In the nine months since Rethink Music debuted last April, we’ve continued to see a dramatic shift in the music industry in a short period of time. Spotify entered the US market, bringing with it plenty of new hype for the so-called “access” model. EMI was broken into pieces and sold off in an auction, leaving only three major music companies. In a bright spot, digital sales outpaced CD’s for the first time in 2011, and as a whole, helped by strong sales of Adele’s 21, recorded music revenues were up for the first time in nearly a decade. Concert revenues were also up (although total attendance was down). Marketing concepts have come and gone faster than the blink of an eye.
All of these changes mean a very fluid landscape for creators, industry personnel, and fans, who are often both bewildered and fatigued in their search for the “next big thing.” At Berklee, we are committed to not only educating musicians and music business professionals, but seeking solutions and cultivating a viable future for aspiring creators. That’s why we created Rethink Music last year, and why we’ve decided to continue the initiative.
For 2012, we’ve added a number of offerings, including events on the weekend before the main conference, such as Hackers’ Weekend, which will give developers the opportunity to build technology and showcase technology related to the music industry. We’ll also host our first Music Deconstruction Experience, a production clinic, and offer access to music showcases at venues across Boston.
The main conference, taking place on Monday and Tuesday April 23-24, will offer facilitated workshops about concepts like Disruptive Innovation. There will also be artist collaborations, startup presentations, keynotes, panels, and one-on-one interviews to help attendees think through the myriad of issues facing us. Our Musician’s Toolkit will present hands-on training for creators who want to better manage their business. And like last year, registrants get access to exclusive networking and musical events in the evenings.
Proudly, our relationships with midem and the Berkman Center continue this year, and we’re also now happy to be working with Babson College, rated the #1 U.S. business school for entrepreneurship, on The Genesis Project, which is our business plan competition rewarding thoughtful innovation for the music industry.
All of these choices will make Boston a very important place to be in April for music industry trendsetters, and I hope to see you as we rethink music again in 2012.