Music Tank seminars focus on new breed services

Details of MusicTank’s new autumn programme of industry events have been revealed – and the series this year focuses on legal alternatives to file-sharing, and the new relationships between music and with ISPs- how to work with, run and manage them.

“This is going to be a pretty big series for MusicTank, which we hope will continue through the New Year with further events and research. This will be going out to all and sundry later today, but wanted to make sure you were one of the first to get it,” a MusicTank representative told Distorted Loop.

The events follow the 24 July deal between the BPI and the UK’s six largest ISPs, which placed a joint commitment to work towards a significant reduction in illegal filesharing, to help develop consumer education programmes and foster legal online services.

Over the course of four think tanks MusicTank will bring together rights holders, ISPs, technologists, consumer representatives and service providers to address the issues once and for all.

21.10.08 – Think Tank 1 – Here We Are Now, Entertain Us
04.11.08 – Think Tank 2 – We Have the Technology, What’s The Solution?
18.11.08 – Think Tank 3 – A Coalition of the Billing
04.12.08 – Think Tank 4 – Squaring the Circle 

As reveived, full information from Music Tank follows:

Think Tank 1
Here We Are Now, Entertain Us
Tues 21st Oct

Kicking off the series, we take a long hard look at what music consumers actually want and how this tallies with the status quo and raft of new services in various stages of development or launch. 

Will we see monolithic music portals dispensing entertainment with all the charm of a Wal-Mart, or will they incorporate some of the sharing and word-of-mouth qualities that the internet does so well? Will each ISP run its own service or will there be several operations each serving their own niche communities? Which models are likely to be most compelling and hence fly with music fans?

And finally what of the companies who have spent several years and fortunes building up legal download services, how can they adapt to a world where music is bundled to the consumer in a feels-like-free way?

Think Tank 2
We Have The Technology, What’s The Solution?
Tues 4th Nov

How can technology enable licensed services to develop some of the functionality of existing unlicensed sites?

How reliably can we sample and identify internet traffic for managing tracking and payments?  Is this only possible within a walled-garden system, or is the technology available to monitor all traffic for accounting purposes? How might this sit with the notoriously privacy minded torrent communities? What are the benefits and pitfalls of using deep packet inspection and can this work for encrypted content? Is copyright filtering on a network level desirable or possible?

Are there more creative, compelling or enduring models out there? What can we learn from some of the more advanced licensed P2P platforms such as Korea’s Soribada?  What about licensing the end user or the access point, a la Noank, rather than the delivery platform?  Might this enable music fans to continue to with their consumption habits and trusted filters in a way that better utilises the internet’s potential?  

How does the blue-sky models square with the needs of ISPs and device manufacturers?  What kind of ISP might be interested in developing content services anyway? And would they look to do so themselves or rather to provide a platform for third parties?

And how many kids are right now in their bedrooms cooking up new ideas that will do to P2P what Napster did to the traditional business? Can we develop more futureproofed solutions or are we forever doomed to play catch up?

Think Tank 3
Coalition of the Billing
Tues 18th Nov

What’s the best way to license these new services?  

Labels are now ready to license as widely and flexibly as possible yet understandably wish to control the value they place over their rights, especially when ISP music services may one day provide their major income stream for recorded music. 
Might collective licensing through a mandated body enable the widest range of music to be legally available, from finished studio recordings to live bootlegs, radio sessions and mash-ups?  Or is that incompatible with the business needs of rightsholders, leaving such content doomed to continue to exist unlicensed?

How will future licensing vary between streams, on-demand streams and downloads when technology is increasingly causing the three to converge?

How can we streamline and simplify the process for licensees, is it desirable or possible to create one-stop joint ‘master and composition’ licenses to make everything easier?

Will labels increasingly extend vertically into the businesses they are licensing, such as MySpace, and how will monies track back to artists?
Think Tank 4
Squaring The Circle
Tues 4th Dec

The final think tank will look to pull together the conclusions from the series.

How can the different stakeholders better understand each others’ needs in order to develop the most effective and compelling new services? Is further consumer research necessary? What can be modeled and test-marketed? How might UK platforms be affected by developments in other territories? And how could the film, TV and software industries plug into these new models?

In scoping areas for further development, MusicTank will facilitate consultation, analysis and research required to better inform the conversations that will deliver real innovations and help square the circle.
Venue: The Basement, MCPS-PRS Alliance
Location: 29-33 Berners Street, London, W1T 3AB.
Nearest Tube: Goodge St. (Northern Line)
Individual Think Tank – £30 / Trade Body Member* £25 / MusicTank Member £20
All 4 Think Tanks – £100 / Trade Body Member * £85 / MusicTank Member £70

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