THE ISSUE of mobile phone firms touting “all you can eat” offers of music for free, raised the temperature in a crowded Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF) workshop.
Tim Clark, manager of Robbie Williams and managing director of ie:music, slated record companies and publishers for taking too large a slice of the revenue pie: “How can the major record companies justify taking 90% of the revenue and leaving the artist with less than 10%?”
Switching fire to handset makers, he asked: “Who is the richest man in the record industry?” His answer: Steve Jobs. Liz Schimel of Nokia defended the publishers, saying there was a “sea change” in the way they worked, and pointed out that handset manufacturers were seeking to create a bigger pie.
But Rob Lewis of Omnifone lashed out at the amount of red tape involved in licensing. Ian Henderson of Sony Music Entertainment said the real value of the music offer was for telcos because it reduced customer churn — consumers were able to personalise their accounts and so stuck with a network. But Lewis said it also gave an opportunity to handset makes to provide products that are “fun to use”.