The Future Music Forum, which I attended in September in Barcelona, is the brainchild of events co-ordinator Niall Doorley. Niall is an energetic personality, and has created a important space for the music industry to come together and share ideas.
Niall also very graciously agreed, as part of the RCB winning the We Love Your Songs competition, to allow the band free access to the FMF. I chatted to him following the second annual Future Music Forum.
Ryan Calder: How did the Future Music Forum come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
Niall Doorley: First and foremost I’m an events guy, besides my passion for music I saw an opportunity to host a niche conference on a certain aspect of the music industry that is growing at a mind-boggling pace. Both my professional & academic background in recent times has been focused on the area of social media, digital marketing & online branding.
With this I had been visiting events in the U.S. that were giving much more emphasis to the cutting-edge developments of the music industry rather that the usual bland topics. There are certain events around Europe that do similar things but I thought with a couple of tweaks here and there, and using Barcelona and the Merce festival (held during the event) as the idyllic backdrop, that something could really grow… and here I am, looking forward to the 3rd edition.
What positive feedback did you get from the second annual FMF?
Niall: We have received fantastic feedback, it’s really encouraging as an events producer to have senior bods from the industry come and congratulate you on the event, and actually seem sincere about it. Above all I believe it’s the personable aspect of the event that leaves a lasting effect with people. With the size and the team’s organisation, people really feel comfortable at this event. Apart from this, it’s the cutting-edge topics that really capture people’s enthusiasm… with so much doom and gloom around the industry it’s hard not to be inspired by some of the companies presenting at the FMF and how they trying to add new life to the industry.
The second annual FMF grew from the first one. What plans are on the horizon for 2012 and how will it be different?
Niall: We are already looking at how we can improve for the 3rd edition. Our mission from the start was to put this event firmly on the agenda of the music industry, more for people involved in how the new business models, or new business in general within the industry, is progressing. Personally I feel we still need another year of hitting the right note, tackling the most cutting-edge issues, but we are already looking at doing something like a bootcamp for new music technology and businesses to gain more awareness about their product.
We would also like to continue with support for new upcoming artists. For example, one of our competition winners from this year is now fully enrolled in Berklee College of Music online course, one of the most recognised in the business. With the event taking place during Barcelona’s biggest free music festival The BAM Festival, we already have that live music aspect to the event. What we would like to do now is add our own FMF Music Stage to that festival. Fingers crossed we will have a presence for next year.
What are some of the more innovative music business models you have seen recently?
Niall: For me, I’m really interested in how gaming and music progress together. Not many people are aware, but they have a long history together – stretching back to the late 80s where in Japan video games music was being sold on cassette. Fast forward to 2011, and with the hugely popular games on Facebook now converting into a serious channel for pop stars to reach their audience, PS, Xbox, etc etc are now signing some major deals with record companies for music rights.
I think its a great development for the industry, MXP4, who actually spoke at the 2nd FMF, are well worth checking out to understand where that particular avenue for the industry is going.
How would you go about a career in the music industry at this point? What areas would you focus on?
Niall: Depending on what area exactly you are looking to get into. If I were a musician now I would be either focusing on getting a team around me who are familiar with the power of social media & how to engage with your fan base online or schooling myself on the best practices, there are lots of great examples out there with Ok Go, Bjork, obviously Radiohead and others being great examples.
If I were looking to get into the music business side I think being bang up to date on how Music Synch can develop your catalogues is a must.I think with the industry splintering into so many different avenues right now, it’s wise to look at a certain area and say, ‘yeah, thats me’ and pursue that avenue, music content for mobile, Music Branding, Head of Synch, so many interesting areas to choose from.