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SXSW and The Future of Media: Impromptu Core Conversation on Content Distribution at RVIP lounge

Kestrin Pantera in the {RV}IP lounge.
Kestrin Pantera in the {RV}IP lounge.
Erin Broadley

Some of the best discussions at SXSW Interactive happen in the corridors, where visionaries in their respective fields talk shop between panels and during cigarette breaks. I had the fortuity to be a party to one such conversation between Los Angeles musician and {RV}IP Lounge Executive Producer Kestrin Pantera and our own L.A. Weekly Web Editor Erin Broadley on the future of creative content. Quickly pulling out the TapeMe app on my iPhone, I managed to capture the spontaneous late night exchange between the two media minds (as well as a really poorly executed karaoke version of Nine Inch Nails' "Closer," if you know what I mean) on an Austin street corner outside the {RV}IP "party on wheels."

Erin Broadley: Why do you think [the entertainment community] has gotten itself in a position where ignoring the tech community is doing them a disservice?

Kestrin Pantera: It's a double-edged sword and a two way street. What is happening right now is that we're opening a channel of communication and figuring out how it works. Everyone has been hiding and trying to protect their content but it's the [tech] companies that have the platforms for distribution who are giving it away.

Why has the entertainment community allowed it to get to the point where they're actually losing money?

Kestrin Pantera: I think that the "why" is that [tech] is an absolute immediate threat to their business model. Well then how do we change the business model? I think the business model change will come through embracing the platforms.

Before I came here one of my co-workers asked me, "So do the Interactive people party as hard as the music people?" Yes, they do party just as hard, so is there a danger when the tech community becomes the entertainment?

Kestrin Pantera: Yes and no. That's what this space {RV}IP is about - what we're all creating. Who are we and what are we and what do we want to do? What are our goals? How are we going to survive and create something beautiful and meaningful that elevates us as a community? At the end of the day, if we all have is a bunch of bloggers that are putting forth beautiful but unchecked content, that's a dangerous situation. But how do we work with the unions? How does it happen?

By getting people to realize that [the change in media] is not something to be fearful of. It's like the analogy of when radio came along and people were so freaked out that it was going to cripple album sales.

Kestrin Pantera: Embracing platforms is essentially what it is; embracing the right platforms and embracing the right artists and giving them the space to create, and also the resources that they need to create.

You have two options: you can sit there and be fearful [of new media] or you can open up that part of your mind that says, "What can I do to make progress? How can I merge the two trains of thought?"

Kestrin Pantera: How do we do that?

By talking - once you stop talking it's done. A lot of people stop talking and all they do is litigate.

Kestrin Pantera: So the opposite of litigating would be communicating? Let's imagine that we had a space where everyone wasn't fighting where everyone was communicating openly. I feel like the best case scenario is a space where ultimately content hits the widest range of people with the widest range of acceptance.

We have to, because at this point if someone can broadcast what they ate for breakfast and it hits the entire world, then you have to accept that your music or your band or your art is going to do the same. So what are you going to do now? That involves getting back to the merger between the tech community and entertainment. And "start communicating" -- does that mean we have to be on a bus doing shots and eating Nachos? (Cheers from inside the RV, someone is giving their all to Boston's "More Than A Feeling.")

Kestrin Pantera: It starts with intimacy and discussion.

Exactly, so stop litigating and start conversing.

"More Than A Feeling" continues in the background as Erin and Kestrin take a stab at unraveling the Gordian Knot of content distribution, Ghandi maxim, "Be the change you want to see."

Follow us on Twitter at @alexiatsotsis and @laweekly. Also, check out Village Voice Media's SXSW Festival site for more coverage.

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