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Smart phones are the future of music, Nettwerk founder says

The music industry’s future success relies on the popularity of phones, Nettwerk Music Group Chief Executive Officer Terry McBride told about 100 students at Berklee College of Music on Friday.

McBride told students that revenue from new smart phone technology can save the music industry from a decade-long economic recession caused by declining CD sales and illegal downloading. McBride founded Nettwerk Music Group in 1984, which includes Nettwerk Productions, Canada’s largest independent record label and home to artists such as the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne and Dido.

‘[There is a] change of behavior,’ McBride said. ‘[There has been a] shift of media being pushed at you to you being able to pull it.’

The music business is going to change radically since the introduction of smart phones such as the iPhone or BlackBerry, McBride said. Applications on a smart phone can be used to organize, hear and buy music, he said.

The potential for new applications and music distribution methods through smart phone technology is endless because people generally buy a new phone every two years, rather than the longer period people use their laptops for, McBride said.

In the past, the music industry did not welcome new technology and lived in fear of changing the system, McBride said. Just as records shifted to tape cassettes, cassettes to CDs and now CDs to iPods, there will be further evolution in the industry, he said.

McBride said future music revenue also relies on the industry’s ability to recognize that music has different types of meaning for different listeners, and to profit from individuals rather than large groups. The music industry will succeed when its main priority is satisfying the listeners and not just generating revenue, he said.’

‘Businesses treat a song as a copyright,’ McBride said. ‘I view it as an emotion.’ ‘ ‘ ‘

No matter the musical medium, musicians should always maintain their artistic integrity, McBride said.

‘Follow what I love, not what I like,’ he said.

Though McBride said the millennial generation will be responsible for the creation of new smart phone applications, some students said they lack the technological understanding to develop them.

‘It was really interesting with the applications,’ Berklee senior Latoya Devonish said. ‘I wish I was a genius so that I could develop one of the applications.’

Berklee freshman Jackie Berkley said she appreciated McBride’s focus on artistic authenticity.

‘He impressed me on a personal level,’ Berkley said. ‘Not only do we have similar tastes in music, but he has a really positive attitude. It’s what’s been on my mind.’

Berklee music business and management department Chairman Don Gorder, who coordinated McBride’s appearance, said he hoped that students ‘took away a sense of optimism’ from McBride’s lecture because McBride’s main goal was to ‘stress the importance of doing what you love and believing in it.’

‘No matter what you do on the business side, it still comes down to your passion for music,’ Gorder said.

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