Conclusions from our Innovation Summit at Sónar Barcelona

Rethink Music hosted another of our Innovation Summits at Sónar+D in Barcelona, Spain, on June 13, with a focus on new business models for the music industry. During our three hour event, specially selected participants from a variety of backgrounds were asked to put aside their common perceptions about today’s music business and enter a creative state through a series of specially designed exercises. Attendees reviewed the current state of today’s music industry, and when for an assessment, an overwhelming portion of participants thought that Spotify and its access model for consuming music are the most innovative and promising models today with SoundCloud as a close runner-up. These companies offer music listeners unlimited access to music with a social component.

More importantly, for the final two hours of the Summit, new business models were conceived in special teams. Attendees focused on finding new ways to engage consumers, with some interesting results:

  1. Exclusive access to surround sound live concerts online, with a limited number of participants who then may have VIP access at real concerts later;
  2. A curation service which uses an algorithm to determine a person’s online recommendation power and then serves that “gurus” new music choices to subscribers;
  3. Modernization of the old record club idea, again focused on curation and giving one touch access to music, as well as deciding music to play based on a person’s mood;
  4. An app allowing young fans to remix songs from their favorite artists along with special access to the artist;
  5. A social network allowing musicians and other artists to collaborate on projects.

As perhaps a sign of our times, the participants did not focus on sound recordings or on artist's creativity. Instead they recognized the challenges in today’s space, noting that curation and the ability for consumers to not only discover new music, but connect with it for more than brief period, were the keys to sustaining artist careers and a creative industry for tomorrow.