MIDEMNET celebrates its tenth anniversary this year and reflects on what Ted Cohen, TAG Strategic’s managing partner and chairman of the MidemNet Visionary Chair Committee, describes as “the worst of times and the best of times”.
Although traditional models have suffered over the past decade and labels slow to adapt have been submerged by a wave of new, brilliant digital pioneers, the future is an exciting one for independent music artists and fans.
“Now it is less about dreaming the future and more about getting down to business,” said Cohen. “We are no longer railing against technological advancements and looking into blue skies, imagining what we could do that is really cool. We are now thinking simply about achieving something that works, being practical and looking at models that can monetise music and create wonderful experiences for music fans.”
Cohen said that MidemNet 2009 is all about celebrating the technological foundations now in place to allow services to build. “We now have affordable computers, we have mobile networks that can deliver content fast, we have broadband; technological barriers have lifted and we are rapidly moving from music as a product to music as a service,” he continued. “It is not about how much music we can aggregate but rather how can we navigate all the music now available to us.”
Cohen believes a new phase of next-generation problem solving will emerge over the next few years. Companies will have to think about discovery and recommendation tools — how to help music fans find what they want and also introduce them to new music. “Labels must be geared towards experimentation rather than overthinking,” said Cohen. “The key is not to fear innovations but look at them as windows of opportunity.”