Newsletter #56 October 2008
AGE OF AQUARIUS?
Years before the internet broke the system, the big distributors, Total, TEN and the like, which offered the main routes into retail, were owned by the majors, with a handful of others such as Vital and 3MV while it lasted, maintaining their independent status.
The early noughties, characterised by denial and the failed big business initiatives PressPlay and MusicNet, led to the keys to the van falling in the hands to iTunes, who did a great job kicking-starting the download market.
The map is changing again and this time the terrain is an ad-funded, socially networked wild west whose development is altering the course of the business. Deals are coming ten to the dozen, with lawyers at the big four and Merlin working all hours to close them.
But there are causes for concern. To begin with the big four are taking equity stakes in MySpace Music, Imeem and the like, whereas it’s certainly not clear a fair deal will be made with independents. Apart from the obvious issue of valuing independent repertoire equal to major repertoire, the ownership stakes hint at an attempt to gain a dominant position in this new arena.
“What’s the problem” some may argue, “that’s how it worked before”. Well, while there’s never any need to hark back to the dark ages, these new platforms will potentially play a much bigger role in promotion and marketing than traditional retail ever did. With more choice than before, however, fans will vote with their feet and even if a dominant position is not tempered by competition authorities, any lack of editorial integrity may well lead to a repeat of PressPlay and
The second issue is a worrying lack of transparency about how these new services will work. Case in point, as of last week, the music managers still hadn’t got a straight answer about the business model for Nokia’s Comes With Music (and given the first CWM deal was closed last December, we can’t really accuse them of being impatient). This compounds other concerns about how attributable to artists new media licensing revenues are, against a backdrop of poor or no payouts from some of the filesharing settlements of yesteryear.
Arguably the majority of revenues from those payouts was spent on legal fees. And judging by Columbia’s Mike Smith’s keynote at our February think tank and indeed Lyor Cohen’s comments at In The City, some at majors feel a renewed commitment to timely payment and fair dealing.
Unwilling to rely on hope alone, the managers and artists are wising up. And where the voice of a manager might be ignored, a press-friendly artist complaining of unfair treatment will be harder to brush aside. But to believe the Featured Artists Coalition’s potential is as an instrument for media leverage alone is foolhardy.
FAC is being led by some of the most advanced managers in the world including the likes of Tim Clark, who is opening up the whole label system, and Brian Message whose band, Radiohead, have a particularly independent-minded digital philosophy.
In short Artists are becoming a lot more savvy about their digital rights, and if transparency, attributability and fair dealing doesn’t come through soon, they have second thoughts about where and who to place them with.
We’d love to see a music business where less time had to be spent fighting for a fair deal in new music spaces, but in truth, the Age of Aquarius concept that began our think tank series five years ago remains but a pipedream.
Editorial by Sam Shemtob
OUT & ABOUT: MusicTank Events
Please remember all MusicTank events MUST be booked and paid for in advance! Become a member of MusicTank and enjoy priviledged discounts on all MusicTank events…
Let’s Sell Recorded Music!
Illegally downloaded any music recently? Given that nearly two thirds of all internet traffic is made up of P2P activity these days, if you haven’t, then most young people you know are. Since Napster first reared its head in the late nineties, the recorded music business has tried in vain to put the genie back in the bottle. The result – some pr blunders and an estimated 20:1 illegal/legal download rate.
For music fans it’s been a golden age where hard to find and out of print releases have been readily available alongside the latest hits of the day, but with no way of monetising these streams the record labels have been forced to watch their profits dwindle while the world’s been moving online.
The UK government has taken notice and is overseeing a three-pronged initiative aimed at educating and developing awareness, dealing with the most serious infringers and facilitating legitimate offerings.
This Think Tank series will focus on that third prong: effective legitimate alternatives. Over the course of the four events (below), we will review what people want, where technology is heading, what the most plausible new models are and how they might be licensed.
Level: Think Tank – medium-to-high level of knowledge required; open to all.
21 Oct – ‘Here We Are Now, Entertain Us!’
Kicking off the series, panel one will take a long hard look at what music consumers actually want and how this tallies with the status quo and raft of new services in various stages of development or launch. Will we see monolithic music portals dispensing entertainment with all the charm of a Wal-Mart, or will they incorporate some of the sharing and word-of-mouth qualities that the internet does so well? Will each ISP run its own service or will there be several operations each serving their own niche communities? Which models are likely to be most compelling and hence fly with music fans? And finally, what of the companies who have spent several years and fortunes building up legal download services – how can they adapt to a world where music is bundled to the consumer in a feels-like-free way?
SPEAKERS: Keynotes – Feargal Sharkey (CEO, UKMusic) & Keith Jopling (Strategy Consultant / Juggernaut Brew). Panel: Paul Hitchman (MD, PlayLouder); Andrew Orlowski (Music Editor, The Register), others tbc.
04 Nov – ‘We Have The Technology, What’s The Solution?’
Panel two will consider technology’s limitations and capabilities to filter, deliver and monitor digital traffic as well as consider the potential of current, legitimate P2P platforms. Panel to incl. Frank Taubert (CEO, 24-7 Entertainment) and Jonathan Friend (Founder, Friend MTS / Fortify Media), others tbc
18 Nov – ‘Coalition Of The Billing’
This third session considers licensing implications, necessary reforms and possible solutions in response to Web 2.0’s ever expanding capability to deliver new digital services. Panel to incl. Tom Frederikse (Solicitor, Clintons), others tbc.
02 Dec – ‘Squaring The Circle’
Drawing together conclusions from the series and scope possible areas for consultation, research and development. In scoping areas for further development, MusicTank will facilitate consultation, analysis and research required to better inform the conversations that will deliver real innovations and help square the circle. Panel to incl. Simon Persoff (Orange); Will Page (Chief Economist, MCPS-PRS Alliance), others tbc.
Booking: Each session may be booked individually at the usual rates (£20 MusicTank Members | £25 Trade Body | £30 Full Price). A series discount for all four sessions is also available, with the following discounts applying…
£70 MusicTank Members – save £10 | £85 Trade Body – save £15 | £100 Full Price – save £20
To get the series discount, visit: http://www.musictank.co.uk/events/lets-sell-recorded-music-4-ticket-bundle
To book for events individually, please follow the individual links above.
Venue: All sessions take place at the MCPS-PRS Alliance, Berners Street, London | Time: 18.30 – 21.00hrs.
JAMES PAIN: No Business Is Showbusiness
With Joe Pox away, once again, meet James Pain (Speaks His Brain)…
We might not be quite at the stage where the street cleaners of Canary Wharf are scraping the remains of distraught stockbrokers off the pavement, but it’s fair to say the economy is going through testing times. And yet, despite every square inch of the press being devoted scary looking graphs and sad faced bankers, the music industry seems oblivious to the global downturn. Sure a few will suffer and the sight of P Diddy forced to ground his fictitious private jet might tug at the heartstrings of many but in general it seems to be business as usual (i.e. we’re still not selling any CDs so who cares?).
Indeed music tends to thrive on these edgier days and we should embrace their return. Would punk have been half the force it was had it not been projected against a backdrop of uncollected bins and social unrest, would acid house and warehouse raves have provided such a glorious release if they hadn’t soundtracked Thatcher’s boom and bust. What do we have to show for 10 years of economic sunshine under Blair and Brown, Keane? Coldplay?
So bring on your recession, let the banks crumble. Somewhere out there a bunch of kids are cooking up some new sounds that will either make us forget our worries or provide a laser like focus for our righteous anger. We may (still) not be making any money but then neither is anyone else. Be bold, the expense account may take a knocking but in the long run we have nothing to fear but fear itself and just possibly our index linked mortgages.
MUSICTANK LOUNGE: Artist Road-Map
Last issue we heard from James Yuill’s manager, Amul Batra, on life after the artist road-mapping session with Terry McBride. Now we’d like to hear from you. If you attended the conference and put some of Terry’s brainstorm ideas into practice we’d love to hear from you as we piece together what strategies may be working, what hasn’t worked and how to develop the ideas further.
If you have something to say please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org – and we’ll take it from there.
INDUSTRY DIARY: Other Music Industry Events
27-29 Oct: MUSEXPO Europe
MUSEXPO will host a top line-up of speakers and live performers from all over the world for its first annual European conference taking place at London’s Cumberland Hotel.
The conference debates are set to focus on all the issues affecting the business, with senior executives confirmed from right across the international industry including Ged Doherty (Sony Music), George Ergatoudis (Radio 1), Bruce Flohr (ATO), Nick Gatfield (EMI), David Goldberg (Benchmark Capital), Harvey Goldsmith, Nic Harcourt(KCRW, LA), Shabs Jhobanaputra (Relentless), Mark Jones (Wall Of Sound), Jeremy Lascelles (Chrysalis), Alex Patsavas (Chop Shop), Steve Schnur (Electronic Arts) Steven Stewart (Nokia) and a rare opportunity to hear from one of the greatest songwriters of our time – Diane Warren. Tommy Ramone will also be in conversation with Seymour Stein discussing the life and times of one of the most influential rock bands ever.
Among the many signed and unsigned bands showcasing will be Cocknbullkid (UK), Polarkreis 18 (Germany), Laura Izibor (US), Young Lovers (Australia), The Travelling Band (UK), Dune (Denmark), Natalia Lesz (Poland), Boxer Rebellion (UK) and JukeBox Vandals (UK), winner of the Xfm Unsigned contest.
Registration for MUSEXPO Europe includes complimentary networking breakfasts, lunches and evening buffet/cocktail parties, as well as all the conference and showcase events.
28-29 Oct: MPA Induction Course For Newcomers To Music Publishing
Location: British Music House, 26 Berners St, London, W1
The MPA Induction Course is an essential overview of the music publishing industry, its organisations and their roles. It is ideal for those new to the music industry or those familiar with other areas of the business but who would like an introduction to the wonderful world of publishing.
The next course will take place on Tuesday 28 October 2008 from 9.30am – 4.30pm and Wednesday 29 October 2008 from 9.30am – 1.30pm. Places cost £130+VAT for MPA members and £210+VAT for non-members. The price includes lunch on the first day, and refreshments throughout.
To register or for more information, visit:
29 Oct: AIM – Marketing On A Shoestring
In Association With IMD Fastrax, this AIM masterclass will examine the art of successful music marketing on a shoestring budget. Aimed at all sizes of label, from those with no marketing budget to larger ones looking to get more results from their marketing spends – the event will bring together some of the music industry’s most experienced and successful marketeers to share their tips and techniques. The event will be split into 3 parts:
1. Music Marketing in 2008
Presented by Mark Mitchell of King Harvest, the first session will give attendees the chance to learn about the current music market, and low cost ways of getting their music into the market.
2. Ask The Experts
Music marketeers from some of the independent sector’s most successful labels take questions from the audience on all aspects of music marketing. Want to find out how much of your budget should be spent online? Or at what point to hire a plugger? Or how make use of social networking sites? Ask the experts:
Max Bloom (Concept Music), Rosie Bryant (One Stop Shop), Mark Mitchell (King Harvest), David Emery(Beggars), Stephen Hallowes (Beggars) and Ben Watt (Buzzin’ Fly).
3. How Did We Do It? Marketing Campaign Case Studies
The final section of the evening will see marketing gurus from two top independent labels give case study presentations of successful marketing campaigns that they have ran.
Case studies will be provided by Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl and independent label Buzzin’ Fly, and David Emery and Stephen Hallowes of Beggars, who won the Best Breakthrough award for Vampire Weekend at last week’s BT Digital Music Awards.
Date/Time: Wednesday 29th October 08 – 6pm-10pm
Venue: MCPS Boardroom, 29-33 Berners Street, London, W1T 3AB (nearest tubes: Goodge Street / Oxford Circus)
Cost: £10 (inc VAT and drinks) for members/Friends of AIM, £30 (inc VAT and drinks) for non members. 20% off full ticket price for members of affiliates.
Tickets are limited, early booking advised.
MPA/MMF Management Development Programme 2008
Don’t fret if you missed the first module of this course – all modules are self contained, with the following events still to come:
20 Oct: Module 2 – UK & International Live Music: “Are You Talking To Me?”
This session aims to explore and explain what is actually happening in the live music sector in 2008 in order that all parties involved know and understand the deals that are (or can be) made – both here in the UK, and for overseas work. No smoke, no mirrors..
Ticket Agencies & Box Offices: access to market, splits & fees: now you see them, now you don’t
Booking Agents: who, how, how much, how many & where?
Promoters: gross potential, break percentage, plus, versus, crossing, added value, etc.
Festivals: partners, media rights, anchor dates, etc.
Tour Management: budgets, settlements, contacts, logistics, itineraries, etc.
Key terms & conditions in relevant contracts / agreements
10 Nov: Module 3 – Income from Overseas: Licensing & Distribution. “When Is A Record Label Not A Record Label?”
24 Nov: Module 4 – Show Me The Money: “Alternative Sources Of Funding. The Reality”
Time: 6.30pm – 9.30pm
Venue: All modules will be held in the Alliance Boardroom, Copyright House, Berners St, London, W1.
Cost: £75 (incl VAT). Discounts are available for members of MPA, MMF, AIM, APRS, BACS, BPI, IAMA and MPG.
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
|If you have any queries regarding any of our events or activities, please call us on +44 (0) 20 8357 7317, or email: email@example.com
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily condoned or shared by MusicTank. MusicTank is a non-profit organisation owned and operated by University of Westminster. University of Westminster is a charity and a company limited by guarantee. Reg Number: 977818, England. Registered Office: 309 Regent Street, London, W1. MusicTank is based at University of Westminster, Watford Road, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3TP
Sections Below:OUT & ABOUT: MusicTank Events
JAMES PAIN: No Business Is Showbusiness
MUSICTANK LOUNGE: Artist Road-Map
INDUSTRY DIARY: Other Music Industry Events
That's all for this issue - 'til next time...
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