Julia Payne at WOMEX

Joining the Dots at WOMEX

Womex is billed as the world music expo, bringing together as it does artists, experts, producers, promoters, funders, journalists, labels and the rest. In all there were 2,200 delegates coming from 90 countries. Given the amount of music business that was being done across the packed five days it was the perfect setting for the hub director Julia Payne to preview  Joining the Dots, a brand new scheme designed to test solutions to the challenges facing those working in independent music.

In a packed conference room Julia introduced the scheme with a bold statement which explained the two premises behind the project:-

‘we’re a bit buggered but we’re essentially quite generous as a sector’

So are our models, as Julia suggests, a bit broken? That was one of the many challenges of this ‘new age’ for the industry which emerged in our Joining the Dots twitter q and a – following the launch of the project at WOMEX. Musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews tweeted

Our reply only a few minutes later was…

But there is a dichotomy here. The models may be broken – but it’s not necessarily all doom and gloom. As Imogen Heap points out in this video, – technology has enabled artists to take a new level of control.

‘The music industry as I knew it just 10 years ago was like an A and R man, a room that I would go in and this person would discuss with me videos and all this stuff…now there is this amazing power that I have, this control that I can finally have in all aspects of my creativity. It’s a really fabulous time to be a musician’

The challenge, of course, will be in finding new ways to monetise that ‘control’, tackle piracy and the expectation of ‘free’. Here is Tom Robinson again

‘There’s never been a better time in those whole 60 years for new artists with genuine talent to get heard BUT that’s going to depend on us developing new models’

And that’s where Joining the Dots comes in. Here’s Julia again, from the presentation,

‘we’re looking for ideas that have the potential to change the way we do business with each other, the way we engage with audiences and the way we all make a living’

Joining the Dots will help test the best of those new working models – with bursaries of up to £10,000 – and the resulting learning will be shared with artists, promoters and others working in independent music. So if you have a great game changing idea, or are interested in developing one, then get a head start by signing up for our newsletter, follow us on twitter and check out Julia’s Womex Prezi on this blog post. The scheme will open for applications in December.