The inaugural FastForward Sydney conference wrapped up Friday after a day-long blast of information which ticked off the future of live, Spotify’s direct listing, VR and much more.

In a morning session, O2 head of marketing Emily Scoggins ran the microscope over AI and shared a history lesson which traced back to 1976 when French electronic music great and current Cisac president Jean-Michel Jarre connected his synths and programmed them to recognise patterns, an early showcase of the technology.

O2 head of marketing Emily Scoggins

The result, Oxygene, is recognised as a landmark of its genre

In the ’80s, many people thought the drum machine would get rid of drummers. “It didn’t, it just became a new tool,” she noted. “AI can technically write music, it can’t create a scene. I see it as a creative tool to be enjoyed. Don’t be afraid.”

FastForward founder Chris Carey took the stage for a timely exploration of Spotify’s direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange and a wide-angle look at the business of streaming (and the costly failures along the way).

Spotify’s announcement of its acquisition of startup licensing platform Loudr, noted Carey, was further proof the company was continuing to innovate.

“It was a smart move to try fix music industry’s problems before they become Spotify’s problems,” he explained.

fastforward Day2 chris carey
Chris Carey

In his afternoon keynote interview with TIO’s Lars Brandle, Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field shared his vision of a future where Asia plays a critical role in a global touring circuit.

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“Australia and New Zealand are the markets that will be used to unlock relevant Asian markets feasibly. We have huge potential in that respect and the artists need to be finding new markets,” he said. “Spend the time you make a dime.”

Live Nation Australasia CEO Roger Field and Lars Brandle

The two day gathering reached its conclusion with a panel on “the future of search and discovery,” hosted by Seventh Street Media managing editor Poppy Reid.

Triple J’s listeners aren’t afraid to critique the station’s selections, the audience learned. “Our audience will really tell you if they like it and they’ll absolutely will you when they hate it and they’ll turn it off, explained triple j Unearthed Music Director Dave Ruby Howe.

And fellow panelist Scott Ryan, VP, music at Gracenote had this piece of advice: “If I am an artist of a label I would pay incredible attention to metadata. It sound nerdy but it’s essential. Be like a hawk on how your music is being presented on those streaming platforms.”

Delegates at the inaugural two-day event which launched in 2013 in Amsterdam and expanded into London, included Inertia’s Tim Kelly, Kobalt’s Simon Moor and Moshtix’s Harley Evans.