Ahead of this year’s 2020 edition, we’ve produced a series of interviews with Merlin’s newly appointed CEO Jeremy Sirota, IMPALA’s President Kees Van Weijen, WIN’s COO Charlie Philips and IMPF’s President Pierre Mossiat to get a sense of the key trends shaking the indie sector.

At a time when the independent sector is the driving force of the music community and the digitalization of our industry has made it global by nature, what are the main obstacles faced by independents around the world? We’ve asked to the heads of four of the world’s leading independent associations – IMPALA, Merlin, WIN and IMPF –, all representing a wide range of indies from both recording and publishing sector.



Making the most out of the opportunities brought by the digitalization of the business

“As the industry continues to be increasingly data and technology driven, we hear some concerns around how independent labels will access the necessary specialist skills and talent to take their businesses forward. There are some very interesting conversations ahead as to how the sector can support itself, now and in the future.”
Charlie Phillips COO, WIN (UK) – read the full interview here


Navigating a growingly complex digital ecosystem

The indie community is incredibly diverse. It constitutes a vast array of business types and entrepreneurs, operating now on a global basis. A core function of indie labels, distributors, and management companies is to find new artists and create great music. But these businesses now have to engage with an ever-increasing array of DSPs located around the world. This puts demands on their supply chain, engaging with DSPs, ingesting and interpreting data, and, for many, running a physical business. For Merlin, one message that was clearly articulated in our 2019 annual report was how Merlin helps to alleviate many of these challenges. Coupled with our members’ trust that Merlin can get the best possible deal, and provide best-in-class data and reporting, we help to empower their digital business.”
Jeremy Sirota, CEO, Merlin (UK) – read the full interview here


The “User-centric” model, the impact of tech developments and concentration

“Obviously, the issue of the value gap has taken over a lot of our attention over the past few years. With the EU copyright directive now adopted, the focus has turned towards the implementation of this directive, which will take a lot of energy and discussions in every EU member country.
The discussions launched by Deezer around a “user-centric” remuneration model for streaming are also of great interest, as are numerous other tech developments such as AI-generated music, blockchain, virtual reality or cloud-based voice service platforms. The list is quite long!
Yet, the usual issues of concentration seem to keep affecting the music business, with UMG in the process of selling half of its shares to new shareholders including Tencent. Is this a positive move for the music sector? We pretty much doubt it.“
Kees Van Weijen, President, IMPALA (Netherlands) – read the full interview here


Expanding the digital market in smaller markets and ensure fair remuneration

“IMPF is looking at how to promote the expansion of the digital market, particularly in small markets; the ongoing battle of ensuring fair shares and proper remuneration of rightsholders from digital revenues and how to bring to an end discriminatory practices so that there will be no more distinction between publishers whether indie or not, local or foreigner, writers, etc.”
Pierre Mossiat, CEO, IMPF (Belgium) – read the full interview here


For the past three years, Midem has partnered with these associations to give the voice to the indie music scene and provide a global overview of the state of the independent music ecosystem by creating the “Global Indie Voices” programme at Midem in Cannes. This half day of panels and case studies is designed to take the pulse of the indie community today by bringing together both high-level and new generation executives to share their experiences and visions for the future of the music business. The conversations look at how indies are building new business models that will shape tomorrow’s music industry, fighting to always adapt their strategies to a fast-evolving music ecosystem, as well as looking at what independence means throughout the world for both labels and publishers.


Make sure to catch the full Global Indie Voices track at Midem, next June!


As part of the Global Indie Voices, Spotify has partnered with Midem for an exclusive workshop dedicated to independents – artists, managers, songwriters or labels and distribution companies – that will present strategies and tools to make the most out of Spotify and reach global audience. Want to attend it? Apply here!

About Author

Manon Jessua is in charge of Midem’s conference programming, specializing on international music markets. She was instrumental in giving booming new music industries a central place in the event and in the creation of the High Potential Markets Programme, which aims at helping and supporting new territories to structure and develop their local music market. In this role, she led the launch of the inaugural Midem in Latin America in Rio de Janeiro in 2018, as well as the Midem African Forum across seven countries in the continent. Graduated from France’s world-class Humanities University, SciencesPo, she has lived in Latin America, Europe and Asia, working across multiple creative industries, and is passionate about giving local artists and music genres a voice, celebrating cultural exchanges in today’s truly global culture.

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