The third and final day of the In The City conference came to a close Monday with a lively panel discussion on new British music.

Culminating in a tribute to the late Tony Wilson, who passed away in August of this year, the forum predicted a positive future for music consumers, but offered little hope for major record labels in the face of falling album and single sales.

Echoing the dominant theme of this year's convention, much of the talk centered on artists increasingly adopting a DIY ethic and bypassing conventional industry routes when it comes to recording, releasing and promoting records.

"I think it's a great time because technology has made music that much easier," said Mark Jones, managing director, Wall Of Sound, who are currently having U.K. chart success with Revered And The Makers. "You can do it yourself now and get yourself on to that first level. The equipment is there for you to be able to do it. The beauty of MySpace is that it's opened it up," he said on the panel, hosted by journalist and Goldblade singer John Robb. "That can only be a good thing."

Earlier in the day, keynote speaker Jonathan Poneman, joint founder of Sub Pop Records, offered a rather more down-to-earth assessment of the changes that the music industry is currently undergoing.

"The music industry has basically been in a state of transition for the entire time that I've been participating in it, which has been well over 20 years now. As I'm sure many of us can attest, staying on top of the new challenges, keeping abreast of artists and maintaining one's enthusiasm is a challenge, [as is] keeping a business going in the present climate."

He continued, "I think that what's going on [now] in the music industry is very exciting in that it supports the music consumer and the music fan. As someone who participates in the music industry I obviously don't want to see the music industry shrivel up and die, but as a fan first and foremost, there's more information and more music than ever before and I think somehow that's got to be a good thing."

While most of the talk at this year's In The City has revolved around falling revenue and the need for a new business model if the industry is to survive, Poneman did offer some hope for future British acts attempting to break into the U.S.

"That could change when things go from being less retail focused and become more critically focused," he said.

"The great thing about what's been happening for years with blogs and specialist [music] magazines is that people are becoming more informed. I think as time goes by the challenge is going to be for British bands to come to the U.S. and tour, but if they can do so, I think there will be more who break into the U.S. market."

Poneman also provided a colourful insight into what life was like at the Sub Pop label during their boom in the early 1990s and how Sub Pop has survived for almost two decades.

"Truth be told, neither Bruce (Pavitt, Sub Pop co-founder) or I really knew what the fuck we were doing and to this day I still don't," he said. "But I've got better at faking it."

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