Well another SFMusicTech conference is over, and now it’s time to distill it all. So short answer, the music industry is still as screwed up as ever. Nobody can figure out how to make money, and everybody points fingers. In one panel you have Micheal Robertson from MP3Tunes saying that you can’t make any money in a business that requires licensing from the major labels, in another panel you have the artists complaining about not getting any royalties. Unfortunately, they are both right – there is a lot of money flowing through the system, but the artist never sees any of it. One insight that I had while listening to all this is that the music industry is primarily made up of middle men. You have the musicians, you have fans – how many people can get between them. While at your next live show, please go buy something at the merch table – at least the artist gets to keep most of that.
On the technology side, the only thing I saw that I thought was really interesting was from ThingLink.com – they are offering an easy way to take a picture and embed a bunch of links into it. Yes, I know that is just a web page, but I think they do it in a very interesting way. Everybody is doing location based concert listings, and everybody is going to get eyeballs and then figure out how to monotize – by they way, no, we are not in a bubble… Oh, and everybody is looking for developers.
From a geek standpoint, the best panel was the HTML 5 discussion. While Adobe/Flash isn’t going away anytime soon, they are going to have to adapt (which they are doing already). Biggest benefits of HTML5 appear to be being able to ditch a big chunk of your flash application (but not always all). Big downside – yes, you guessed it, compatibility…
So interesting undercurrent that I liked to hear – pushback on the algorithm – the need for the human part in music discovery, the role the DJ used to play, and how Pandora hasn’t replaced that need. These feeds very much into some of the stuff I am doing. and is something that I have been preaching for a while.