Highlights so far:
1. Hearing IFPI president John Kennedy say subscriptions are the future of digital music - once the labels negotiate what they feel is a fair price.
2. Moto's Ian Chapman Banks giving me a personal demo of the RAZR2 and ROKR Z6.
3. Seeing Nile Rodgers (i.e. the guy who wrote "Le Freak" and produced Madonna's "Like A Virgin", also head of Sumthing Distribution) and Seymour Stein (Sire Records boss, gave us Madonna, the Ramones, etc) talking about whether albums are dead.
They're not, if you were wondering.
Stein: I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I'm not against albums, but some of my favorite records were by one-hit wonders, like Earth Angel by the Penguins. There was a band called the Fleetwoods from Seattle, two valid singles, both #1s, but by today's standards they probably wouldn't get signed. It's all about the songs. For someone like Michael Buble, the album format is perfect, but for new artists, songs are more important. There's an urgency to music -- an album can take two or three years to make.
Nile: I grew up with singles, but for me it's all about the album. I read an interview with Paul Simon once who said that before he started to write a song, he did a blueprint for the whole album first -- he saw the album like a film, and each song is a scene from that film. I mean, think about Green Day's last album [American Idiot], which was incredible. Maybe as times change it'll lose it's importance as people move back to singles, but I'm old school -- I write albums, and when artists submit music to me, it's a complete body of work. CD is dying in the sense that formats change, but albums are concepts. I can write individual songs if I'm hired to do it, but I think of the concept with beginning, middle and end.