New Music Seminar Wraps Up in New York

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Founder Tony Silverman at the 2009 NMS Conference in New York. [Photo courtesy of]

The internet has been aflutter with the musings of the music digerati over the last few days, with the recent unveiling of new products at the New Music Seminar in New York, which ended on Wednesday.

The New Music Seminar, which relaunched in 2009 after over a decade of dormancy, was originally a series of showcases in the ’80s and ’90s in New York. NMS has since moved to include a conference format.

One of the bigger announcements came from BigChampagne, a media measurement company, who’s CEO Eric Garland introduced the Ultimate Chart. The chart, which collects “billions of points of data” from across the internet, uses algorithms and human monitoring to produce a real-time analysis of artists and songs. Significantly, the chart will track both legal downloads from services like Amazon and iTunes as well as activity on unpaid platforms like Facebook and YouTube.

In Garland and NMS founder Tony Silverman’s (pictured above) State of the Music Industry address, which Fast Company reports on this morning, they also discuss the long tail aspect to the music industry:

Of the some 100,000 albums released last year, 17,000 of them sold only 1 copy; more than 81,000 albums sold under 100 copies. In fact, just 1,300 albums sold over 10,000 copies.

The data points to the fact that the sacred notion of the album is, well, not so sacred any more. The world really has changed since Led Zeppelin drove their mighty record label (Atlantic Records) off the wall, refusing to release singles from their albums. Today, Silverman argued, consumers are increasingly drawn to songs over albums, and the pricing model for downloads has not incentivised album buying either.

With those points and others, the general consensus at NMS seems to be that, even in an hectic marketplace, there are obvious growth sectors and opportunities galore. Unsurprisingly, NMS also presented an occasion to ring the MySpace death knell. With Twitter and Facebook’s growth, and new sites like Soundcloud and Bandcamp doing a great job hosting music for artists, the clunky old business model seems destined for the dustbins.


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