Yvette Livesey, co-founder and director of In The City, used her opening address on day one of Britain's largest music convention to herald the "beginning of a new era."

Opening the Oct. 20-22 Manchester event with a moving speech, Livesey told delegates that this year's 16th annual event should continue to move forward and not become a wake for her former partner and ITC co-founder Tony Wilson, who passed away in August.

"Tony put his heart and soul into In The City and his spirit will continue to permeate everything that we do," said Livesey.

Later, Tom Silverman, CEO and founder of Tommy Boy Records, also expressed his admiration for the late Factory Records boss, who was depicted in the movie "24 Hour Party People."

"Tony understood that money should never come first; something that I used to fight with him about. He was right," Silverman stated in an entertaining speech, in which he went on to describe the current music industry depression as being like an enema - "clearing out all the wankers who don't belong in this business; interested only in the money."

Later in the ITC program, the increasingly proactive role that music publishers now take in signing, developing and breaking acts, came under scrutiny.

"Publishing companies and management companies are now the people to go pick up and develop an artist," stated Alan Pell, head of A&R at Stage Three Music.

"There's a greater emphasis as publishers find, develop and utilise our resources to best effect," added Richard Holley, director of Creative Affairs, Peer Music, who was one of the people responsible for developing the career of U.K. singer songwriter Newton Faulkner.

"I think record companies take a lot of stick, quite rightly in places, but in the case of Newton Faulkner they saw what we had achieved and took it to the next level."

In the day's closing session, Daniel Miller, founder of Mute Records, used his keynote speech to reflect on his near 30-year music career, and highlight some of the challenges that are facing the industry today.

"The thing that drives me on is to not let the artist down. The problem with major labels is that over the past 15 years they haven't developed artists very well," said Miller. "Time is the most valuable thing that you can give an artist."

Interviewed onstage by British record producer Flood (U2, Smashing Pumpkins, the Killers), Miller went on to describe the impact of the Internet on the music industry as having a similar effect to that of the British boom in independent labels and distributors in the late 1970s, when Mute was established.

"Thirty years ago, it was a musical revolution and a distribution revolution, where it gave people who had no music industry experience the opportunity to put out records," he stated. "In many ways that's the same now."

Miller summed up by describing his twenty-nine years in the music business as having been: "51% enjoyment and satisfaction, 49% pure hell. It's always been just that right side of it."