‘Music is Okay?!’: Interview with Ruben Jonas Schnell from ByteFM

‘Music is Okay?!’: Interview with Ruben Jonas Schnell from ByteFM
Matthias Weber
  • 17 november 2008

Our new event series checkdisout for PSFK readers in Germany kicks of this Thursday, November 20 in Hamburg. As of today, the very last ticket for the premiere ‘Music is Okay?!‘ can still be purchased if you want to be part of the insightful evening about digital music culture.

Our third interview in our panelists series is with Ruben Jonas Schnell, Founder and CEO of ByteFM. We briefly wrote about ByteFM’s launch earlier this year:

ByteFM is a free to listen radio station from Hamburg, Germany, that aims to provide a high quality musical broadcast, put together and moderated by professional journalists – not hobbyists. Instead of the same old hit-rotation or classic tunes, their station stands offers valuable interviews and background information on music and its makers, small venues and huge clubs within Germany and elsewhere. The project is currently funded by donations and their main sponsor Panasonic.

Ruben, when we invited panelists for checkdisout, we asked everyone for a quote. Yours was: “Music is okay if content is king and sales are secondary.“ Could you explain a bit more?

There’s so much great music out there! A lot of the great stuff is well known to almost everybody. However tons and tons of bands producing new and amazing music are quite unkown. Quality should be more important when it comes to selecting what to present to the public than the fact that something is well known and already successful.

It seems the music industry is still mourning sales numbers and the demise of the industry. What opportunities to innovate, build new products and concepts in this field do you see?

Within the past view years live shows have become even more important when it comes to selling music. Innovative ideas in packaging can also help. A CD with an interesting, possibly handmade cover is much more attractive to pay for than your average jewel case. At best, this way you purchase not only audio- but also visual art.

What are the most interesting concepts and products in the field of digital music from your perspective at the moment? (Apart from ByteFM of course!)

To me digital possibilities in their unlimited numbers have become a little intimidating. It is difficult to keep track of what’s going on with all the new gadgets and options they offer. Therefore: simplicity turns me on.

From a musician’s point of view- What really excites you about the possibilities for music creating and collaboration in 2009 and what is a total downer for you?

Geography today is not a limit to the production progress anymore – that can be exciting. You can record music with musicians who never even meet each other. Some stuff created this way is cool – of course also crap has been made this way.

Some final last words to the Majors?


Thanks, Ruben!



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