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A Talk With Tom Silverman On New Music Seminar 2012
NMS has been one of the choice places for music pros and artists to gather and discuss the future of the music industry since its creation in 1980
By Varsha Srivastava
(more articles from this author)
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What can one look forward to from this year's New Music Seminar (NMS)? Well, for starters, it's being held in one of the greatest cities in the world: New York. And this year's conferences introduces its very first music Festival, which will take place in 17 venues throughout NYC and Brooklyn from June 17-20. NMS has been one of the choice places for music pros and artists to gather and discuss the future of the music industry since its creation in 1980.

I recently spoke with Tom Silverman, co-founder of NMS, about this year's seminar. First, we spoke about what occupied most of his time after NMS ended its 15 year run in the mid 90's, prior to its revival in 2009. He explained that his record label, Tommy Boy, was the recipient of his efforts during this period because it was "at its height," and after 2002, when the music business was at its "deepest depression," he reestablished it as an independent label.

For this year's NMS, Tom worked with mayor Bloombergs's office to establish New York's first Music Week. "Music started being lured to other cities, so I thought it would be a great idea if we created a little coalition around bringing music back to New York." With this initiative, and being cognizant of the fact that there was a week of a few other music events happening in NYC (such as a2IM Indie Week and Make Music NY), he reached out to the Department of Film, Theater & Broadcasting at the mayor's office and made the recommendation.

For this year's attendees, the hardest task of all will likely be deciding among all of the different choices offered. "There are at least 2 things going on at the same time every time that I want to attend, and many conversations that I want to be a part of," said Silverman. He with his personal 'don't miss list,' including keynote speakers Bob Pittman and Sean Parker, the Crystal Ball Movement, the YouTube movement and SoundExchange's Digital Broadcasting Summit.

In terms of the development and progress of the music industry, Silverman brought to light some past events that will surely change its future; one example being singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer raising over a million dollars from fans on Kickstarter, demonstrating that a single artist can do what major labels did. "If you think about the value of the attention that music creates, and the music brands and artists create, it's enormous," noted Silverman. "I think that if we were able to monetize that efficiently, we could see this music business grow five times over or more."

The world is evolving, technology is advancing, and with it, so are people's attitudes and mentalities. This means that traditional approaches will no longer cut it. This applies in spades to the music industry, and this has been a focus of New Music Seminar. Silverman emphasizes that people need to "stop thinking of themselves as being in the record business and begin to see themselves as being in the creative attention business."

"I want everyone to walk out of the New Music Seminar believing that the US music business can triple in the next decade," Silverman concluded.

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