SNOCAPImage via WikipediaJust reading Mark Mulligan from Jupiter Research‘s roundup of Popkomm. “I was…disappointed at the lack of anything new…I couldn’t help but get the sense of a lack of impetus.”

I felt the same thing in every corner of the Midland Hotel at In The City this year – the same conversations, the same approaches, the same Innovations. Last year it was social networks, this year it’s widgets.

Could it be that people are settling into “new models” for the music industry already? Are people beginning to stand still in a market in which today’s innovation is tomorrow’s buggy whip? When Snocap launched their DIY artist StoreFront widget, it was one of very few players in town. Less than a year later, it was washed away in a widget tsunami.

Now it’s music discovery that’s getting the “Me Too!” treatment – A slew of copycats hitting the airwaves on the heels of Imeem and LastFM. Haven’t we something BETTER to be getting on with?

As you may have gathered from my last post, this was not the attitude at UnConference at Salford Trinity Church. The discussions I had involved burning down the businesses we’d spent 18 months building because they weren’t working, and building anew around the old frame. New ideas and a fearless commitment to impermanence is the only way.

In a market as uncertain as the music industry, ideas rush toward obsolescence at a shocking speed.

Just over a year since I started Penny Distribution, right now it has very little to do with Distribution. Change is coming and will continue as necessary to better serve my artists and their fans. There will be no idea too cherished to discard if its not serving its purpose: i.e. a better deal and wider audience for artists, a sustainable model for Penny and the best experience possible for our fans.

What’s your business doing to address this constant and rapid change? What are you ready to throw away to avoid stagnation?

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2 Responses to Popkomm

  1. Hugh Brown says:

    Perhaps it’s just that the real innovators don’t see the value in attending a dinosaur conference like PopKomm. Perhaps it’s this entire model that’s dysfunctional, while the real action is happening in “live” online spaces.

    As you point out, in the time between these annual talkfests, entire companies and models can come go. Why bother talking about it when there’s far greater benefit in launching and getting customers involved …

    Just a thought.


  2. pennydist says:

    I can’t agree that all the action is happening in “live” online spaces. When a person walks into a room, molecules change, energy shifts and things start to happen. Online will never be a substitute for person-to-person discussion – in fact, the more prevalent online becomes, the more people will need and value meeting in person. It’s one of the reasons I think the live music sector is so vital right now.

    The main problem with “dinosaur conferences” like Popkomm and ITC is the QUALITY of the conversation happening on the floor, and on that I totally agree.

    I do love your emphasis “launching and getting customers involved” – totally agree. But no one in a business as personal in this can afford to act in a vacuum – so relevant conferences, unconferences (barcamp.org) and open coffee meetups are going to be the lifeblood of a rapidly unfolding industry.

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