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The imeem deal, which includes the corpse of Snocap once again, illustrates why people like me get so angry with what is going on. imeem gets bought, money changes hands, directors get sorted out and I dare say the lawyers and various other creditors, but there is no news of any artists or other creators getting paid a penny. 

This reminds me of all the other up front money and equity deals, and other devices that have gained the labels and major publishers vital cash for their bonuses and, occasionally, their shareholders, while leaving the creators out in the cold. The people who are really carrying the can for the whole digital catastrophe are the workers who have lost their jobs at the labels and publishers and in retail and the people who have actually made the music

This goes to the heart of the problem of legitimacy in the online world. If the consumer does not think the deal is fair they will not pay when they can get the content for free. If the labels really wanted to undermine piracy they would do a deal with their artists to share all the money that comes in as fairly as possible, and in discussion with them and their advisors. They would not carry their physical deals into the digital domain but rather treat their artists as partners

They would look after them as well or better than they should look after their employees. If the artists were enthusiastically backing the labels then the unauthorised use of music would drop

When we can also read that the proposed method of stopping the unauthorised use of music in the UK might cost up to £500 million, according to the biased Carphone Warehouse, one is forced to ask, what is going on? What is the Racket ? 

We cannot expect the public to understand copyright law. They never had to in the past, why do they have to start now ? If it is possible to easily download music, make copies on memory sticks or other blank media, and send them to friends, it requires the co-operation of the public to get us all to pay. This is why legitimacy is so important, and why the industry needs to reach out to the creators and get them to feel that they are partners, not just dumb fools who can be ripped off with ease, as they are too disorganised and incoherent politically to matter.

Changing the behaviour of the corporations is the first step to developing a new coherent business model for the recorded music business, which includes all the current sectors. Then this new business partnership can also work with the technology companies and with the consumers to explore new business models that can compete with free and which work with the technology not against it. Fairness is the key, not just profitability, share prices and bonuses.

Join Peter Jenner at the IMMF round table at MIDEM on Sunday, January 24,  12.30-14.00


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About Author

James Martin

James Martin is Head of Social Media for Midem organisers Reed MIDEM. This includes defining and rolling out Midem's social media strategy, editing midemblog, influencer outreach, developing Midem's fanbase of 75,000+ music professionals and more.

2 Comments

  1. Music technology entrepreneure, probably soon to be sued like all others. on

    Imeem was sold for less than $1M, basically a de facto liquidation, and the investment in it was around 35 million. How much of that risk did the artists and their advisors took on? nothing.
    Warner Music did take a bit of risk and invested. At least they are trying honestly to find new storefronts to generate income where the competition is ‘free’, as in ‘stolen music’.
    Sequoia Capital, Morgenthaler Ventures and others lost a lot and will think three times if to ever invest again in a music related startups. The forensic of why Imeem failed is clear: You can’t pay the music industry per play and not charge your customers a bit more than your cost.
    The music industry needs to look at new music technology as the future storefront. We, the innovators and risk takers, are investing a lot of money and the marrow of our bones into a new venture and try to make an honest buck for the entire ecosystem of music. Let us be. Don’t sue us out of the water. Don’t fee us to death. We can’t ‘pay per play’ – the deep pockets to do that are few and the music industry thought them expensive lessons to stay away.
    Labels, publishers, lawyers, managers, artists, everyone else in the business must have the end point: the consumer facing entity, to even have a business.
    Embrace the the future of music discovery, distribution and monetization, or get out of the way as the tide is washing everything on its way. The music industry can not sue its way out of this hole; We, the innovators and entrepreneurs, are your hope.

  2. Peter speaks alot of sense, entrpreneurs like the guy who comented above just don’t understand what musician have to do to create music and there in its value. I hate the way these geek refer to hard working musician as “The Music Industry” like it was the ffin borg..
    Many Labels we work with are pulling out of services that don’t give a fair deal.
    Fairness is the key, good services will get the best content first.
    Check out Gogyoko.com this year at midem

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