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As I pack my bags to attend MIDEM, I do so with a touch of apprehension because, while so much in the music industry has changed, so much remains the same:

  • Overall music sales are a fraction of what they were, but strong new sources of income have yet to emerge.
  • The same major labels still dominate most sales and airplay charts.
  • While new faces fill the digital slots, the senior executive suites at those majors remain controlled by men who have a proven resistance to real change.
  • Few strong new independent labels have emerged to challenge this old guard.
  • Even if Spotify were to use MidemNet to announce a U.S. launch, rightsholders stalled for far too long. And too many other worthy music services remain in an ill-defined line waiting for licencing.
  • In most countries, copyright laws are still unequipped to handle an age of digital music creation and consumption.

Every day on Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, we write about change in the music industry. So, perhaps I’ve come to expect too much too soon. This year, as in previous ones, I’ll be looking around the room at MIDEM. For all the talk of revolution starting in dorm rooms and garages, if real change is to happen in the music industry, these are the people who must start it.


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