For the past decade and a half, Silicon Valley has been gleefully sticking its digital stake further and further into the rapidly decaying heart of the music industry.
File sharing dropped CD sales into the toilet just as iTunes and an endless array of music blogs proved the death knell for the previous monopolizers of music sales and discovery—record stores.
Critics believe the Internet is killing the music industry. But if a single word uttered at the SF MusicTech Summit is to be believed, the Internet will also be its savior.
It used to be that when people talked about “saving rock and roll,” they meant the volume of guitars or the quality of lyrics. Now, it’s mainly about social media, killer apps and file sharing. It may not be quite as sexy, but it’s almost undoubtedly the only thing that’s going to work…
…No matter where their engineers hang their laptops, virtually every company at the conference focused on essentially the same priority: making the music industry work again. (Even if what they mean by the term “music industry” is something bearing little resemblance to the way music has been created, sold and consumed for the past half-century.)
Of course, there are no guarantees. At a presentation by the Future of Music Coalition, a speaker told the assembled crowd the majority of artists didn’t make a single penny from having their music played on streaming services like Spotify, which have often been held out as the music industry’s next great hope.”