Berklee and MIDEM to Launch Rethink Music Conference in 2011

Allen Bush
October 12, 2010

Berklee College of Music and MIDEM today announce a longterm partnership that will debut with the first Rethink Music conference, April 25–27, 2011, in Boston.  

Rethink Music will examine the business and rights challenges facing the music industry in the digital era, and formulate solutions to promote the creation and distribution of new music and other creative works. The conference, presented in association with Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and Harvard Business School, will bring together stakeholders from throughout the music industry with legal, business, and academic experts to discuss business models of the future.  Rethink Music will also address potential changes to existing government policy and legislation to promote the creation and distribution of musical works.

"Berklee is focused on inspiring the creation of new musical and business ideas," says Roger H. Brown, Berklee president. "Part of that equation needs to be innovative models of commerce and policy that work in the 21st-century era of immediately available digital information. How we accomplish these goals will have much to do with the quality of innovation we inspire. Like Berklee, Rethink Music is designed to incubate ideas that lead to breakthroughs for supporting a music industry even more vibrant, astonishing and creative than last century's."

"MIDEM brings the international music community together to do business and to anticipate the industry's changing landscape. Our MidemNet conference focuses on the challenges and opportunities that the music sector faces in the digital world," says Reed MIDEM chief executive Paul Zilk. "Today, we bring that experience, the music community, and the MIDEM brand to Rethink Music and to U.S. soil."

"We are particularly excited to help organize the conversation around legal and policy changes to promote the interests of music creators, fans, and other stakeholders," comments Terry Fisher, faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

"Technological disruption often creates room for new business models, new ways to capture value," says Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School. "The conference is an important opportunity to think about ways to harness the new creativity and build novel business models that put it on a sound financial footing."

As part of Rethink Music, the conference will solicit white papers from educators, students, and the public dealing with the economic systems and business models for music copyright and copyright policy. Berklee will award $50,000 to the best business model, with the runner-up receiving a $5,000 prize. Simultaneously, the Berkman Center will manage a call for papers seeking policy proposals that recommend changes to existing United States law to help those who create and distribute music cope with the challenges facing the industry.

Find out more about Rethink Music at