Tony Zeoli added to WMC '06 Music and Media Panel

Yesterday, I received confirmation from the WMC panel coordinator that I’ve been added to the Music and Media panel on Sunday, March 26th at 1 pm. This is in addition to my participation on the Music Marketing panel on Saturday, March 25th.

Paricipating on the Music and Media panel gives me the unique opportunity to use some of the information I’ve picked up in my classes at New York University over the past year, where I am studying Digital Communications and Media with a concentration in Digital Media Management. I’m hoping to lend some insight into the underpinnings of today’s complex media universe to shed some light for attendee’s on how best to navigate the digial music landscape.

There are many complex issues facing music companies today. I refrain from using the words “record label” as I agree with Rio Caraeff from Universal Mobile’s assessment that labels must think and act different in today’s diversifying world of music. No longer do record labels just sell music–they also sell the image of the artists under contract, which includes concert tickets, merchandise, books, DVD’s and web sites.

Some of the issues I’m sure will come up for discussion are digital rights management aka DRM, which is probably the most important issue facing music companies today, as well as Copyright infringement, the Small Webcasters Agreement and its associated Digital Millenium Copyright Act.

The panel description states there will also be a conversation about ethics in media, which I feel is very important. Mainly, because dance and electronic music is more of a free wheeling format than other forms of music and I think it would be good to address our responsibility to each other and the greater dance music community in terms of the written word, podcasting and other types or reporting. Should we start digging deeper into issues or stay politically correct?

I know that I faced this issue with my reporting on BurnLounge.com, right here on this blog. I received feedback–both positive and negative–on some of the things I said and the way I said them. But, I thought I have an ethical responsibility to call it as I see it, even though some of the feedback I got was that I would be blacklisted for just describing the attendees as “b-level” and “c-level.”

People got really worked up and offended by that comment, but I stood my ground and even got into a heated argument with someone who told me that I should retract my statement or that person “would never speak to me again.” This calls into question our responsibility as journalists or watchdogs of the industry we love.

Do we call it as we see it? Or, do we play the politically correct game and gloss over everything because we need to maintain our relationships?

As you can see, when we talk about ethics in media, it’s a thorny issue that I’ve personally faced in the recent past.

For more information on the individual panels at the WMC, please visit the schedule on the web site at http://www.wintermusicconference.com.

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