Interviewed by Photo by Lykle de Vries.

I give a lot of speeches, presentations and talks at music industry events and in educational institutions. I’ll generally talk about whatever I’m asked to talk about, or whatever I happen to think is specific and relevant to the group of people I’m talking to.

Quite often, I’ll rewrite my speech on the day, as I get a clearer idea of who my audience is and what their specific concerns are. But every now and then, I get passionate enough about something to prepare a presentation in search of an audience.

I’ve pitched this to Popkomm, and I’ll pretty much say this to whoever’s listening. This is important, and it’s urgent.

Music As Culture

It’s no surprise to anyone that the music industries are struggling in the digital age. Faced with a filesharing populace, an incredible array of media choices, a tough economic climate, and plenty of other things for people to spend money on, it can be pretty tight for a lot of people in the industries.

Recent research demonstrates a link from openness and inclusion to massive untapped potential for all kinds of businesses. Consumers have a bigger say in the fate of the industries than ever before – and while they recognise the commercial aspects of music business, they do not accept that old systems of control are relevant to them anymore.

By empowering consumers, opening access to archives and for scholarship, enriching the public domain, according popular music the same cultural status as classical and folk musics, and treating audiences as part of the music process (rather than as merely passive
consumers), the society we live in is a much richer and vibrant one.

It’s good for culture, it’s good for the economy, it invigorates local scenes, it’s a lifeline for artists – and it’s great for business.

In fact, it might just be what saves the music industries.

We’re also going to be discussing this very issue at a public debate hosted by Un-Convention in Salford on Friday, June 5th. Be great to see you there.