Mixed re­cep­tion forU2­boss’s anti-Ap­ple speech

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Dur­ing his key­note speech at this week’s MIDEM mu­sic con­fer­ence, U2 man­ager Paul McGuin­ness blamed tech­nol­ogy and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies for the record in­dus­try’s cur­rent woes.

McGuin­ness said that th­ese com­pa­nies had prof­ited hugely from il­le­gal down­loads and that it was time for them to share the cash.

“They have built multi-bil­lion dol­lar in­dus­tries on the back of our con­tent with­out pay­ing for it,” he ar­gued. “It’s prob­a­bly too late for us to get paid for the past, though maybe that shouldn’t be com­pletely ruled out.

“The part­ner­ship be­tween mu­sic and tech­nol­ogy needs to be fair and rea­son­able. [In­ter­net ser­vice providers] tel­cos and tech com­pa­nies have en­joyed a bo­nanza in the last few years off the back of recorded mu­sic con­tent. It is time for them to share that with artists and con­tent own­ers.”

He also said that the mu­sic in­dus­try needed to “shift the fo­cus of moral pres­sure” away from in­di­vid­ual il­le­gal down­load­ers and fo­cus on “the multi-bil­lion dol­lar in­dus­tries that ben­e­fit from th­ese count­less tiny crimes”.

McGuin­ness, who ne­go­ti­ated an iPod deal for his clients U2 with Ap­ple in 2004, be­lieves that many of those be­hind the as­cen­dant tech com­pa­nies are show­ing “a dis­re­gard for the true value of mu­sic”, some­thing embed­ded in their “en­tre­pre­neur­ial, hippy val­ues”.

McGuin­ness’s speech pre­dictably re­ceived plenty of plau­dits from the record in­dus­try, but oth­ers were crit­i­cal of his com­ments.

Techdirt’s Mike Mas­nick pointed out that the real prob­lem was that “just about ev­ery other in­dus­try has re­alised that there’s plenty of money to be made in the mu­sic in­dus­try”, yet “the seg­ment of the mar­ket sell­ing plas­tic discs is un­will­ing to take some sim­ple steps to change its busi­ness model.”

Mu­sic in­dus­try ob­server Bob Lef­setz said that the speech showed – yet again – why “the mu­sic in­dus­try has to face re­al­ity”. Peo­ple still want mu­sic, said Lef­setz, but “they don’t want to pay 1990s prices for it.”

See U2.com for McGuin­ness’s speech.

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