When we started this blog and sat down to discuss what we should do and how we should do it we, of course, soon began to talk about arranging seminars. The question was: What do we need to know to give the business advice on what to do in a digital distribution era? To answer the question we came up with the idea to begin with two seminars – one where we invite internet smart brains to dream about a future music service and, more importantly, argue for why the music business and fans should embrace such a service. Then in a second seminar we should invite representatives from the business itself and ask why our suggestions won’t work and what we forgot to think about. The info we get from the business is then thought to further improve our arguments. We do more and more see this as a belief and mission. We feel that we are up to something and that the musical environment is getting ready for a fundamental change.

The seminars are also a way of getting the business together and start creating a platform on which they/we can talk about these issues. It is also a way of getting external thoughts into discussions on the future of music. There is lots of wisdom that can improve our understanding of the future of music distribution. Many have got the opportunities/problems of a digital era before us, and many more will very soon.

We held the first seminar in May and a semi follow-up at the Hultsfred Festival this weekend. The real follow-up, were we hope to gather the decision makers of the Swedish music business, is scheduled to the early autumn. Here is the essence from the first seminar:

The features
* All the music in the world stored on someone else’s server, with proper meta data
* Many ways to the music and inspiring functions to further listening
* Low threshold – free for the consumer in the basic design paid for by advertisers
* Diversified payment models – to charge money where and when the costumer is willing to
* The user at the centre – meet the individual users need and let them be a part of the service
* Strong links to the authors
* Value added – biographies, lyrics, merchandise, editorial texts
* Platform independent – the service should work regardless of which technical widget you use

There are three very important keywords to remember from features: all, user and threshold. A service with all the music in the world that invite the user to be an important part of the service will, with a low threshold to try, very soon take over the market from illegal sites, programs and protocols. The users can finally listen to music in an environment that guides them in an all access area of the music history and give them inspiration to further digging. The obvious win for the business is to finally be a part of, and make money on, a digital music distribution model that the fans want to use.

The arguments
* The reality – take a look around and see how it works now. Can’t we do better?
* The drivers seat – streaming music is a technical shift that enables us to take the command again and be involved in our own destiny and share the cake of the future
* Little on many – if we earn a small amount on huge number we will have a good/great income
* Customer care – if we lose our customers, artists and fans, the party will be over big time
* Build credibility – we have to show our costumers that we work for them and adjust to the reality
* The history – look at the fantastic music you have brought to the world. Praise yourself, you have done a great job
* Investment – don’t waste money on law firms (the past) hunting fans, invest in yourself (the future) instead
* Give away control – let someone else do a part of our job and keep some of the money. We won’t have time to do everything and execute every brilliant new income model ourselves
* Internet economy – music is about enormous amounts of users and searches. The internet way of making money fits the music business
* Charge more – each time someone listens to his favourite track you can in theory make money on it
* We don’t afford to miss new technical shift – if we do the right things when streaming comes to town, we’ll have rare second chance to do digital the right way
* Right vs. obligation – we must use our copyright in a way that the costumers can embrace
* Music is alive – just because the record industry is dead doesn’t mean that the music industry is
* If the industry owned The Pirate Bay would we then closed it down? – Doesn’t it seems like a good place to make money?
* To shut down is not an option – Now we have to buy shares in the future


These are just short notes. Many of them have been developed here in longer discussions and the rest will certainly be written about further on. Don’t hesitate contacting us with input on which arguments and features that are missing. This certainly is a work in progress. Jump the train.