Universal Motown Republic Group executive VP Cameo Carlson approaches digital music from a unique vantage point, having previously worked as manager of music programming at iTunes and as rock and alternative music director at AOL Radio.

Carlson will be a featured speaker on the Digital Now panel at Billboard's Music & Money Symposium, taking place in New York March 4. There, she will detail the keys to successful digital initiatives - like those with Lil' Wayne and Owl City - and will point to the opportunities and challenges facing the industry in the immediate future. What follows is a preview of the topics she will address.

What are your overall thoughts on the state of the digital music business?
I think digital as a whole is still very exciting. We tend to get tunnel vision around the fact that digital is not making up for the loss of physical. But I don't think that's really the goal at this point. I think it's about finding new ways for fans to connect with artists through experiential marketing and sales. I think there's access people have never had before. For fans, it's an exciting time. It's up to us to really care what the fans want, what they're looking for, how they connect, and using that to our advantage to market that properly.

Any artists you'd like to point to as ahead of the curve.
Radiohead on the unsigned side of things, and even what Coldplay did. They idea was they really understood what their fans were looking for, and had their fans help them. They utilized technology and how you could reach people quickly and what you could give them, and utilized that really effectively. Now they're huge artists and have really rabid fan bases so that doesn't work for everyone. But if you can take artists as big as that and you can let fans price their own album or give away a free track from someone like Coldplay. That was unheard of. We did something similar with Owl City. We gave away music before we had it for sale. What was fascinating to me was we were selling as many as we were giving away, but all our marketing was around the free stuff.

Talk about Universal's deal with TuneCore for artist discovery?
It's still pretty early. I think the model TuneCore created got everything right. For us, as we're trying to discover patterns for what will work and it's a great tool for that. These are artists that do all the work themselves. Things happen organically and it's very real. You can watch and know pretty quickly if there's something going on with an artist. If someone comes in with a demo, and maybe they are not ready for what we can do for them as a label, but they're ready to do some work themselves - it's a great A&R source. We can keep an eye on what they're doing and we can be a part of their career when it makes sense.

So does that help you find the kinds of artists that are more likely to release music differently, as you mentioned earlier?
Absolutely, because they have to be more creative. They've had to step out and do things on their own. So they're the consumers as well as the artists. They live in that space, so they're more open to it.

Check this week's Billboard Magazine for an extended interview with Carlson.