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Adam John Williams performing with his Quirkuitar invention at Music Tech Fest

 

Go back just over 100 years or so and have a look at the Music Industry. You’ll see printers putting dots on paper.

Return to the present day, and you can still walk into a shop, buy a piece of paper with dots on it, take it home, and play it on the piano – but it’s no longer the main way in which music is produced, distributed and consumed.

It’s a matter of ratios. When people talk about “the music industry”, they’re usually talking about the dominant popular cultural and economic form of music. There was a moment where that tipped over to the record business – and for good reason. The Electric era allowed for amazing artists and performers to record and distribute studio-crafted works that bridged art and commerce in unprecedented ways. And for most of the last hundred years, the recording business has been central to the discourse of “the music industry”.

You’ll read a lot in the news about YouTube, Spotify, Apple, Soundcloud, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Nokia and other tech giants “negotiating with the music industry” over one thing or another. But that’s not actually what’s happening. Those guys ARE the music industry. They’re negotiating with record companies. Where “the music industry” is located has shifted again.

How do we know? Consider the value – economically, culturally and socially. Digital technologies have become the main way in which people get value, generate meaning and make money from music. Technology is The Music Industry. And, like the sheet music that preceded the record business, it’s no longer a matter of sitting down passively consuming. The technologies that are already available to us, and that are being invented daily, provide more and more ways for music to be something participatory, not simply mass produced.

But whether in the Print, Electric or Digital Age, the music industries have always been complex and diverse ecosystems. The same is true today. More so, in fact.

And all this is interesting because it demonstrates where the greatest opportunity for music now lies. The real opportunity for music lies in the culture of digital environments. It lies in digitally-mediated experiences. It lies in many-to-many forms of communication. It lies in interactivity and collaboration. While artists will make art and consumers will consume it – that dynamic has become far more interesting and complex than ever before.

At Music Tech Fest we’ve found that a combination of digital and physical technologies – software and componentry – provides a space for new modes of expression, a sense of immediacy and whole new types of musicality. We’ve discovered “Gunk” – Geek Punk. Rough and ready musical outpourings using tech. Forget three chords – here’s a Raspberry Pi, an accelerometer and the Soundcloud API. Go form a band.

Music Tech Fest brings together a global community of hackers, artists, record companies, academic researchers, inventors, publishers, developers, composers, and, of course technology companies. Together, we are the music industry ecosystem… and it all comes together as a piece of performance art. We’re seeing rapid technological innovation in all aspects of music: composition, performance, recording, distribution, media, promotion, collaboration, participation – even in the sheet music you take home to play on the piano.

Perhaps most excitingly – the opportunity is incredibly diverse – and the potential for groundbreaking innovation is virtually limitless. Rather than a small group of dominant major players, this is what the music industry is now: a global community innovating new ways for people to create, share, experience, enjoy and make meaning from music. It’s where the action is – and frankly, it’s where the value is.

That’s why we’ve partnered with the London Symphony Orchestra and are hosting our festival at their home. That’s why we’ve invited the record companies as well as the people who publish the sheet music. That’s why we are working with the people who make all the components and APIs that allow for new inventions. That’s our community.

And that’s why Music Tech Fest both celebrates music innovation and provides a platform for the invention of the future of music: we love the music industry.

 

Andrew Dubber is the director of Music Tech Fest, and an advisor to BandcampStromatolite and Sonaris. He is the founder of New Music Strategies, a pan-European digital music strategy think tank and consultancy group; the author of several books about the music industry; and a frequent keynote speaker at music industry events worldwide. He is also Professor of Music Industry Innovation at Birmingham City University. Be sure to follow him on Twitter!


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About Author

Andrew Dubber

Andrew Dubber is Director of Music Tech Fest, a series of events launched in 2012 as a creative playground - a ‘festival of music ideas’ - in an attempt to bring all music tech creators and thinkers under one roof. It has now taken place in seven countries all over the world. More info via the above link!

1 Comment

  1. Dear Permissions Editor,

    I am preparing for the publication of original work titled: Career 3.0, to be published by Edupreneurs Foundation, A-43, Zamrudpur, Greater Kailash -1, New Delhi, India.

    This work (book) is about gradual disappearance of traditionally stable career paths, appearance of many new job profiles which hadn’t existed a decade ago and an additional challenge to keep oneself relevant and competitive in the job market amidst accelerated automation and development in artificial intelligence.

    I request your permission for printed and electronic version (including all subsequent editions) of the work to include the extract referred below from the article from your publication, in which I believe you hold the copyright.

    Title: Technology IS the music industry
    Author(s): Andrew Drubber

    URL: http://blog.midem.com/2014/08/andrex-dubber-technology-music-industry/#.VSt2ePmUc9Y
    Details of material to be reproduced

    “Digital technologies have become the main way in which people get value, generate meaning and make money from music. Technology is The Music Industry. And, like the sheet music that preceded the record business, it’s no longer a matter of sitting down passively consuming. The technologies that are already available to us, and that are being invented daily, provide more and more ways for music to be something participatory, not simply mass produced. But whether in the Print, Electric or DigitalAge, the music industries have always been complex and diverse ecosystems. The same is true today. More so, in fact.

    And all this is interesting because it demonstrates where the greatest opportunity for music now lies. The real opportunity for music lies in the culture of digital environments. It lies in digitally-mediated experiences. It lies in many-to-many forms of communication. It lies in interactivity and collaboration. While artists will make art and consumers will consume it – that dynamic has become far more interesting and complex than ever before. Music Tech Fest brings together a global community of hackers, artists, record companies, academic researchers, inventors, publishers, developers, composers, and, of course technology companies. Together, we are the music industry ecosystem… and it all comes together as a piece of performance art. We’re seeing rapid technological innovation in all aspects of music: composition, performance, recording, distribution, media, promotion, collaboration, participation – even in the sheet music you take home to play on the piano. Perhaps most excitingly – the opportunity is incredibly diverse – and the potential for groundbreaking innovation is virtually limitless. Rather than a small group of dominant major players, this is what the music industry is now: a global community innovating new ways for people to create, share, experience, enjoy and make meaning from music.”

    The usual form of acknowledgement will be:

    Author, copyright (c) [year][name of copyright owner], Title of the article;

    or

    Author, Journal Title, Copyright(c) [year] Title of Article.

    Edupreneurs Foundation will include the words: “Reproduced by permission of [the owner of the publishing rights]”

    Please would you therefore confirm as the owner of the publishing rights to be quoted as granting permission. If you do not control these rights, I would appreciate you letting me know to whom I should apply.

    Thank you in advance for your attention to this request.

    Yours sincerely,

    Gaurav Gupta

    Edupreneurs Foundation
    A 43, Zamrudpur, GK-1,
    New Delhi, India
    +91.7508035039

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