The afternoon sessions of the Bandwidth Conference focused on the future, as some panelists attempted to look into a crystal ball and others described using a vision of a dystopian future to promote a Nine Inch Nails album.

The two-day music and technology conference gathered leaders from those intersecting fields to discuss musical discovery and purchasing trends.

The founders of 42 Entertainment, president/CEO Susan Bonds and chief creative officer Alex Lieu, described how they used alternative reality games to draw fans in to participate in the launch of Nine Inch Nails’ “Year Zero.” They decided to use the record’s concept of a bleak future to create puzzles and give listeners clues to stimulate dialogue around the album. For example, they created websites that appeared to be sent back in time, and commissioned artists to paint murals depicting the lyrics and ideas on the record.

The last panel of the day featured Michelle Quinn of the Los Angeles Times asking Richard Gottehrer of The Orchard, Steve Jang of imeem, and Craig Palmer of Gracenote to share their predictions for the future of the industry.

Palmer predicted that social networks would replace album art as a way to learn about and share with musicians. Gottehrer predicted that albums will become evolving projects, with artists doing things like releasing a few tracks every few months in addition to releasing static records.

Jang said that many companies run the risk of falling prey to opportunity overload and letting their core missions get diluted.