Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music, kicked off the New Music Seminar Tuesday at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts with a keynote interview conducted by New Music Seminar Founder Tom Silverman. The address focused on the cyclical nature of the music industry, as well as the effects of technological advances on the music industry.

During the address Holt revealed MySpace Music's plan to release data measuring the popularity of music on MySpace, which will be released mid to late August 2009.

Holt, as well as Silverman in his introduction to the keynote address, discussed the increase in popularity of single song downloads since 2004. According to Holt and Silverman, this is an idea that echoes the successful business model of the record industry throughout the 1950s and 1960s. It also remains a business model that both claimed has potential to grow in the coming years as digital music sales increase.

Holt lamented over the problematic nature of commercial radio formats due to their inability to allow new and unique musical artists reach audiences, which he emphasized is a particular area of strength for MySpace Music given its democratic approach to content. "You wouldn't hear Bad Brains and Miles Davis played back to back on radio stations, except maybe college radio, yet this is how people consume music today - very randomly," Holt said.

Holt spoke of the Web's capabilities to serve audiences' alternative listening patterns. Once additional trending and market research is completed, the Web's potential to help musical artists gain popularity and monetary gain will increase, Holt said.

Silverman and Holt, however, also spoke of the negative effects of technology on the music industry. With widespread recording technology making it more cost effective and easier for artists themselves to record and release music, Holt pointed out the overcrowding effect this creates. "The art must rise above the software used to create it," Holt said.

As Silverman pointed out in his introduction, 105,575 albums were released in 2008, with only 110 artists selling more than 250,000 albums the same year. Because of this, the ability to reach audiences in key markets remains more crucial than ever, Holt said. He advised musical artists to think carefully about which Web tools they use to garner attention and, as Silverman phrased it, approach change with a do-it-yourself attitude.