Austin Convention Center, Thursday, March 15
Ostensibly about "how to survive, thrive, and be happy working with the universally loved art form called music," this was a wide-ranging discussion about the state of music business. Led by David Katznelson, president of the Birdman Recording Group, the dominant voice of the afternoon was that of venerable record man Seymour Stein of Sire Records. Stein led with, "There will always be a music business. What we have to figure out is how to survive." He expressed the feeling that, while "times are rough, things have improved from the earlier part of this decade." While all agreed that the Internet has affected the industry in major ways, attorney Jonathan Blaufarb claimed "the work you do is the same; it's just with new and different media." It was accepted that, as always, innovation and talent will continue to thrive before the proceedings devolved into Stein telling stories of how he signed bands like Talking Heads and the Undertones to the amusement of all in attendance.