Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’

Audio Poverty

February 10, 2009

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The Audio Poverty Festival – A weekend of discussions and lectures, concerts and parties, performances and experiments. The third and last of the three “indie” conferences here in Berlin at the beginning of this year, all dealing with music and culture in the digital age (see also Club Transmediale and Dancing With Myself).

Music is currently undergoing a loss of value not only in economic terms, but also in ways that have an impact on the social and aesthetic structure of musical life, affecting forms of publication, the culture of listening, musical discourse, and the music itself. Music has become a commodity, delivered from all parts of the world. Audio Poverty tried to explore the consequences of these changes: what is the relationship of the musician to the disappearing market? What is the significance of the individuation of listening for music’s social importance? What does it mean when the music critic is silent? And does musical poverty have a sound?

I liked the theme and concept of the festival a lot when i heard about it, but it didn´t quite meet my expectations. Most of the festival was very experimental…especially the music performance parts were more for a niche audience…. and also some of the talks were very specific… the “economic” part of the festival was not as important as I hoped. But anyway… I met some interesting people there.

For me the panel discussion “No markets, no goods, no future?” on the first day with Gudrun Gut (Monika, Berlin) Achim Bergmann (Trikont, Munich) Jay Rutledge (Outhere, Munich), Dieter Gorny (Berlin), Mark Chung (Freibank, Hamburg), Moderation: Christian Finkbeiner (Berlin) was the most interesting one.
I saw some video cams there… maybe there is a more detailed video documentation of the festival soon on the Audio Poverty website.

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Club Transmediale 09 – Berlin

January 31, 2009

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The 10th anniversary edition of Club Transmediale 09, Berlin’s unique festival for electronic and experimental musical culture, is over.
For more than a week the conference offered a bunch of great talks and workshops in the daytime program and amazing club events at night.

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The Festival theme of this year was STRUCTURES – The aim was to inquire into the current state and future potential of microstructures and networks in independent music and media culture.

Given the situation triggered by the crisis of the music industry, club transmediale decided to provide a platform for interdisciplinary exchange and bring together protagonists from various scenes. The conference tried to encourage a debate from several different perspectives about how the most broadly accessible, artistically self-determined and at the same time economically viable musical cultures might be organised today; to actively promote democratic structures, diversity, critical discourse and creativity.

By far I am not able to cover the whole event here…. see a documentation here and here.

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I just want to mention some of the talks concerning the media industry.

In his great Keynote “The Crisis of the Music Industry – Chance or Calamity?Prof. Peter Wicke (Humboldt University, Berlin) critizes the big discussion initiated by the record industry about the risks and threats for music culture and artists cause of the digitalization. Wicke shows in his talk that not the music culture and musicians are in a crisis, but the investors in the record industry. We have to separate the commercial value and the cultural value, we have to separate artists and investors. Listen to the talk here – German only.

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One of my favourite speakers of this years program was Umar Haique (director of the Havas Media Lab in New York). Unfortunately he was not able to appear in person and had to cancel his talk, but he sent a video.

In his video he considers the current crisis of the music industry in the light of microeconomic information and contract theory. He thereby reaches the conclusion that file-sharing is not to blame for the drop in profits but rather, the music industry’s loss of credibility – for which the industry itself is to blame – which subsequently led consumers to look for alternatives or perhaps, even to rebel. From there, Haque goes on to expound strategic solutions that seek to balance the interests of producers, consumers and those spinning the deals. Here the video:

See many more interesting talks and panels documented as audio files here.

More on Club Transmediale Blog.
Great Festival!

Conference: Dancing With Myself – Music, Money, and Community After Digitalization

January 19, 2009

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The next several weeks three small “indie” conferences are taking place here in Berlin. In the broadest sense they are all about the future of music culture and industry in the digital age: Club Transmediale, Audio Poverty and Dancing With Myself.  All of them have  an amazing live music/dj programme as well. If you are in Berlin, check them out.

The first one was Dancing With Myself at HAU Berlin. The theme weekend with the subtitel “Music, Money, and Community After Digitalization” provided a forum for discussion about a future that has already begun. Far from lamenting falling sales figures, and far from the usual themes dealt with at ordinary industry conferences, the conference tried to to examine the cultural and theoretical implications of the digitalization of music, through a plethora of lectures, discussion panels, concerts, performances and parties, as well as selected films.

I liked the conference concept a lot and was especially interested in the keynote by Jacques Attali a French economist who wrote 1977 the book ” Noise – The Political Economy of Music” (French titel: Bruits). A great book I never heard before with a lot of thoughts that are more prevailling than ever before… written 30 years ago.

Today I was visiting a few panels at the conference and without going in details, I was a little bit dissapointed about the “overall vibe” of most of the discussions. There was a lot of talking about “the state”, “culture policy” and what should happen that maybe everything is good again… how the state can fix all the problems.

I was wondering, why aren´t we thinking more like entrepreneurs…. seeing the chances….not looking back, talking about good old times and thinking about “fixing problems”…. why not  instead behaving like someone who is the first day in the music business, accepting the status quo, seeing the chances of the democratization of music…
Call me naive, but where is the spirit of something like a revolution? The digitalization is not a dearth… the digitalization has so many positive aspects… let´s start using them.
Just a thought.

Medienwoche Berlin 2008

September 3, 2008

Just back from day 3 at the Medienwoche@IFA 2008.

I was lucky to see a bunch of really interesting speeches in the last three days. … Some of them are available as online stream at the Medienwoche website.

What I learnt so far:

– Internet is “the” distribution platform for video content in the future (the opening panel agreed on that – and yes, TV guys where sitting there too)

– Ad supported content is the most important business model, now and in the future.

– There are still people from public TV stations (“öffentlich rechlichen”) that say concerning the internet developement and it’s impact on the television industry, that “We can`t go overboard regarding this problem yet” (funny).

– Demography developement in Germany is a problem for the digital market

– Web TV and Free TV are complementing one another. The cannibalization effects are low. Several examples were presented from different speakers (Pro7, MTV, ZDF).

– We still have big problems getting most of the video and tv archives legally online cause of copyright clearing. Eg. music copyrights: We need something like a collective rights management for music in online video content.

– Barack Obama will be president. John Della Volpe said that. He seemed serious…

– The video experience is changing online (the contextual part of the experience get very important)

– As a TV content distributor, you have to build an audience network – content syndication. Distribute on many platforms but still have the control on advertising, quality and user data.
This means: Advertising flows with the content in future.

– There is a chance that journalism will get it`s impulses for themes and stories more and more from the community (eg. Current TV, Giga TV)

– Mobile can be a very interesting channel for transmedia storytelling

– Social networks are getting to be more and more popular as serious content distribution platforms (not just promotion for content) and they do a lot of successfull experimenting with content producing.

…  there was lots more… I have to check my notes.