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Blog // Creativity
May 16, 2011

Conferences Revisited

A few months back I wrote a (somewhat) scathing comment about “creative industry” conferences. I did go on and attend the Semi-Permanent conference here in Hong Kong, which proved to be an entertaining but not very useful couple of days. But, the conference that inspired my initial bluster was MusicMatters, which is being held this […]

A few months back I wrote a (somewhat) scathing comment about “creative industry” conferences. I did go on and attend the Semi-Permanent conference here in Hong Kong, which proved to be an entertaining but not very useful couple of days.

But, the conference that inspired my initial bluster was MusicMatters, which is being held this year in Singapore. As I mentioned, I had anticipated and even budgeted to attend the conference, but my interest had waned when it looked like the roster of speakers and panels was looking like a repeat of last years conference. It’s a tiresome refrain I know, but the industry has changed and conferences like this need to change as well.

Since then I’ve decided to attend the conference – largely because of the way the programme has evolved. There’s a greater emphasis on the tech/start-up side of the business and more focus on live music and social networking (last year’s social media panel was a horror to behold). Moreover, the live showcase is even bigger this time around and promises to be a fun event in and of itself.

Perhaps the best innovation the MusicMatters conference has introduced is the integration with Presdo Match, which allows you to see the profiles of other attendees before the conference and request meetings. If you are anything like me, then walking into professional networking situations where you don’t know anyone is a horrific experience. This kind of application allows you to narrow the field before the event and make all those coffee breaks more productive and focussed.

Of course, I’m still interested to see how all this plays out in practice. There will still be a strong “big industry” presence as well as some “manufactured” bands and the usual “you can make money in China” propaganda. But, looking through the list of attendees there are some interesting and relevant people as well, that I’m keen to meet.

As I mentioned last month, I’m writing myself something of a manifesto for the new studio, which I will finish in July (the manifesto, not the studio). At present the opening lines are,

“Imagine that the recorded music industry no longer exists, at least not in the form those of us born before 1993 knew – what role is there now for a recording studio?”

That’s the mindset I’m going to MusicMatters with. It’s a whole new industry – heck, maybe it isn’t an industry at all (take a look at this report on how much the industry has shrunk, post-Napster or, this one on falling concert audiences). It’s a time to listen, learn and experiment.

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