Earlier this month I attended Berlin Music Week, an event that brings together the music industry to discuss latest developments and showcase new artists. As part of the conference I hosted a panel discussion with a group of artists and cultural influencers. Music has experienced so much upheaval over the last few years I thought it would be interesting to hear from artists themselves how the internet has influenced their craft and made them think differently about their relationship with their fans.

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On the panel I was joined by Matt Holmen and Zach Johnsten from Phox, the musician and inventor Tim Exile, Arno Kammermeier from Bookashade, Katja Lucker from the Music Board Berlin and Ben Chapman, Head of Popular Music, Multiplatform at the BBC.

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The guys from Phox sparked some really interesting conversation about music and business. Matt Holmen discussed how important it is for musicians to think of themselves as a small business and how music is just one element of what you have to do to be an artist these days.

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Continuing the theme of music and business Katja Lucker highlighted how emerging artists are starting to partner with brands to build their careers due to the fact that they’re less demanding to work with than record labels. Katja also discussed how the Music Board Berlin is helping record labels come up with new ways to track how music is being distributed and played across the growing number of digital platforms that are currently available.

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The panel then moved onto how the internet creates exposure for muscians. Arno Kammermeier described how YouTube content created by their fans has contributed to the success of Bookashade and the guys from Phox described how each member of their band has skills in different types of media so that they can engage their fans through video and photography.

The panel also touched on music discovery and the importance of helping people navigate the vast amount of music that is available now. Ben Chapman talked about how the BBC are bringing together the analogue world of broadcasting with digital experiences with online products such as Playlister.

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Finally the panel moved onto discussing how artists are using the internet to engage with their fans in new ways. Tim Exile discussed his innovative use of SoundCloud as part of his live performance which enabled his audience to directly influence what was being played.