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Mind the gap...

So the music industry finally made “the value gap” happen.

That phrase may have been a cue for most people to zone out whenever it’s been mentioned at a music business conference, but someone was clearly listening.

Consequently, the proposed European Commission copyright reforms are a victory for the old school music business, if not a fully resounding one. After all, turning proposals into actual legislation can take years, and can be subject to an awful lot of watering down. We may not even be in Europe by then.

Even so, the assumption is that, if YouTube and other UGC services have to clean up their act and be subject to the same copyright rules as other platforms, revenues will be boosted.

There’s a whole other music biz out there that sees the internet not as a threat, but an opportunity...

For the biggest rights-holders, that’s probably true. But there’s a whole other music business developing out there that sees the internet not as a threat to established revenue streams, but as an opportunity for new ones.

Skepta’s well-deserved win at the Mercury Prize on Friday, and his post-ceremony statement that “DIY is the future” threw such differences into sharp relief. The success of Konnichiwa – it had already sold 83,781 copies before his Mercury triumph, according to the OCC – has involved established companies when it needs to (publishing, distribution). But by and large, things have been done in Skepta’s own, independent way.

So the biz can celebrate the closing of the value gap (and having to hear that phrase a lot less). But it should also think about the chasm opening up between old and new school business models. Because no amount of EC legislation is going to bridge that.

Mark Sutherland, Editor msutherland@nbmedia

Party hard: UK Music heads for political conference season



UK Music is hoping for a successful party conference season as it prepares to lobby all the major political parties over a range of music biz issues.

UK Music’s campaigning kicked off at the weekend when it hosted the Liberal Democrats party conference disco in Brighton. It will host a drinks reception at The Beatles Story in Liverpool on September 27 as part of Labour’s conference and another at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham on October 3.

“Politicians have a different outlook during party conference time,” UK Music CEO Jo Dipple told Music Week. “If you’re an industry that cares about political decisions, which we obviously do, with the Digital Economy Bill and what’s going on with the European Commission’s copyright reform package, it’s an absolutely brilliant time to talk to party political people about the importance of getting their own parties onside.”

Of particular importance will be the Conservative party event, as the biz tries to get to grips with Theresa May’s new administration and previously relatively unknown figures such as new Culture Secretary Karen Bradley and Culture Minister Matt Hancock.

Music industry top brass will be out in force in Birmingham as part of a charm offensive, with the likes of Beggars Group founder/chairman Martin Mills, Warner Music UK chairman/CEO Max Lousada and Sony/ATV’s managing director, UK, and president, European creative Guy Moot, all due to attend.

Dipple said she had been “encouraged” by

Jo Dipple: “Getting parties onside”

Bradley and Hancock’s opening statements on the music business.

“Karen Bradley has said she will think about how government might develop assistance, and potentially tax assistance, to the industry,” she said. “We haven’t enjoyed creative industry tax credits and we could have more in that area.”

With a possible change to the Labour leadership also on the cards, UK Music will also be lobbying hard to get Her Majesty’s Opposition on side. And, after last week’s Music Week cover story about the threat to grassroots venues, Dipple said she hopes politicians will also back help for the live circuit.

“You’re not seeing investment in the grassroots,” said Dipple. “It’s not happening for various different reasons but it could do with a boost. There is an obvious failure in that bit of the market, and even a tiny bit of Arts Council money put aside to help grassroots music venues would make a huge difference to that particular part of our ecosystem.”

UTA to sponsor MUSEXPO Europe live biz panel

Leading live agents United Talent Agency are on board with this week’s MUSEXPO Europe conference as sponsors of the live music panel.

UTA will present the Evolution Of The Live Music Business In The Digital Age panel at the Millennium Hotel this morning (Monday, September 19). The panel will discuss the current issues in the live biz, with panellists including Robomagic CEO Rob Hallett, Live Nation UK’s president of touring international Phil Bowdery and UTA’s own Natasha Bent.

“United Talent Agency is proud to support MUSEXPO Europe and be a part of the discussion around developments in the live music industry,” UTA’s head of music worldwide Neil Warnock told

Neil Warnock

Music Week.

“The ever-evolving live experience is an integral part of any artist’s career and how we continue to grow the experience for audiences is sure to provoke lively debate. With such varied panels and a broad range of speakers confirmed it’s looking like MUSEXPO 2016 will be a very successful event.”

See pages 14-16 for a full guide to this year’s MUSEXPO Europe conference.




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