The day began with the Commerce of Chaos: Why Copyright Still Matters Online press conference, which was dominated by U2’s manager Paul McGuinness and author Robert Levine.
McGuinness (below) famously spent his 2008 midem keynote criticising ISPs for not doing more to fight piracy and foster legal music consumption among their customers. This time round, Google was squarely in his firing line.
Among his zingers about Google’s recent campaign against the proposed SOPA anti-piracy legislation in the US: “Never underestimate the ability of a monopoly to defend itself.” He also attacked the company’s policy when it comes to pirate sites in its search results.
“It amazes me that Google has not done the right thing. The experience of people when they go on Google and look for U2 music or PJ Harvey music is a shopping list of illegal opportunities to get their music.”
Levine was more measured, and pointed to the polarised nature of the war between the creative industries and technology companies as a problem.
“This is two sets of businesses with consumers in the middle. Consumers aren’t on one side,” he said. “There’s no moral superiority: companies on both sides want to maximise revenues. I don’t think Google is evil, I don’t think record companies are good.” There’s a full report of the session here.
Actually, Google has been trying to stress its partnerships with the music industry and artists, with a session last-thing yesterday to talk about how people are using YouTube.
There were big stats from YouTube’s Patrick Walker: 800m monthly unique users for the site, 4bn video views a day, and 500m mobile video views a day. The company now has 20,000 commercial ‘Partners’ with their own channels, including labels and artists.
Livestreaming gigs was a big part of the session: “500,000 went to Woodstock; we had millions who went to Coachella via YouTube,” said Walker. Meanwhile, EMI’s livestream of a gig by Swedish House Mafia attracted nearly 500,000 people, while a Coldplay webcast generated 13.5m streams on the night.
Indeed, Google’s video giant is so serious about music, they brought urban entrepreneur Jamal Edwards to demonstrate YouTube’s huge potential for music content. Full report here.
Elsewhere today, there is plenty of interesting stuff bubbling away. A three-hour conference by indie bodies WIN and Impala is trying to come up with a 10-point “Global Indie Manifesto”, to reach a combined view about the future of the industry, and independents’ role in that. The results will be announced tomorrow.
Elsewhere, the midem dack day hackers are still hacking – I’ve heard about some corking hacks and apps that are due to be shown off tomorrow – and there’s some good buzz around lyrics company LyricFind, which is touting its freshly-signed global deal with the four major publishers.
Then Joss Stone appeared at a press conference with Getty Images, for their new service, Guestlist. The service sees the company distributing not only photos, but also music to its clients, through a collection of partner labels. Ston’d Records, Stone’s own label, is the latest to sign up with Guestlist.
“There are a lot of things that Getty Images is good at that I don’t know anything about,” said Stone; “like how to get the best out of the modern, super-connected world, and getting my music in front of people through placement in adverts, movies, TV shows etc. It’s very exciting.”
In other news, the Majestic and Carlton lobbies are thrumming with networking; delegates are hoping the rain will shut up and let them go to the Ting Tings gig this evening; and there’s a very exciting music/tech bash tonight sponsored by a host of startups.
Let the wear and tear continue…