Bitspiration Festival: Music vs. New Technologies

Article published on Aug. 5, 2014
Article published on Aug. 5, 2014

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Every year the impact of new technologies on the music market takes on a new dimension. Today's artists have at their disposal more and more methods to promote their creativity on the web. But does it really guarantee success? The challenges that current music businesses face in the age of the digital revolution were being discussed at the third edition of the Bitspiration Festival.

Innovative conference

Bitspiration Festival is one of the most important events in Poland in the field of new technologies, startups and the future development of the Internet. What distinguishes this conference from other similar events in the IT industry is an innovative formula. Through a variety of creative panel discussions conducted in English, investors, startup founders and renowned tech industry experts from Poland and overseas have a wide range of opportunities for information exchange and mutual inspiration. In previous years, speakers at Bitspiration included, among others, co-founder of YouTube - Jawed Karim and Developer Advocate at Google Don Dodge.

The third edition of the festival was held on 12-13 June in Krakow in the inspiring location of the recently abandoned Forum Hotel. This two-day long event gathered nearly 400 participants. There were a total of 62 speakers in 46 presentations. This year the festival's program was enriched with a block of lectures and discussions on the relations between music businesses and the technology industry. While in the West such conferences have been organized for a long time (SXSW in Austin, Eurosonic in Groningen, The Great Escape in Brighton), in Poland they are still quite new. Bitspiration organizers decided to change the festival's formula through invitations to a joint discussion of music producers, managers, artists who have managed to take advantage of new technologies to succeed, and e-business agents, investors and representatives of platforms, services that contribute to the promotion of artistic activity on the Internet (Dean Johnson, Senior Vice President of Creative Innovation at Brandwidth Group  and Andreea Magdalina, Head of Community at Mixcloud). 

And the beat goes on (line)

During the panel "Intro to the Music Industry And It's Digital Facelift" Piotr Kabaj, director of Warner Music Poland and president of Warner Music Eastern Europe, delivered a presentation about functional dependences in the Polish and global music markets. Kabaj pointed out the trends in the current music streaming revolution and singled out the most influential services in this field.

Another phenomenon that extensively discussed was crowdfunding for musical projects. Among other speakers Misia Furtak, lead singer and bassist of the indie rock band très.b shared with the audience her experience with this method of financing musical projects. très.b is the most famous example of crowdfunding success used in the music industry in Poland. The band acquired part of the needed funds for recording their newest album "40 Winks of Courage" through contributions by Internet users by preselling limited edition packages. During her presentation Furtak drew attention to the advantages of crowdfunding in terms of building relationships with fans.

Establishing and developing a community in the age of social media plays a key role in promoting an artist online. While distribution of music on the web opens up new opportunities for artists, it also raises many controversies. An example is the risk of insufficient copyright protection for music that is massively distributed through P2P services.

Today's music world must strengthen its cooperation with the tech world to face all the challenges that the digital revolution is presenting. Inspiring international events such as the Bitspiration conference will surely contribute to this goal. We look forward to the next edition!