CMJ Panel Action Shot: The "Seasoned Experience Implemented in New Music Industry" panel (from left): The Orchard's Richard Gotterher; moderator Robert Singerman; Mom + Pop's Michael Goldstone. (Photo: Chris Palermino)
The latter half of the 33rd CMJ fest's panels focused on the internet's continually changing role in the new music industry. Thursday and Friday's panels included I Stream You Stream We All Stream… For What?; A&R = Arithmetic and Research; and Global Social: Worldwide Impact of Social Media and Music among others. Veteran industry players Michael Goldstone, Mom+Pop Records founder; Richard Gottehrer, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Orchard; and moderator Robert Singerman, consultant for LyricFind, 88TC88 and Brasil Music Exchange wrapped up the discussion on Friday with theSeasoned Experience Implemented In A New Global Market panel that examined transition and transparency in 2012's increasingly digital music industry.
After introductions and the history of how NYC-based indie label Mom + Pop and the global indie music and video distribution company The Orchard - now based in 20 different global markets - developed since they were founded (Mom + Pop in 2009, The Orchard in 1997), they dug through pivotal topics in the digital industry. Goldstone hit the main point early on, pointing to the instantaneous nature of the internet: "anything can happen from anywhere." Staying on top of that mantra is key, as while technology is challenging, it should be embraced. "You can't fight technology, or it'll sweep you by… like Spotify," he continued.
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Social media loomed large on this panel - the powers of YouTube, Facebook and even Skype were summarized as "vehicles to promote, but more challenging to convert," by Goldstone. In between friendly banter, Singerman tied the thoughts together succinctly. "If you work enough, the tools are here. It's about bypassing the gatekeepers, who wouldn't share or provide information [regarding] technological advances."
Both Gottehrer and Goldstone's business models cut through the 'gatekeepers' (the major labels) and focus on where tracks are being played and where their music is succeeding.
"You can use that as an influencing factor," Singerman said. Even Gottehrer, who spoke of how the transistor radio was the iPod in the '60s and hiding the "devil's" rhythm and blues music from his parents, understands the value of new technologies. "Now, you're supporting an artist instead of a track. You can know more about [fans through online analytics] and engage with them."
While it may be easier to find fans, Gottehrer doesn't think that this will lead to an increase in fan spending. "I don't think people are going to pay more. It's just going to be an accumulation of packages and single sales. The business itself is an amalgam of different revenue streams."
Goldstone, Gottehrer and Singerman are three veterans who have embraced this new highly transparent, instantaneous, connected world. They concluded that technology does allow people to embrace and discover music - but monetization is still a difficult question being tackled.
"The only thing you can be sure of is change itself. Things are changing, but there's so much information and opportunity for young people. However you do it, you'll be talking about it 20 years from now," concluded Singerman.