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Event Report: Musexpo Europe 2009

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Notes – Musexpo

The New Power Players

Ted Cohen moderates a panel on the rise of the new digital stakeholders, where new emerging subscription and a-la-carte download models were discussed. The main question raised repeatedly was have we reached “the tipping point” as digital becomes the predominant consumption model for music. Although Paul Brown of Spotify was not in attendance, naturally the service was mentioned throughout, with some panel members suggesting it was not a fair proposition for the artist.

Modelling The Future

Here industry veteran Pete Jenner discusses a browser-based modeling program where all variables and parameters can be adjusted, it shows the forecast for overal revenue for the music industry, with each amount broken down in to a-la-carte, subscription, regulated, isp opt in and so on. Peter Jenner stated that with regards to piracy control measures the “The Three Strikes Model won’t work” and he is “very skeptical of anything which tells people that they’re naughty boys.” However, he favors “putting piracy out of business in a positive way” as has been demonstrated in Denmark with TDC. Selling music as a service rather than a product, according to this model that is based on real data, is set to save the music industry.

Managers Forum

In this panel managers of some the UKs biggest selling acts including The Kaiser Chiefs, Athlete and Elbow, discussed the challenges faced in working with directly with artists right from a ground level up to huge success. A point highlighted by Phil Chadwick was that having a network of other managers that he can call and ask for advice, can be very useful in ensuring that your artists were being treated fairly. When asked by the audience on how to raise their own management profile Phi Chadwick responded “The music will open the doors.” Jim Chancellor, founder of Fiction Records pointed out the importance of bands continued work ethic once they’ve found a manager, and also stated that managers must be patient when building a bands profile.

Global A&R Forum

This panel covered many of the usual cliches associated with any A&R panel, such as “it’s all about great songs”, which of course is absolutely true, however many of the panel chose not to acknowledge the marketable relevance of any music. Media Consultant Andrew Phillips was able to extract some kind of entertainment from the panel using a healthy amount of ridicule and various pointed quick-fire questions such as favorite Michael Jackson song and the more interesting “Does music come to you or do you find it?” Any question that gets A&R people to publicly disagree with each other is okay in my book. Mike Smith (President, Columbia UK) revealed that whilst working during the late 90s he might not have been enjoying the popular music but is genuinely excited about today’s offerings, although I wonder if he would’ve said the exact same thing in 1997!

WEDNESDAY

Publishing Panel

Wednesday’s panels were started with the publishing forum titled “Still The Real Estate Of The Music Business” and featured Barbara Orbison (wife of Roy, and President, Orbison Music Co.) and Allison Donald (MD, Chrysalis Music Publishing) among others. Focus to begin with, revolved around publishers’ ability to develop artists over longer periods of time when compared to labels, as well as a greater “respect for the creative process” noted by Orbison. Jens-Markus Wegener (MD, AMV Talpa GmbH) spoke very frankly about artists that receive large advances do get priority treatment, as well as calling out the previous days A&R panel for using too many excuses and stated clearly “I wouldn’t want those guys working at my company.”

Later on the panel examined whether publishers would become the labels of the future citing Bat For Lashes as an example where she was picked up on a development deal with the record being owned by Chrysalis and simply licensed to Parlophone. Andy McQueen (Chairman, The Notting Hill Group) pointed out the importance of chart hits for pblishers as they provide a platform from which to sell syncs. One question that was raised asked “Is Catalogue Relevant?” and unanimously the answer was yes, with Orbison stating “[catalogue] really is a cash cow” Francis K Pettican (MD, Fairwood Music Ltd) also agreed. He revealed exclusively that his company had signed EMI publishing for the United Arab Emirates.

The future of publishers was also discussed alongside the relevance of collection agencies, addressing the current issues of streaming rates, and how to monetize the new media that is almost upon us. Jens-Markus stated clearly (and perhaps speaking the thoughts of many on the panel) “The YouTube deal is shit, I want my money for my authors” Finally the panel was asked the importance of corporate tie in’s, Allison Donald stated there will be “far, far more tie-ins” as well as the opportunities for “corporate tie ins are infinite”

Radio Panel

The provocatively titled Broadcast Summit: “Still making your antenna throb with excitement?” Moderated again by the entertaining Andrew Phillips, keeping to a theme of quick-fire questions he asked “what makes radio successful today?” gleaning a variety of responses such as “non-duplicatable personalities” from Jimmy Steal (Emmis Radio USA), and “What makes radio successful today is consistency” from XFM Founder, Sammy Jacob. One thing that is clear about all the panelists here is that they are genuinely passionate about music whilst keeping a clear head about what and wouldn’t work on their stations. Markus Kuehn of MotorFM in Germany stated that quality listeners are far more important a huge non-engaged listenership. Unanimously across the panel it was agreed that physical CD promos are still essential for getting airplay, as well all panelists sharing a common view to implement a digital element to their services.

Doing It Their Way – Making DIY Pay

Early focus of all the panelists that were members of the DIY community, was on the new tools that are available to them that were previously out of reach, namely Digital marketing!

Daniel Courtier-Dutton of Slicethepie, stated “Every email is sacred” and it was these tools that allow artists to connect directly with the fans.

“People believe the myth that the arctic monkeys got signed from the internet” John Robb

It’s about hard touring, John Robb and Nick Denton (Dizzie Rascal)

Peter Thompson “slow down and accept what we have”

Focus on Hard work, and people will notice.

Long term aspects to all your decisions – Dave Woolf (Beverly Knight)

Meiko – Myspace Records Artist – talked about outsourcing, greater control, building a team.

Reaching the tastemakers.

The Future Of Music Panel

Vijay Nair – Spoke a lot about India, and mobile media and got some big laughs.

Zane Lowe – believes in focus on community. on Spotify “I like it” and encouraged band to build their careers on albums,

Adam Zammit (Peer Group) – “maybe refrain from giving all the content away” to encourage purchases

Martin Morales (European Director, Disney) – talked about brand tie ins. sponsor ships..

Listening panel.

Great band got played – eaststrikewest.

all the rest were rubbish.

Bands I Enjoyed:

Donots – Energetic Pop Punk from Germany.

The Cumshots – entertaining band not for the squeamish. expect blood, sweat and tears. he actually started crying at the end, Think Andrew WK trapped in scandinavia for 10 years!

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