Billy Bragg is to join a panel of music industry heavyweights at next week's 'Beyond the SoundBytes' conference in London.
The conference will debate how the global recorded music business can better embrace the multiple ways music will increasingly be sold, shared and appreciated in the digital age.
The Music Tank debate takes place on Wednesday 15 November at the Foreign Press Association, London SW1.
Other speakers include: AIM chairman and CEO Alison Wenham; former Chrysalis and Dedicated Records president Doug D'Arcy; Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills; CEO British Music Rights and co-chair of the Music Business Forum Emma Pike; Tom Watson MP and former Pink Floyd manager Peter Jenner.
"With the IFPI reporting a 4 per cent global decline in music sales for the first six months of 2006, the record industry worldwide has come to realise that the time is now for an urgent debate on necessary reforms to standard business practices in order to adapt, evade oblivion and build tomorrow's market," the organisers said.
The event shadows prevailing industry wisdom, with Sony BMG UK chairman and CEO Ged Doherty recently saying: "We figure the value of CD sales will be 50 per cent less in three years than it is now. We predict digital growth of 25 per cent per year, but not enough to replace the loss from CD sales. By 2010 we will be 30 per cent behind in terms of revenues. We have to reinvent."
Mike Smith, managing director of Columbia Records UK, observes: "Digital rights management (DRM) (as we know it) will be gone within the next 12 months. Clearly we have to get rid of it."
The conference - which will offer multiple discussion streams and a host of leading UK music industry speakers beyond those named here, has been put together as a follow-up to MusicTank's recently published 'Beyond The SoundBytes Report' by Peter Jenner.
Key issues include: new business models for the new ways consumers want to access and own music, making these models work, new licenses for using music and reforming the collecting societies, and how should the artist-label relationship evolve (including copyright term and ownership)?
Attendance costs £135 (full price), falling to £65 for students. All tickets must be bought and paid for in advance.