The Truth About Music

"What's hot, what's not, and whats next in pop music"

The 2009 Billboard Music and Money Symposium

Being able to attend a conference of this magnitude is a really intense experience when you are a student. Generally, you are the least informed person in the room at any given time and (in my case) are there to do the tasks that no one else really wants to do. Of course I was a volunteer and was not cast into slave labor by the Hartt School of Music. Getting to listen to some of the greatest minds in music gives lectures on what works and what does not, what they expect to grow and what they expect to flop is an oppurtunity no one should take lightly.

If I were to walk away from anything at the 2009 conference it could be condensed into just four words: 

  1. iPhone
  2. Twitter
  3. Ticketmaster
  4. LiveNation
Ok so maybe I did cheat on that last one, but I think we get the idea. Starting with the iPhone. Aside from Twitter, the word iPhone was muttered more than any other, even by rival companies. During one of the mobile music panels, a high up gentleman from Blackberry called what the iPhone and Apple are doing a great idea, generally referring to the applications store. It seemed that almost everyone in attendance had an iPhone with the rest having Blackberries of some sort. Also, it seemed very clear to me that the app store will continue to expand, allowing room for more and more music related programs. 
Moving on to the most discussed word of the day; Twitter. By now you’ve all heard me rant and rave about how Twitter is what you make it and all that jazz. Although I have been using it for a few weeks now, I failed to realize just how expansive the twitterverse is. Many of the most professional people at the conference spent some time twittering the days events and sharing thoughts with others (including myself). Many of the venture capitalists discussed Twitter’s growing influence and how it will remain one of the fastest growing platforms out there. 
Finally, the final things that I took away from the conference. Most people know by now that if the words Live Nation are mentioned, TicketMaster and merger are very close behind. There was a considerable amount of talk going around, both positive and negative, regarding the potential mega-merger. Among the least impressed, and most heated discussion regarding the merger came by a top tier AEG executive. He argued for the smaller companies and for the ability of many different companies to work together, as opposed to one giant owning everything. 
My time at the conference was really fun and I hope to return to many more Billboard conferences in the future. Also on a personal note, I ran into James Blueweiss, CEO of CBGB’s. We discussed the future of the brand and what new ventures they are attempting to move the CBGB & OMFUG to. I really hope I get the chance to work with James as they hope to reinvent the name that to so many people defines punk rock. 

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