on how the digital world has turned the music industry on its head, and what you think the future holds for musicians and/or labels. Your answer can be serious or silly, We’ll send one thoughtful commenter to the DMFW in Hollywood! The winner will be picked during the day tomorrow. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you!

Maybe I’ll see you there and we can keep our eye out for KCRW’s Garth Trinidad together!
Betsy

PS…. If you want to cut to the chase and ensure your entry, visit: http://digitalmusicforum.com/west/

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  • http://www.nenaanderson.com Nena Anderson

    I'd love to attend this! Digital music has changed not only how we listen to music, but our accessibility to it as well. As an independent musician, it excites me that technology has made it possible to easily experience music globally. It's also affordable for to create and distribute it easily as well. I remember carrying around the portable record player and records to my friend's house. Or boombox and cassettes to a beach party. We've come a long way!

    I do have a few issues with the digital music world, however. Generally speaking, we've become accustomed to the lower quality of mp3 compressed sound and have made it acceptable. And while it has greatly made independent music more accessible, it also has flooded the market with much lower quality musicianship, recordings, and songwriting. It does give us more to choose from as an audience :)

  • Garrett Kurai

    In regards to the music business, the digital revolution in music has all but toppled the old commodities of the music industry. Old music objects—CDs, records, tapes —have been all but replaced by intangible digital files. Anyone can download almost any song, with or without paying, for free. The centralized power of the major music industry labels and power brokers has been shattered [insert Stones song here]. It’s a power shift similar to what happened when the Gutenberg press allowed for the mass production of the Bible and helped pave the way for the Reformation and the end of hegemony for the Catholic church. Yet according to the Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the digital mouse: “The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.” Like the Gutenberg press, the internet delivers information (here music encoded as data) to the masses. Yet it does so faster and easier than ever before. Musicians must be proactive in this new digital economy. Finding new sources of revenue, like music licensing for film and TV, is the challenge for musicians. Peter Gabriel on the digital upheaval: “A new world is being created —“one is dying —“and if artists don't get involved, they're going to get screwed, like they usually do.”

    1. http://www.businessweek.com/1997/25/b35329.htm
    2. http://edition.cnn.com/2004/TECH/07/20/peter.gabr

  • http://www.sisterspeakmusic.com Lisa Viegas

    To put things simple…a musician like myself, can reach my music, share my passion WORLDWIDE with a touch of a button! How cool is that? I have people around the world listening to my music I create! Once the band travels, the focus is now on the LIVE performances and how you as a musician and performer can give them their own unique experience through a concert. The music industry changes SO often! My focus, live performance:) then everything else will fall into place.

  • Monique Villa

    As a recent college graduate, I have been curious about the intersection of old and new media forms throughout my study; so curious in fact I built my entire custom degree around a newly emerging field of study entitled "Convergence Culture." At UC Irvine, I employed an interdisciplinary program through the Bachelors of Humanities and Arts to build an area of study combining Film & Media Studies with Studio Art. My argument resulted in titling my degree "Visual Media in Convergence Culture," where I argued in favor of Visual Media as a dominating media form where media efficiency is the very essence to a company's vitality.

    With this in mind, digital media and music has directed the music industry in a very visual manner, as opposed to the physicality of yesteryear. The physicality I speak of has to do with the tangible: LP's, 45's, cassette tapes, compact discs, and the very act of going to a store with four walls to buy the latest release. Entire albums and artist collections are now being purchased on these small screens we carry around in our pockets. The money we are forking over is no longer in our pocket, but merely a wire transfer of sorts from our online banking app, as we watch the number decrease yet the contents of pockets are not once addressed. The media experience here lacks the tangibility and physicality indicative of the music industry we once knew, and instead has a focus on a much smaller portrayal of album art (roughly a few inches across, depending on the size of the screen), and a digitized version of the songs. If this hasn't turned the music industry on its proverbial head, I don't know what would.

    With this being said, those of us researching these phenomenons of media translation from the phsyical/tangible to the visual can't help but join the conversation of what's still to come. The only thing that hasn't changed in this entire transaction is the act of listening to the music. Or has it? The mobility of digital music being a fluid concept has its definite advantages on behalf of the fans, however the artist and record labels are having to learn this concept of free downloads. That is quite a bit to digest after riding the record sales highs into the 1990's. So what is an artist to do? Theorists are screaming, "Embrace it!" while record label execs are scrambling to try and see how monetization can still prevail. Meanwhile, the artists are engaging with their fans–or at least the smart, viable ones are. It's about making a tribe who will fork over hard-earned recession money for a concert ticket, a t-shirt and a vinyl, just because it sounds better than the digital versions. Fans know what artists had for breakfast the morning of the big show, and will play the album or singles repeatedly as they get ready for the concert. But is that really the answer? I would hope Digital Music Forum West would shed light on these topics at the very minimum, providing insight for us media researchers as to where this is all leading us. Believers in the pendulum effect will argue we are in the middle of a big swing, sure, but that the answer has still yet to have been found. Send me to this conference so I may take copious notes as people I greatly admire shell over their insight.

  • Sherri Anne

    The digital world has and is revolutionizing music – the way we share it, the way we create it, and the way we listen to it. It is a cutting edge time for Indie artists especially to really get their music out there. In today's music world even with a simple high quality home recording you can create a sustainable music career for yourself. Artists no longer have to depend on a major label to really get their music out there.
    In terms of sharing the music, Facebook, twitter and other online social media have begun to replace posters and television ads for sometime now; Record stores are going under, while iTUNES and Amazon etc are increasing in sales every year, and more and more musicians are delving into their music careers without depending on major labels or major booking agents to get their music out there. Any musician can put a decent album up for sale on iTunes and other online stores independently, for free, at any time, and promote it online and at live shows.
    Musicians today I believe are even changing the way they create music to adapt to the way music is being heard. A couple decades ago, an album was often carefully crafted with the idea that the album will be heard "all at once" and on an actual sound system. Now albums are created to be appealing in any order, and sonically appealing through new technologies such as iPOD's, iPAD's and Smart phones in particular.

    This digital revolution is looking bright for Indie Artists and will allow them to flourish if they play their cards right – through online social media they can get people to live shows independently, book tours with online press kits independently, and create their own high quality albums at a solid home studio, and release their music fairly easily to online radio(Pandora, Spotify) and many online carriers(iTUNES, Amazon) at low cost and completely independent of a record label. It is an exciting time for blooming musicians to take their careers in their own hand.
    For many major labels, however, the future is looking bleak unless they adapt to the digital world and have more respect for the artist. The search today for many artists is not for a major label to take them in and try to make them a star – the search has, I believe, become much more genuine – to find fans and friends that connect to the music, get them to a live show, and get the music in their hands. And if a musician wants to take their career to the next level, it seems much more appealing today to work with an Indie label that will give a musician more musical freedom, adapt to the digital world changes more genuinely, and agree to allow the artist to keep 50-70% of CD/song sales for the music they create, instead of the typical Major label who often only gives the artist 5%.

    One major problem that may arise in the digital world is that soon there will likely be an overload of new music for listeners, and people will begin to search for a simpler way. It will likely be the most popular online social media sites that will begin to have a monopoly on how music is shared and listened to, and they will become the "major labels" and "stations" of our time.

    The "Digital Revolution" is hand-and-hand with the "Indie Music Revolution" that is growing more every day. The most success for musicians and people in the music industry will likely come for those who address these questions: how do we adapt to the digital world and evolve with it? And how can we create the next phase of the digital revolution?

  • Will Stockwell

    The digital age has brought permanent changes to music creation, marketing, discovery and consumption. Previously, new and unknown artists without the financial backing to excel in theses areas experienced attenuated success. This paradigm is shifting very rapidly.

    Technology and the internet allow smaller players to gain traction in a market previously controlled by few.

    Professional quality demos are achievable with home studios. Recordings can self-published and sold directly to fans via physical media, online in the iTunes Store, or a self-branded web-store.

    Social media has made sharing and promoting music more accessible than ever. Videos from a band your friend “Likes” have the equal weight of financially promoted content in social channels. Direct communication is ubiquitous, with a two-way dialogue possible between the artist and end listener.

    When an artist is ready to take the next step, investment in future goals can be crowd-sourced using systems like Kickstarter. This places control in the hands of those who care deeply about the art itself.

    The trend isn’t just limited to the music industry either. Comedians Louis CK and Rob Delaney sell audio, video, and tickets directly to fans. Self-published e-books end up on Amazon.com’s best seller list. Horizontally integrated publishers, distributors and promoters are increasingly circumvented in markets once dominated.

    Longterm contracts with strict clauses have been a source of contention and in some cases, restrictive of creative output. Music veterans Radiohead, Garbage, and Queens of The Stone Age publicly celebrated the completion of their respective recording contracts.

    A proven business model isn’t effective if it loses relevance. Myspace completely revolutionized online independent music presence and discovery. However, while Myspace rested on its laurels, other players took the reigns and continued innovation while Myspace stagnated. The artist and consumer moved on to better solutions. Loyalty is in the content, not the system.

    As competition in the music industry reaches a fever pitch, the key is being adaptive, while favoring new ideas. Labels must emphasize good material while providing terms that foster artist creativity. I see an expansion of mid-sized, well-curated, boutique labels.

    With lower barriers to succeed, more artists will enter the music industry taking thinner slices of the metaphorical pie. Revolutionary music and ideas will still gain traction and flourish due to easier ways to discover more content.

    Immense change is in motion and it’s exciting watching the future of the industry unfold so rapidly.

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