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M3 Music Conference:The Future of Digital Distribution in the Euregion

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M3 is a music conference in Maastricht, Netherlands consisting of oppositional debates, creative workshops and lectures, will provoke opportunities for intellectual stimulation, debate, as well as networking.

The conference hopes to utilize the skills and ideas of some of most forward thinking minds and operators in the industry in order to highlight some promising new ideas and areas which can be improved upon. I had the pleasure of speaking with the conferences organizer Derek Wahl and below are the results.

Kelland:What is your Background?
Derek:We’re a multi-cultural team of young researchers and music enthusiasts, interested in the future of music distribution. Some of us have studied media and have an academic approach to copyright issues, while others have worked in the industry and experienced the problems caused by piracy first hand. We met here in Maastricht and, as researchers in the field of cultural studies, decided it was about time we unified our perspectives on the matter.

Kelland: What inspired you to create the M3 Event?
Derek:It seems that paying for media has become an altruistic act, reserved for those with a fetish for vinyl. A lot of the people we talk to don’t see piracy as a crime – it has become normal to get music for free. This attitude is costing a lot of people their jobs and demolishing the traditional foundation of the music industry. On the other hand, it has never been easier to distribute music. New business models are popping up left and right and it seems like everything is up in the air. Recent developments such as S.O.P.A., P.I.P.A. and A.C.T.A. are testament to the dramatic challenges the music industry faces.

Kelland:What do you hope to gain out of this event?
Derek:A lot of public debate concerning piracy tends to amount to nothing more than a collection of monologues. We want to create a platform for dialogue, an open arena where all voices can be heard. If the goal at large is to figure out how to distribute music in this environment, satisfying consumers and artists alike, then a sober, honest discussion is the first step. We’d like to initiate that discussion on June 1st 2012 – save the date!

Kelland:How are you working with Maastricht University with your event?
Derek:As our primary partner, Maastricht University is assisting us with certain aspects of the organization and gaining access to local resources. Since none of our team members are from the Netherlands, we rely on their status as a respectable institution in the region in order to become more acquainted with the local scene.

Kelland:Can you give me an idea of some of the workshops that will be held at M3?
Derek:We can’t really talk about the content of the workshops just yet. What we can reveal is, that we’re focusing on creative workshops for amateurs in the region. The area around Maastricht is commonly referred to as the Euregion (consisting of parts of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium) and is renowned for its lively local music scene. We’re hoping to give artists here an opportunity to meet and learn from each other. The workshops are just one aspect of the conference. We will have panel discussions with theorists, politicians and industry insiders, as well as presentations from entrepreneurs pursuing alternative distribution models. And of course we’ll be showcasing some musical acts to remind us why these issues are of such great importance.

Kelland:What do you think the future holds for music distribution?
Derek:That’s what we’re trying to figure out. Culture has changed with every new technology and society has always taken a while to adapt. We can’t predict the future, but we’re trying to develop a clear picture of the present in order to brace ourselves for the changes that are inevitably coming. The speakers at the conference will give us a fantastic overview of possible scenarios and hopefully help us work towards a future that’s fair for all.

Kelland:How can someone get involved in M3?
Derek: Nothing has ever been easier. You can visit us at www.m3event.com for frequent updates or send a mail to info@m3event.com with your questions and suggestions. Any and all are welcome, since this is the only way we can get the full picture.

CEO, Writer, Rapper, Internet Marketer, Innovator and author of The Social Music Revolution Revealed.