SFX Entertainment founder Robert Sillerman challenged the business thinking of the traditional recording industry during a recent keynote address at the Billboard Music & Money Symposium Thursday. Sillerman criticized labels and distributors for "ignoring technology and consumer preferences," eventually creating the conditions for file-sharing pioneer Napster to thrive. But years after Napster faced its legal doomsday, Sillerman wondered if the industry had implemented the changes needed to survive. "Did the music business get the message from Napster?" Sillerman wondered, while opening the possibility that labels will ultimately bite the dust. In a dark suggestion, Sillerman quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was once asked how people go bankrupt. "Gradually, then all of a sudden," he responded.

Sillerman established himself in live performance, and those stripes shined brightly during the keynote. "In all cases, there’s more money performing than recording," he said, noting that future artists may create business models that focus on free recordings and paid performances. "Can’t you imagine a millennium-born artist giving away music for free, and selling performances?" Sillerman asked, while reiterating that pre-recorded music will not be a breadwinner moving forward. "The music business does not mean selling recorded music, it means selling music," he said.

Sounds vaguely familiar…

Reported by Digital Music News

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