Well, it has been a pretty manic couple of days. TMV have been undertaking numerous high level video interviews of key movers and shakers form the digital side of the business. This did restrict our ability to attend all of the panels and sessions we wanted to. However below, I have outlined some tidbits from conference sessions TMV did make it down to.
A key element of the two days was David Eun Vice President of Content Partnerships at Google calling for closer partnership initiatives with record labels during his MidemNet keynote speech. However, on the flip side MUZU.tv the video player and channel start-up announced a deal with the Beggars group whereby the MUZU video player would become the preferred player used by all of the group’s labels and artists.
The IAEL workshop on licensing focused on 360 deals and their evolution. Louis Buchman of legal firm Field Fisher Waterhouse questioned the value of the industry of 360-degree deals stating that “these deals could be good for the majors, but do they serve the real purpose of the industry: to have lively, vibrant music production? I’m not sure at all it’s the right response to this problem”.
The TMV views this question as a valid one that the industry does need to examine itself in depth to really work out what is in the best long-term interest of the whole value chain within the music business.
Lawyer Paul Czech went further at the same panel stating that 360 deals are “not necessarily a great concept for the artist.” Following from TMV’s predictions for 2009 Czech pointed to pointed to potential conflicts of interest when one company controls all an artist’s revenue streams. Both lawyers did predict that there would be numerous litigation actions challenging 360 deals in the near future.
According to live music promoter Harvey Goldsmith “music is not about pleasing people; it’s about being edgy and having something to say. Fuck it! If it is strong and edgy, the fan will find it”. In TMVs view his comment is spot on and the industry should concentrate on signing edgy and progressive music, which pushes boundaries. Less manufactured shite and more music with heart and soul is what the industry requires.
Terry McBride CEO of Nettwerk Music Group countered by stating that the industry is changing and the industry needs to follow that change and not fight it. Going further, Ralph Simon founder of the MEF noted that with handset manufacturers and operators hiring record industry personnel, the mobile sector will increasingly influence the music industry. A good point to ponder in our view, especially if emerging markets are taken into account.
A MEF forum meeting led to some serious discussions in terms of mobile music and the unfair split between artists and record labels generally. Tim Clarke, manager of Robbie Williams went on to state “how can the major record labels justify taking 90% of the revenue and leaving the artist with less than 10%.” Answers anyone? Clarke went onto ask another very striking question. “Who is the richest man in the record industry?” his answer proved even more compelling as he stated Steve Jobs was CEO of Apple Corp was the richest man in the record industry. At the same panel recent TMV video interviewee Rob Lewis CEO of Omnifone lashed out at the amount of red tape involved in licensing.
For me Jim Basillie’s Co-CEO of RIM (Blackberry) keynote interview was on the money with him stating very clearly that music plays a big part in brand association for both handset manufacturers and operators. It enables them to come across as “cool” and music is a key part of almost everyone’s life.
On a final note, although footfall at Midem seemed lower today a lot of delegates and stand holders did mention that there were less timewasters and it was good for business.