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Beyond The Soundbytes Conference

15th November 2006 @ 9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Venue: The Foreign Press Association

Introduction

Record Industry In Crisis?

The IFPI’s recently reported 4% global decline in music sales for the first six months of 2006 is compounded by a massive 22.4% drop in US album sales in Hip Hop (Soundscan) the US market’s second largest and traditionally “growth” genre, across the same period. This looming crisis will be further exacerbated by the fire-sale of some 90 US Tower Record Stores, set to flood existing retailers with cheap CDs during the industry’s busiest period, and leave a string of unsecured creditors in its wake.

Meanwhile governmental and transnational reviews abound, scrutinising the role of DRM, the European levy system and digital content delivery industry, and the future infrastructure of intellectual property itself.

Evading Oblivion, Building Tomorrow’s Business

The constant and unrelenting state of change affects all parts of the global record industry and Music Tank’s forthcoming no-holds-barred debate will gather those from the highest levels of the business and beyond for a one-off attempt, unprecedented in its honesty, to brainstorm the nature and structure of the record industry of the future.

This conference has been developed to facilitate debates arising in response to the recently published MusicTank Report – Beyond The SoundBytes – by Peter Jenner and the suggestions made therein. It will deal in broad terms with viable future business models to help the recorded music business better embrace digital and new media advancements. It is intended to encourage and stimulate discussion within the industry on potential reforms needed to facilitate these models.

It will deal in broad brush strokes and encourage creative, forward-thinking ideas, transcending day-to-day business problems in order to envisage a better, more equitable future for all parts of the recorded music business that meets the needs and expectations of the public at large.

To obtain the Full Report pdf (1,425 KB), click here for full details. Those purchasing the report will have £30 deducted from one Full Price conference ticket – all details below.


The programme comprises an introduction by Peter Jenner to be followed by and four interactive panels and a concluding summary, and will be moderated by Keith Harris.

1. Consuming Music Part 1 – What’s The Big Idea?

2. Consuming Music Part 2 – How Should The New Model Work?

3. Getting It Out There – Changing Artist / Label / Media Relationships

4. Managing The Process


1. Consuming Music Part 1 – What’s The Big Idea?

Access and ownership business models

“In the future it is likely that the consumer will want access to a huge amount of music to explore and listen to and, to have a sense of ownership of/purchase a much smaller quantity of music. Perhaps pricing in the future needs to be based on this distinction, which is in the mind of the consumer, rather than in its technological distinctiveness”.

“The flagrant spread of ‘internet piracy’ in developed countries is a reflection of the failure of the industry as a whole to develop an appropriate business models in response to the distribution and remuneration options made possible by the new technologies”.

  • How can business models deal with the blurring distinction between a performance and a mechanical and does this distinction still make sense?
  • How will consumers relate to their access and ownership of music in the future and their willingness to pay?
  • How can business models deal with the variety of ways that consumers want to access and own music?
  • What role might Digital Rights Management systems have in new models that develop, e.g. to monitor what music is being sampled, who should be remunerated, or to differentiate music-to-own from music-to-sample? Is there a future for Technical Protection Measures?
  • How could this inform and relate to the recently launched European Commission public consultation aiming to make the Europe’s online content market more competitive? How does this consultation link with other EU Directives and consultations currently pending, such as that to harmonise levies? Where’s the joined-up thinking?

2. Consuming Music Part 2 – How Should The New Model Work?

How should it be applied and administered?

“We need to deliver a service to consumers by enabling technology to develop in a way that then rewards creativity at a price and in a manner that is attractive to the public”.

Infrastructure 

  • Collecting societies have done an admirable job in dealing with mechanical and performance rights on a territorial basis, but if we were starting afresh for the digital age how might we redesign the European collecting society structure?
  • What role might the collecting societies play in the future? What do creators want from them, what do distributors want from them, and what do consumers want from them?
  • If we need to start again, would an intermediate fix be to create a new institution (a One-Stop Shop) that sits across the existing societies?
  • How could this One-Stop Shop function? And what relationships would it have with the existing societies, distributors and consumers?
  • If a blanket licence for non-commercial digital services (P2P, digital radio, webcasting) was to be developed, how would the revenue collected be split?
  • How might such blanket licenses be administered and streamlined, nationally and internationally? What of countries with copyright blackholes, or little or no effective collecting society?
  • What is the effect of competition between collecting societies? What impact might this have on creators?
  • How can we make sure that large and small stakeholders are treated equitably?

Services 

  • Who would commercial services (be it a navigation site, social networking or P2P service) negotiate terms of a licence with – the collecting societies, a One-stop-shop, or the labels?
  • Is it acceptable that the sites such as MySpace and YouTube use music for free?

3. Getting It Out There – Changing Artist / Label Relationships

Copyright 

  • How might the contract between artist and label change? What would be the most ideal copyright system, working from first principles?
  • What changes to copyright term and function need to be made?
  • Should we create a non-assignable remuneration right, that kicked in after the normal time of amortisation of the financial investment? What other systems might work?
  • How can we facilitate competition that allows for efficient, effective and equitable transactions to take place between creators and consumers?
  • Term extension – how this should be taken forward?

Moving From Manufacturer To Manager

  • How will tomorrow’s record company develop to best exploit the new system?
  • How do you distribute and market?
  • How will radio and press be affected in this new economy? What changes do they need to make? Are they achievable? Eg radio (podcasting, DAB Radio and Simulast DAB Radio) press (blogging), video (YouTube)?
  • How can businesses effectively move from PUSH to PULL marketing?
  • Will labels move to become venture capitalist rights licensors/managers, in partnership with creators, their managers and/or enablers (indie labels, publishers etc.) all benefiting from a variety of different income streams?
  • What other investment vehicles might exist? Could fans become investors? Could the financial sector get involved?

4. Managing The Process

What types of research need to developed and supported?

  • What is the elasticity of demand for music and how does (can) this impact business model development?
  • How do consumers currently use music and what indications do these patterns have on the future?
  • How can we develop effective, efficient and equitable ways of working that ensure the connection between consumer and creator where the creator gets paid and the businesses that facilitate this connection can be profitable?
  • What is the role of competition and where should competition policy focus in the future?
  • What kind of value-added can intermediaries (record labels, publishers, etc) really provide in today’s music industry?
  • What steps can we take to facilitate and manage these varying areas of research?
  • In the short-term how can we best create and support dynamic ways of working that will allow music-related businesses to be profitable and stay alive long enough for long-term solutions to be implemented?
  • What should be the role of local, national, and trans-national government be in all of this?
  • How can the music industry speak with a better and more unified voice to government, to enable relevant discussions to occur that might otherwise run into regulatory problems.
  • How can we make the business work globally in an environment typified by varying attitudes to intellectual property and hence copyright, and hugely varying per capita incomes?
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The Foreign Press Association