Un-Convention Salford ’09 Day two.

Right after hunting all over Manchester for some free Wi-Fi (eventually found some at a Coffee Republic, limited to 20 minutes though) I’ve picked up all my emails and tweets ect. I now feel a bit more connected.
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Yesterdays panel was a little un-inspiring, it’s a shame really as the wealth of experience in the room was heavy, but then so was their collective mood. I think the elder statesmen of the industry painted a rather gloomy picture of how the industry was progressing.

Today’s first panel, led by the insightful Andrew Dubber (www.newmusicstrategies.com) should be more uplifting I suspect.

The title ‘Outside the box’ seems to resonate well with the progression and continued re-birth of the industry. Last nights panel fell straight in to the trap of the labels are dying and can’t make any money so neither can we. This is a very pessimistic view of industry progression and indicated that the labels are the industry which is a massive misnomer.

Last night when the discussion was opened up to the floor for questions the room was dead, then Andrew Dubber asked a question centred around the fact that peer 2 peer file sharing exists and that this tidal wave will be impossible to stop, his statement included that obscurity is more dangerous to musicians than thousands of illegal downloads. The panel were perplex slightly at this statement. This unfortunately mirrors how the greater industry and to extent the general public view this creative sector. The question of how to monetize music and provide music practioners with an income needs addressing, today’s ‘outside the box’ panel should go some way to answering the need for change and a more open business model.

Music makers need to view them self’s as a small business and consider the positive impact of a portfolio career on their income streams.

Un-Convention Salford ’09 ‘Outside the Box’ after thoughts

What a fascinating panel chaired by Andrew Dubber, some really diverse experiences and information. The general vibe from many was the notion of being happy with the art/music you produce and that this underpins your approach to facilitating your business.

The idea of not using the internet as it can interfere with being a practicing musician doesn’t sit well with me, nor some other panel members. The internet and in particular social media does not have to take up all your life. Panel member Steve Lawson high lighted the fact that he doesn’t own a tv, and where many of his contemporise watch television he uses the internet and it’s components, thus utilising them, still leaving enough time for the creation and practice of music focused activities.

Some of the delegates (for want of a better word) here are seeing for the first time that you can make the music that makes you happy and fulfilled, while also maintaining a living from creative activities.
The idea that you can make a sustainable living from your art, with out being famous or falling in to rock starism is a positive move to a fulfilled career.

Un-Convention Salford ’09 The Modern Role of Collection Agencies.

Wow, all I can say is this is complicated and many people feel aggrieved by the various agency’s (and what they are calling them self’s these days).

I truly feel for the guy’s sat at the front on the panel, most people either seem perplexed or really pissed off on what the PRS for Music (the new name for PRS-MCPS) and the chap from the PPL (who is actually quite funny). Tempers are running very high though, not sure I really want this stress.

It has definitely high lighted the need for change with in music licensing and the education given on it. These organisations are large and slow moving, much like government agency’s. It would be good to see better and closer likes between music licensing agency’s and the people they effectively represent (there for work for!).
Most indie labels run the AP2 scheme, how ever the majors (plus a few extra) run the AP1 agreement. The AP1 agreement allows labels to only pay a licence on the amount of cd’s distributed, not on how many are produced, the fee in this instance paid to artists is 7% against the AP2 12.5%, but then it’s a numbers game, the 7% ultimately would probably been a higher fee over all. It’s a complicated business and I’m not sure every body here really understands how these organisation really work.

A simpler system coupled with more education and contact with users would be the ideal answer, just not sure it’s going to happen.

Un-Convention Salford ’09 ‘Art as Culture’ Discussion
For Andrew Dubber’s crew at the tree house, part of their mandate is to archive music , they propose many things (see http://www.stevelawson.net for the live blog), the most interesting being a use it or loose it policy on music copyright. Fantastic idea, to achieve this they are proposing a to install a lobby group help instergate change.
Another idea was a caped limit on copyright, using the pharmaceutical industry as a positive example of this. It’s an interesting concept that I hope will on some level see fruition.

Un-Convention Salford ’09 Day 2 round up.
I’ve had a fantastic day, met some wonderful , insightful and interesting peeps. Learnt a lot and seen some fantastic bands. High lights so far: Out of the box panel (poor title), were ace, some really interesting stuff and food for thought for many. It was a nice change to the dower big business ideals of yesterday. The idea that you can make the music you want, that makes you happy is an achievable and realistic ideal. Hopefully every one (panel included) took some thing away from that one.

The art as culture discussion was fascinating, it drew allot more people than expected. Even though bands were sound checking during it still proved to useful.
It’s been lovely to see so many people that are deeply passionate about what they do and want to communicate with the others on the subjects they love.

The concept of not DIY but Do It Together , sharing information, skills and tips is great. Hope fully this will build a more sustaining business model that is self supporting.

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