FastForward 2017 Making Sense Of A Data Driven Music Industry Culture

No Comments 2 March 2017

FastForward 2017 Making Sense Of A Data Driven Music Industry Culture

American composer, professor and new media artist R. Luke DuBois once declared that “the history of music is the history of technology.” Indeed, from over 40,000 years ago, when humans began building the first instruments, to the present day, where streaming, piracy and emerging technologies like VR impact all steps of the value chain from artist development to licensing and consumption, technology continually transforms the way we create, value and share our music. How can the music industry make the most of what comes next?

Such was the premise of the second installment of FastForward, a music conference aimed at under-35s that took place on February 23 and 24, 2017.

Author: Cherie Hu

Nearly 200 attendees representing stakeholders from across the industry - major label executives, independent musicians, gaming and video experts, budding startup founders, music performance and business students - convened at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam to exchange anecdotes and best practices for navigating a digital-first, globalized creative culture. If buzzwords like “data” and “convergence” won’t be fading away anytime soon, how can we maximize them without losing clarity? How is excessive attention to these buzzwords helpful or hurtful? What are effective strategies for cutting through this online hype and noise, and getting at the heart of what really matters?

The name “FastForward” suggests that the music industry’s canvas should be the future, not the past. Similar to its inaugural run last year, the conference’s programming last week revolved around many connected futures: the Future of Ticketing, the Future of Music & Tech, the Future of Media, the list goes on. I myself had the pleasure of moderating the Future of Radio panel and interviewing Mike Smith, Managing Director of Warner/Chappell UK, during his keynote on the Future of A&R. The vibe took a refreshing departure from other music-industry conferences that tend to latch on too closely to history, instead celebrating the excitement and agency of improvising and experimenting on the go.

Below are my five takeaways from FastForward this year:

1. Understand the inherent limits - and possibilities - of standard industry language.

Part of innovation in any creative industry is making sense of, and reevaluating, preconceived definitions.

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