WMC 2009 – Part 1

March 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

So, here I am back in Miami, and it seems amazing that a whole year has passed..

The conference exhibition area is much better than last year – quite a few new technologies and cool websites being exhibited – I was pretty interested in the new music download store, Resonant Vibes – and was able to upload my tunes there and then from one of my demo CD’s, and the process was pretty intuitive, and the site is nicely designed.

Also catching my eye was a new piece of visual processing software for live video feeds – kind of like the Windows Media Player visualiser, but instead of interacting with audio, it interacted with video camera feeds, producing some crazy music-video style effects; I’m gonna take a demo back to my friends at Curious Yellow to see if we can hook something up for our show at the Big Chill later this year.

I was happy to run into my old friend from last year, Alex from Label2Net -his digital music distribution company has gone from strength to strength in the past year, and he’s now pushing promotion tools as part of the package; I’ll definately be getting in touch with him when my album’s completed.

As for the conference panel discussions, there seems to be an overwhelming theme amongst all the discussions this year – the takeover of the digital format within the dance industry. Pretty much all the DJs on the panels are at least using Cd’s if not traktor scratch or serato – vinyl is quietly dying away it seems, at least if the DJs here are a representative cross-section of the industry.

What I’m finding interesting is that this fact seems to evoke two polar opposite emotions amongst the industry; firstly, the sadness of vinyl’s demise, despite sounding better when played in clubs, versus the optimism and excitement triggered by the possibilities that the digital format offers – the ability to test out tunes in clubs before they’re even finished, the power of web2.0 services like myspace and twitter to expose brand new artists to DJs all over the world, in an instant – something I’ve been really blown away by with my own music recently – Tommie Sunshine was raving today about how he’s finding kids making mental dubstep through twitter – guys that aren’t signed, aren’t in any community, and are just making tunes and pushing them out through tweets, blogs and whatever else; it feels to me like there’s a massive shift in the music industry happening here.

5 years ago, artists toured live shows to sell records, and the lion’s share of their income was made from the sale of those records – the record was a physical product that everything else promoted the sale of. Now, it’s all switched; the records are simply another promotional tool for the live work, which brings in most of the artist’s revenue. This I guess is because MP3’s are so cheap, they just don’t bring in any income worth talking about for the majority of artists in the dance industry.

This made me wonder; is it worth charging for the music we make at all? If we just gave this music away for free – like I’ve been doing on Soundcloud – would it end up in artists being more well known, and earning more for their live work? Are we approaching an age where all music is just free?

Really really hard to tell at this point – the Beatport representatives certainly think not; they’re charging pretty high prices for their MP3s and the dance community seems relatively happy to pay it; whether that remains the case now that iTunes have upped their tune quality, and removed DRM, is another matter.

London Bass in Miami tonight – Mala, Skream. Benga, Hijak and Plastician.. can’t wait!

Entry filed under: Music.

Pure Unification My studio’s been burgled – Please look over this kit list

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