High Five

Allen Bargfrede, executive director of Rethink Music

Whether you’re in a brand-new band or the chief executive of a major record label, the organizers of the second annual Rethink Music Conference ­— including Berklee College of Music — believe you will get something out of attending the multi-pronged event.

The three-day conference, kicking off Sunday, will be anchored at the Hynes Convention Center and will spread across several Boston venues, featuring panel discussions with everyone from Spotify chief content officer Kenneth Parks to Wu-Tang Clan rapper GZA. There will also be live evening performances, including many on Friday and Saturday as part of the conference’s opening “Impact Weekend.”

Allen Bargfrede , executive director of Rethink Music, is hoping attendees will engage in the discussion about the future of music. We asked for his list of five things the music industry can do to save itself.


1. Find a new business model. “One that works for both rights owners and customers.”

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2. Globalize and harmonize copyright.

3. Focus on artist development again. “There’s been a real big shift toward quick success. People like Bruce Springsteen took several albums to really hit their stride, and now it’s one, maybe two albums, and if it’s not a success you’re out the door.”

4. Building a copyright registry. “As of right now there is no database of copyrights . . . so anyone who really wants to use music, the act of licensing it is a real challenge.”

5. Congress needs to pass the Performance Rights Act. “This would give artists and record labels the right to be paid for public performance of their music. Right now if a song is played on the radio the writer gets paid but the artist who recorded it generates no income.”

The Rethink Music conference starts Sunday. For information about panels, workshops, and the live music schedule for Friday and Saturday’s “Impact Weekend” shows, go to