What happens when you bring together the head of the Metropolitan Opera, YouTube creators, Comedy Central and Justin Bieber’s manager to discuss the Internet’s impact on arts and culture?

In partnership with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, our Big Tent in New York City, held this week, fostered a constructive and sometimes challenging conversation that saw more opportunities than challenges for artists through the Internet and technology.

While the speakers recognized the disruptive force of the Internet, they also saw the possibilities that technology creates for artists of all stripes to connect with audiences and tell stories in creative ways. As Scooter Braun, manager to artists including Justin Bieber, said, “I don’t think the music industry has changed as much as people think it has. It starts with music. All we have to do today is study interaction, which is the same thing we’ve always had to do.”

Many speakers saw the Internet as essential to their own creative endeavors. YouTube creators like Michelle Phan, Issa Rae and Julia Nunes all used online platforms to launch their careers.

Newsweek Daily Beast’s art and design critic Blake Gopnik, while seeing benefits to new cultural platforms like Google Art Project, reminded the audience of the importance of appreciating the space that contextualizes a work of art. His message of the communality and shared experience of viewing art live was one that resonated with speakers from the performing arts who stressed that the live experience could not be replicated or replaced by technology.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt made a surprise appearance and emphasized the power of mobile and new platforms to change the way we live. He highlighted how the Internet has led to an increase in content and lower costs of distribution. One of the accompanying challenges, he noted, is how, in this shift to abundant content and cheaper distribution, business models adapt to build audiences and deliver value.

The afternoon ended with drinks under a literal big tent, hosted by Cirque du Soleil, which launched Movi.Kanti.Revo—a new sensory Chrome experiment—to close out the day.



Each Big Tent gives us the opportunity to engage with our audience on the impact of the Internet and society. Our next event is on innovation and entrepreneurship in Seoul, South Korea. Keep up with us at www.google.com/+googlebigtent.