Here at the Future Music Forum we pride ourselves on being the most forward-looking conference on the calendar, our mix of attendees and contributors includes music industry futurists to those toiling at the sharp end of improving the lot of artists and consumers in the age of digital.
Why then, you might ask, does FMF’s agenda also dedicate time to the rich histories in this business of legends such as Brian Hardgroove, Brian Message or for this year’s event, Warner stalwart Seymour Stein and hiphop architect Dante Ross?
Music has arguably been a technology led industry since the invention of the printing press. George Howard of Music Audience Exchange, Brown University and Berklee Colllege of Music shared in an interview with The Drum in March that ‘doesn’t ‘believe there is a music industry anymore’ and that it is merely a tech industry offshoot.
With the minutae of our daily lives dominated by digital, and culturally our ideas of the future and progression being bound up in perpetual technological development, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that there is more to the future of our industry than that.
Art like commerce and technology requires visionaries. The International Music Summit runs an annual competition actively looking for electronic music’s very own Mr Stein or Mr Ross.
Dante heard the future in Busta Rhymes and Ol Dirty Bastard. In a recent instagram post he confessed to Gang Starr’s Guru pointing out the potential of House of Pain’s Everlast and his subsequent bluesy turn as Whitey Ford. He had the foresight to be open to that recommendation, and more recently to catch on to the immensely talented and digitally savvy Lil Dicky.
We study the past to understand the present and prepare for the future; our line-up of speakers and many of these individuals in their own right, reflect what we can learn and our hopes for the future of our business.