Thursday, March 13, 2008

Future Leads to the Past

Chick-fil-AOne severely overbooked flight, four hours of waiting, a three hour flight to a place I wasn't going to (Dallas), another overbooked flight to another place I wasn't going to (San Antonio), 3 hours of driving (Dallas to Austin) that included someone nearly ramming into us on the highway...and we made it to Austin at 12:45 last night...15 hours after I left my house. Insert sigh o' relief here.

I've spent the day chatting and watching panels at SXSW to get ideas on people who can participate in FMC conferences in the future, to actually watch some panels and learn from them - something I don't get to do at our events, and to get a sense of what people are interested in learning.

This afternoon's panels included an interesting one on "Selling Music As a Service." No doubt webcasts will be available in a few days here. The concept of treating music as a service instead of as a product is hardly a new one these days. It feels like the topic du jour, much like pro- and anti-DRM debates were a few years ago. The question that inevitably comes up is "what is the future?"

If I could have the perfect world of musical discovery, what would it be? Would ownership of the music matter? There's certainly an allure to the idea of having the world's entire musical library at your fingertips from one device for you to access at any time for a fee. Portability of whatever system would be key for me. But giving up the idea of ownership would also be a shift in thinking. Our music and other collections define us in so many ways because they're indicative of who we are or were and what we deem or did deem worthy of spending money on or not tossing. What would replace that identification process? Would we have to (wow) go back to talking to each other and not making snap judgments based on that one Celine Dion or Backstreet Boys release that mars an otherwise worldly, eclectic and hip music collection?

I'm off to dinner - possibly to a benefit concert for a documentary called Body of War and My Morning Jacket later tonight and as many other bands as I can see in between now and when I collapse. By the way, NPR is webcasting and broadcasting MMJ as well as Vampire Weekend, and Yo La Tengo and R.E.M. last night.

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