Where most music conferences like SXSW focus primarily on performance showcases, Rethink Music is an industry conference for the professionals.
Sponsored by Berklee College of Music, the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, Babson College and midem (the yearly trade fair for the music industry in France), this conference focuses on establishing a discourse between people involved in all facets of music. Their mission is to figure out how to push the industry forward, something that desperately needs addressing in the ever-evolving technological advancements of the digital age.
"We're trying to bring thought leaders together," explains Allen Bargfrede, who is the executive director of Rethink Music for Berklee College of Music. "By bringing [music industry] stakeholders, academics and students together, we can help to look forward."
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Leaders from industry innovators like YouTube, Spotify and Nokia share the same platform as musicians like GZA from Wu-Tang Clan, speaking on hot button issues like the future of the cloud, how to stay relevant as an artist and "The Musical Ecosystem in 2015."
One especially relevant participant is Karmin, the duo of Berklee alums who recently used their overnight YouTube megapopularity to catapult them into a musical guest spot on "Saturday Night Live."
Another example of the bold approach to Rethink, this morning, social media guru and author Seth Godin gives the keynote address, simply titled "Making Something Happen."
"All musicians are entrepreneurs," says Bargfrede. "We wanted someone outside of the music industry to give their thoughts ... and open outside of the box."
Deconstruct and build again
This past weekend, Rethink Music was in full force. Hacker's Weekend took over Microsoft's N.E.R.D. Center in Cambridge, where 75 hackers worked on creating new and unique music-related apps.
Yesterday at the Berklee Performance Center, the Music Deconstruction Experience featured Berklee profs Stephen Webber and Pat Pattison giving musi-cians clinics on songwriting and production.
"A lot of music conferences focus on what went wrong," says Rethink Music project manager and booker Ardie Farhadieh. "Between Hacker and Deconstruct, our focus is on the future."
Continuing to Rethink
Here are some of the highlights of the speakers scheduled for today and tomorrow at the Hynes Convention Center. For more specifics, visit www.rethink-music.com.
9:40 a.m. Seth Godin
11:45 a.m. Karmin
12:40 p.m. Pitchfork president Chris ----
5 p.m. Amanda Palmer
9:30 a.m. vice president of Rhapsody Cecily Mak
10:30 a.m. Future of Music Coalition consultant Kristin Thomson
11:05 a.m. FADER Media president Rob Stone
4 p.m. GZA/The Genius
5 p.m. turntable.--- chairman Seth Goldstein