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2/10/2017
Amazon's Jeff Bezos & Steve Boom on Starting a New 'Golden Age' for Music | Power

eff Bezos (left) and Steve Boom photographed on Jan. 20 at Amazon in Seattle. Christopher Patey Billboard Power 100 Cover: Amazon's Jeff Bezos & Steve Boom on Starting a New 'Golden Age' for Music Bezos and Boom come in at No. 12 on Billboard's 2017 Power 100 list. JEFF BEZOS, 53Founder/CEO, AmazonLast year's rank: N/A STEVE BOOM, 48Vice president, Amazon MusicLast year's rank: 83 Amazon founder Jeff Bezos would make almost any list of the world’s most powerful people. In retail, he’s clearly on top, and in tech, he’s close to it. In book publishing, he would be the undisputed No. 1 for 10 years running. In addition to a $65 billion stake in Amazon, Bezos owns the Blue Origin rocket company, The Washington Post, his own venture capital firm and a founder’s stake in Google. He might be the most powerful businessman alive, and his company is a credible contender to be the stock market’s first trillion-dollar corporation. Read More Billboard's 2017 Power 100 List Revealed But the music business remains unconquered territory for Amazon. The company’s early lead in CD retailing was undone by MP3 piracy, and during the digital downloading craze Amazon was overtaken by Apple’s iTunes Store. A 2005 internal experiment with music streaming at Amazon was scuttled before it launched, creating a opening that’s now filled by Spotify, with 40 million subscribers, and Apple Music, with 20 million. The company’s latest bid for more eardrums is Amazon Music Unlimited, a subscription-based streaming service launched in October 2016. Alexa, Amazon’s branded digital assistant, will be the determining factor in its success. The sophisticated voice-recognition algorithm that Alexa employs has emerged during the past year as the leading technology of its kind. Having captured this lead, Bezos has been pushing Alexa hard, first through his Amazon Echo speaker, and, more recently, through its diminutive companion, the Amazon Echo Dot, which was the company’s top-selling item this past holiday season. Bezos’ enthusiasm has spread to the music industry, where executives speak in glowing terms of the devices. “The metric you look at more than any other to determine whether a subscriber is going to stick around is engagement,” says Ole Obermann, chief digital officer of Warner Music Group. “It’s still early days, but the engagement numbers we see from these devices are really, really good.” Read More Amazon Prime Music Subscriptions Up 50 Percent Last Year, Study Says Users control Alexa with simple, natural-language voice commands: “Alexa, play ‘Bad and Boujee’ ”; “Alexa, what’s playing right now?” The service also can create complex playlists on the fly: “Alexa, play jazz fusion from the ’70s”; “Alexa, shuffle trap music from last year.” These commands aren’t processed by the device itself, but by Amazon’s massive machine-learning architecture in the cloud. Bezos envisions multiple Echoes in each home, plus one in the car. The more of these devices Amazon sells, the more the music industry stands to earn, catalyzing a virtuous cycle. “One of the primary use cases we had in mind when we invented Echo and Alexa was making the music streaming process in the home completely friction-free,” he says. “If you make things easier, people do more of it.” Billboard caught up with Bezos in January, at Amazon’s spiffy new “Doppler” building in downtown Seattle. (“Doppler” was the company’s code name for Echo.) We were joined by Amazon Music vice president Steve Boom. Both men were fit and casually dressed, and sat arm’s-length apart on a plush blue couch, in a conference room overlooking a 17th-floor company dog park. Accompanied, occasionally, by the faint sound of barking, Bezos and Boom spoke candidly about their goals, their vision and why you need a voice-activated assistant in your bathroom. You’re a late arrival to the streaming music space. Spotify is the market leader, and Apple and Google have so far failed to dethrone it. How do you hope to compete? Jeff Bezos: Well, here’s what I would say: We’ve been in the music category since 1998. It was the second category we launched after books. Our customers listen to a lot of music and we have a couple of freight trains kind of pulling the business along. One is Prime, and the other is Echo and Alexa. Steve Boom: We don’t wake up thinking, “How do we beat Spotify?” We think about the opportunity in front of us, and we think there’s room for multiple winners. Obviously we’re big into families, and our age demographic is different than the other services. It tends to skew a little bit older. Because it’s a household device, our goal is to get everyone up into the family plan, ultimately. You’re known for your obsessive focus on the customer. Where do you see that Amazon DNA in this product? Bezos: Oh, everywhere. It’s one of the most customer-centric things we’ve ever done — the ability of natural language to control your music right into your kitchen or bedroom. It’s the perfect marriage between high tech — Alexa and Echo — and this thing that people everywhere love, which is music. Boom: If you’re asking people to pay for streaming music in a world where there are a lot of free alternatives, then you need to build a service that they want to use every day. And that’s one of the beauties of this device. What we are seeing is that people are listening to more music than ever: we see from data, and we hear anecdotally from customers. Since I have the Echo in my kitchen, my living room, my bedroom, the kids’ room, we’re listening to more music than we were listening to in the past. Christopher Patey Jeff Bezos photographed on Jan. 20 at Amazon in Seattle. Jeff, how wired is your house? Bezos: (Laughs loudly.) I have slowly but relentlessly added an Echo or an Echo Dot into every room of my house, including the bathrooms. I started in my kitchen, and I just kept adding to another room, and was frustrated when I happened to be in the bathroom and couldn’t ask Alexa what the weather is or something. I think I’m a pioneer in that regard. How many times a day are you using this? Bezos: Well, it’s a communal device. Unlike a phone, which is a personal device. My kids — I have four kids — and my wife and I use it continuously. Everyone has their own playlists and music preferences and if they’re all in the kitchen together they stomp on each other with their Alexa requests. It’s cacophony with four kids in the house. And if you look at the recent [Consumer Electronics Show] announcements, you’ll see most manufacturers are already laying in plans to put Echo and Alexa in the car. This year? Bezos: Yes. We’ve been working on it for years, but [the automakers] decided to announce it at CES in Las Vegas in January. Read More 6 Music Industry Powerbrokers to Watch And what’s on your playlist? Bezos: There’s an Amazon music station that Steve’s team programs called “Americana.” I really like that. And I’m listening to a lot of Zac Brown Band lately. Not what I would have thought. Bezos: Don’t forget, I lived in Houston until I was 12. Boom: As for me, I’ve had Green Day’s new record, Revolution Radio, on repeat for the last month and a half. The other thing I’m excited about this year is U2’s Joshua Tree Tour. They’ve been my favorite band since I was 12 — I discovered them with War. I’m dating myself. Does Alexa change your listening habits? Boom: Definitely. When you have nothing to look at, it’s liberating. You’re not constrained by the technology — you’re only constrained by your imagination, and when you talk to Alexa, you ask for music in ways that would be difficult to do in a visual app. I’ll give you some examples: We saw a couple of customers asking for music by their mood. Like, “Hey, can you play me some happy music? Or some sad music?” Then we saw people getting more micro. Like, “Can you play me sad country music from the ’90s?” Now, if you think about how you would do that inside of an app, no one would ever ask that, right? They would go, “OK, I want to listen to U2 from the ’80s, so I’m going to type in U2, get to U2’s artist screen. OK, which albums are from the ’80s? OK, I’m going to create a new playlist, drag the songs...” Five minutes later, you’re listening to music. But this is five seconds. Christopher Patey Steve Boom photographed on Jan. 20 at Amazon in Seattle. How big can this be? Bezos: At this point in the marriage of voice-activation technology with music, I can tell you it’s already working. The next gigantic growth area for the music industry is the home. Boom: We’re pretty optimistic about the future. I think we’re at the cusp of what I would call the Golden Age here. Golden age of what? Boom: Music. Of the music industry. That’s a bold claim. Boom: Well, we think long-term here... We’re not saying tomorrow it’s going to magically shoot up, but when we look at the long-term prospects of the music industry, we’re incredibly bullish. When I use voice activation, it’s like summoning music from thin air. I feel like a wizard. Bezos: (Laughs.) Summoning! I like that. But after using it, I said to myself, “This is it. This is the end. There’s no room for further technological improvement in the music industry.” Is that true? Bezos: I doubt it. I mean, it’s a very good point, but the world is littered with corpses that predicted technology in a particular arena was done. If there’s another gigantic step change out there, we don’t yet know what it is. But we’ll keep looking for it. Boom: We’re really at the very beginning of the voice interface. Bezos: We’re just at day one. But it’s such a positive surprise for us, and we always double down on positive surprises. We expected Echo, Alexa and music on Echo to be successful, but it has far exceeded our most optimistic scenarios. You seem to have a technical edge here. Where did that come from? Bezos: We worked on Echo and Alexa behind the scenes. No one knew we were working on it for almost four years. And we had a couple thousand people working on it. Now it’s more, and they are among the best machine-learning computer scientists in the world. Everyone is throwing so much money at this right now. Apple has Siri, and Google has its Google Assistant. How did you capture the lead? Bezos: We just started early. We’ve been doing machine learning inside Amazon for more than a decade and using it for things like customer recommendations and other things that are down a level from the consumer. For example, at our Amazon Fresh business, we now have a machine-learning system that outperforms humans on grading strawberries. Jeff, how much time are you personally devoting to this? Bezos: I try to spend my time on areas that I think are important for the future, and where I think I can add value. I also like to spend time on things that energize me — and I dance into work if I have Echo and Alexa meetings on my schedule that day. I spent all day yesterday working on it. This is about more than just music, isn’t it? If you succeed, you’ll have placed an Amazon cash register in every house in the country. Bezos: It’s not about that. For sure, if you have a 2-year-old and you see that you’re running low on diapers, we want to make that easy for you. But voice interface is only going to take you so far on shopping. It’s good for reordering consumables, where you don’t have to make a lot of choices, but most online shopping is going to be facilitated by having a display. Alexa is primarily about identifying tasks in the household that would be improved by voice. Music is one. Another is home automation. So, you can say, “Alexa, turn off all the lights in the house.” “Alexa, turn the temperature up two degrees.” That’s really an amazing thing to be able to do.

1/31/2017
IS THE GLOBAL SYNC MARKET SET TO EXPLODE FOR INDIE LABELS AND UNSIGNED ARTISTS?

Is the global sync market set to explode for indie labels and unsigned artists? Music Business WorldwideJanuary 19, 2017 The amount of money pouring into record companies from sync keeps on growing. According to IFPI figures, record companies accrued $355m from licensing their tracks to video games, movies and TV in 2015 – up 6.6% year-on-year. The US is the world’s largest sync market, accounting for 57% of 2015’s revenue with $203m, while other standout territories included the UK ($33m), France ($30m) and Japan ($30m). Yet behind this lucrative growth stands an entertainment industry in flux. The rise of on-demand television and movies, combined with the increasingly heavy investment in original programming from the likes of Netflix and Amazon, has turned the nature of movie-making and broadcasting on its head. Netflix, for example, says it’s going to invest an eye-watering $6bn in original content in 2017, while Amazon is keeping up with recent blockbuster shows such as Goliath and The Man In The High Castle (pictured). According to UK-based firm Music Gateway, this huge expenditure is starting to create a unique opportunity for independent labels and unsigned artists. Since being founded in 2011, Music Gateway has made its name matching musicians and songs with specific projects online – be that a manager looking for an artist, a DJ in need of a stem for a remix or a movie searching for a soundtrack. As a result, its executive sync team have become close associates of Hollywood’s licensing community – particularly the Music Supervisors Guild and its network of influential members. To better capitalize on these relationships, Music Gateway has this month launched an online Sync Portal to assist music supervisors, brands and ad agencies – offering tailored search tools to uncover the exact sounds they’re looking for. The Portal is currently servicing Music Gateway’s network of 700 music supervisors worldwide, including the likes of John Houlihan (Deadpool, The Book Of Life), Joel C High (The Devil’s Rejects) and Jonathan McHugh (Rush Hour, The Guest). In addition, Music Gateway recently inked a deal with an advertising group which represents over 300 agencies such as BBDO, DDB, TBWA and Vox Global – companies all now effectively plugged into music the company represents. The Sync Portal is obviously a time-saving application for those who clear music for movies etc., but why does Music Gateway believe it can revolutionize the careers of independent and emerging artists? “The sync market as a whole is growing, but the average sync budget of each project has fallen considerably over recent years,” explains Jon Skinner, CEO of Music Gateway. “That’s partly due to expenditure being capped, but also because of a massive change in the market – the vast amount of content now being created by the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Vice. “The sync market as a whole is growing, but the average sync budget of each project has fallen considerably over recent years.” Jon Skinner, Music Gateway “In turn, the major networks in the US are following suit: Disney ABC told us last year that they have moved from a model of 80% of their content being licensed in, to 80% of their content being made in-house.” This combination of reduced sync budgets with an explosion of content investment, claims Skinner, has resulted in a greater need for music in TV, Ads and movie-land; specifically, music which doesn’t cost anywhere close to a Fleetwood Mac or Beatles hit. It’s here, he says, where indies and unsigned artists can clean up. The Music Gateway Sync Portal currently only accepts pre-cleared and approved tracks – whereby the rights holder / creative owns both the master and publishing sync rights to the music. This is not only to keep things straightforward from a licensing perspective, says Skinner – it’s also a response to address one of the sync community’s biggest headaches. “The TV and advertising world works so quickly,” adds Skinner. “People are coming in at 9am stateside and trying to clear music for shows going on air that day at 6pm. “That’s obviously not ideal, but it’s the reality; they’re the constraints supervisors are working under from the producers and their bosses.” “just like A&R people, music supervisors are bombarded. Our Portal helps put power back in their hands.” Jon Skinner, Music Gateway He adds: “Traditionally, supervisors are being pitched music to answer a brief for a TV show or film – and, just like A&R people, they’re bombarded. “It’s quite a long-winded, time-consuming process. Our Portal helps put power back in their hands.” The concept has already attracted the support of large-scale independent artist distributor CD Baby, which represents more than 2m pre-cleared songs opted-in for sync licensing. Jon Bahr, CD Baby’s VP of Music Publishing and Rights Management, said: “We are always looking for avenues to get our client’s music in front of music supervisors around the globe. “We are thrilled to be part of Music Gateway’s new Sync Portal where we can showcase our top songs to the leading agencies and supervisors.” Music Gateway is offering a more generous split to artists and rights-owners than the likes of Music Dealers – the online music licensing hub which fell into liquidation last year. Those who sign up to the Portal on a non-exclusive basis (ie. maintaining the right to pitch their music outside of Music Gateway), will keep 75% of any sync fees accrued through the system. However, those artists/publishers/labels who offer Music Gateway exclusivity will get a bigger slice of the pie, with 80% of any eventual fee. Rights-holders/creatives can push up to 20 masters into the Portal for free, and can add many more tracks and whole catalogues when subscribed to a Music Gateway Premium Pro / Business accounts (£12/$15 per month upwards). The Sync Portal is off to a flying start, with more than 400 rights holders joining within its first week of launch. “We don’t really see ourselves as competition to the large publishers who are pitching for syncs out there.” Jon Skinner, Music Gateway “While we’ve got a large community of unsigned artists, we also represent a lot of independent labels and publishers,” says Skinner. “There’s been a movement from both a label and publisher perspective to secure additional rights in recent years, which means many independent tracks can be cleared as a ‘one-stop’ by a single company. If you’re a label with 500 tracks, for example, but only 150 are ‘one-stop’, you can just upload those into the Portal.” Additionally, the Portal allows publishers, should they use sub-publishers abroad, to declare the territories in which they own (and don’t own) relevant rights – in addition to writer and PRO information. According to Skinner, Music Gateway will consider the ingestion of tracks where rights are split across different companies in the future. “We don’t really see ourselves as competition to the large publishers who are pitching for syncs out there,” he says. “There’s a huge opportunity here for us to harness relationships in the sync community we’ve invested a lot of time and effort into – and, at the same time, to help the indie music sector both with revenue generation and the challenge of breaking artists.”Music Business Worldwide

12/4/2016
Rise Of The Robot Music Industry

Rise of the robot music industry # FT 02.12.2016 Robotic is not an adjective that many musicians would want applied to their songs but the industry has been fast to embrace data analytics and artificial intelligence to help tailor its services to the increasingly fickle listener. Algorithms are seeping into the music business to help with talent spotting, promotion and even composition in an industry that has been historically resistant to change and was one of the first to feel the effects of “disruption” through piracy and music sharing. Streaming services have already ushered in an era of “hyper personalisation” for music lovers. Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist, launched in July 2015, had racked up 40m listeners around the world and 5bn track streams by May this year, according to a report from the BPI prepared by Music Ally. These playlists monitor what a person is listening to, and cross-references that data with other users with similar tastes to recommend new songs and artists. Apple Music has opted to use human curators such as Zane Lowe, the radio DJ, for its playlists, but Spotify has doubled down on its robotic recommenders with new services such as Release Radar and the Daily Mix to tempt its subscribers down different paths. Yet discovery is only the equivalent of a debut album for streaming services, and can be a blunt tool. Users of Spotify Discover complain that it is hit and miss — often suggesting the same artists and songs repeatedly, and failing to adapt to the often random whims of the listener. The industry is now hoping that the use of artificial intelligence will bring better analytics, and even predictive technology. A listener’s location, mood and even the weather conditions are now being built into some recommendation engines. Google Play is, for example, working on such adaptive functions. “A bot will be able to recognise guilty pleasures . . . see that I’ve been to the pub and serve me a Little Mix record when I’m on the way home,” says Luke Ferrar, head of digital at Polydor, pointing to the use of algorithms to understand how people listen to music. When combined with the sort of intelligence provided by a smartphone — location, time, activity and movement — it means that music services can find the right track for the right moment. In effect, AI can determine whether a person is bored in an airport, studying in a library or sunning themselves on a beach, to tailor a playlist. AI has already started to be used to improve streaming services. Quantone, a London-based music AI start-up, is using the IBM Watson engine to further improve recommendations by crunching music reviews, blogs and Twitter comments into how music is analysed. Evan Stein, chief executive of Quantone, said AI allows for a more precise data set than “you like Iron Maiden, you’ll probably like Metallica” to one where someone who appears to like a certain bass player can be pointed to other records featuring the same musician. The rise of smart assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa in the home also points to a future where AI acts as a “musical concierge” in the living room or car according to Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI. AI’s role in the music industry is also expanding into the business. Record labels have started to use “chat bots” — computer programs that interact with consumers — to promote new albums and tours. The pop singers Robbie Williams and Olly Murs have launched bots to answer questions from fans and push them to buy more from online stores. Bastille, the British band, created a bot that masqueraded as an evil company called WW Comms that sent fans Gifs and video clips. There is a lot of hyperbole about robots taking over but its more about getting a better hammer to hit more nails Evan Stein, chief executive of Quantone There is also the opportunity to use AI to find new artists. Instrumental, a British label, scrapes YouTube for people uploading their songs and then sifts through data on thousands of unknown artists to define which have started to attract attention. The label, which is backed by Warner Music, has signed three of the most promising to development deals. Some remain unconvinced that old-fashioned talent spotting is set to be replaced, however. Simon Wheeler, head of digital at independent label Beggars Group, told the Midem conference in June: “We have a role of finding things that people don’t know they’re going to like . . . and data are not very good at doing that stuff.” The biggest question is whether the robots will start making the music too. Google’s Deepmind has been used to create a piece of classical piano music, while the technology company’s Magenta research project is using machine learning to create “compelling art and music”. That leads to the question of whether sophisticated machines will end up creating music for their own enjoyment, according to the BPI. In other words, will androids dream of electric guitars? British start-up Jukedeck, which operates out of TechHub, has already used AI to created half a million pieces of original music aimed at companies and video creators looking to create fresh pieces rather than paying royalties. This is hitting the stock audio industry and has the potential to reduce royalties if retailers, for example, use Jukedeck to create muzak rather than playing hits in store. Mr Taylor said: “Some may fear this will mean the sheet music is on the wall for human composers and that we will all be consigned to a dystopian future surrounded by soulless muzak.” But Ed Rex, co-founder of Jukedeck, does not think AI will kill off the human composer, but instead expects more musicians to use algorithms to improve their own work. Mr Stein also remains unconvinced. “There is a lot of hyperbole about robots taking over but its more about getting a better hammer to hit more nails. A terrible composer will still make terrible music, just at a faster speed.”

6/13/2016
Midem Interview by Synchtank

During Midem we chatted to music publisher, entrepreneur, mentor, and Midem pioneer Roland Kluger. Hi Roland, can you tell us how you got into the business in the first place? It’s very simple, my father was a publisher. Unfortunately he passed when he was very young, so my brother and I took over, and that’s how we got into the music business. That was in the early 60s - a long time ago! We were very young. How did you progress from there? Well, we were then representing a lot of American publishers in France and in Benelux. The company was started in Brussels, and we had an office in Amsterdam. Later we moved also to cover France, but in the beginning we were really Benelux. During those years we represented peermusic, Screen Gems, MCA, 20th Century Fox - those were the years. We had acts such as Paul Simon, we had The Beatles for a while, Bob Dylan - you know, in those years you could. And then the business started to change. We formed a European group where there were some interesting people - we had Stig Anderson from Scandinavia, who was the manager for ABBA, and then we had the Meisels in Germany (founders of Hansa Records) out of which came Boney M and all that, and Pascal Nègre in France. It was an interesting gang. We got together to take sub-publishing rights, so we could fight or work against the majors. Publishing wasn't really seen as a big deal back then... No. As they say it’s a penny business. The publishers moved into becoming record producers, as I mentioned with Stig Anderson and Abba. And in Germany they had Boney M and all the Frank Farian productions. I had some hits in the States with a group called The Chakachas - the single 'Jungle Fever' was a top three hit, and then we had success with 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' by Plastic Bertrand. So that was what a publisher had to do to survive, we became a record producer. So it all goes in circies. Now with digital it’s a completely different scene - you’re back to content and owning rights. What was the industry like in those days? Well, it was easier, you know. The market wasn’t mature so you could do a lot of things. There was pressure, but it was not like today. In fact today we are back to the 50s because in those days mechanical income was not important. So today there's very little mechanical income and you’re back to performances, concerts and all other ancillary revenues. Who were your favourite acts to work with back then? I enjoyed working with ABBA, that was fun because we saw them from Waterloo onwards. I enjoyed working with Paul Simon, who we worked with for many, many years. ABBA with Stig Andersson in 1978. You’ve worked with people all around the world. How do other countries differ in their approach to business? It has a lot to do with the culture and the language – you don’t do business in France like you would in Germany or Scandinavia and so on. Though things are changing with new generations – it’s both generational and cultural. Some of the basics are always the same - people are people. What are your thoughts on the current industry? How have things changed for you? I’ve still kept my publishing interests, but I was active in another field for 20 years or so. When the change came with the CD, I think it became very difficult for independent producers and sub-publishers, and I could see that the industry was not prepared for the changes. I think a lot of what happens in the digital world is due to the top management of record companies, and the same applies for collecting entities - they didn’t understand what was going on. Now I think it’s a new situation where the record industry is similar to the film industry - you have a couple of major monsters in distribution, and the problem is attracting them. To do that you need a lot of things first - for an act to be successful. Then in publishing everybody realises that it's all about sync rights, film rights, all that. The music industry, which is a penny business, is back to the beginning. It's going to be saved by the digital world and by the management of data. I think the Synchtank approach is excellent - I've been looking for something like it for a couple of years. Thank you! What would be your advice for young companies now? You have to find your own feet - you have to hustle and meet new people and new generations and talk. You start from scratch. Synchtank is like the first thing you put in place, and from there you go and build your strategy. How can we move forward as an industry? What is pretty slow to me is the collecting entities process. 30 years ago they were already passé, and now it's getting even worse. But the problem is that it’s not that simple, because you need copyright protection, and to keep that, you need lobbying, you need a lot of power with politicians and politics. For that you do need the collecting entities to be strong. So on one hand you feel that yes, they should disappear because they don’t serve a purpose, but on the other hand you do need them to do that job. I think it’s going to be a slow process, where they’re going to move into a different business themselves. But the problem is that you cannot take away politics and lobbying from the collecting entities. We need the right processes to support the creativity that we're all here for. That’s right, we’re supposed to here for creativity. But in fact the creativity is taken for granted. And the problem with creativity is the tools and the management. Creativity also needs borders, it needs rules. Creative people do need rules, although they think they don’t, they do. Yeah, and creatives also need to be business minded. Yes, and that as well. I think a good benchmark to me is the luxury industry. When you see a fashion house like Yves Saint Laurent, you know that they are able to find creative people for each individual line. And now they get to a point where the brand is more important than the creator itself. So I think the music industry could learn a lot by watching how they do it. There are a lot of industries we can learn from. On your website you say that you're "focusing on the concept of the entrepreneur mentor" in 2016. Can you tell us about that? I've been doing some mentoring in the last few years, even in fields that have nothing to do with music - it's a good exercise. But now I'm focusing more on music and I see that there's a lot of start-ups in the music industry. In France there’s a lot happening, there’s a lot of young entrepreneurs that are coming up with some very good ideas and expanding. What do you think needs to change in the industry? I think that the thing to change most probably is some of the rules. You have to make sure that you can make deals - for example Europe is very different to America, because the control of rights is not the same. So you have to get writers that are in the same position as American writers so that you can make deals. Part of what we try to do, with Synchtank and all that, is worldwide deals. I think a lot of the people who will pay for music, only pay because they don’t want to have a problem - they want to have the full coverage all over the world, and that is not easy to give when we’re dealing with all the socities. So I think one thing will be to lobby to make sure that European writers have the possibility to allow someone to clear for the world. I think that is very important and can help publishers. What do you think about the French tech scene? I think the French have never been more successful, for example with Daft Punk and David Guetta. They were also successful during the disco period because Village People came from France, Cerrone came from France - there was a period of European disco throughout Germany, France, Spain. But now the tech scene is very successful. We saw your name on the boardwalk at Midem - how did that happen? There were 28 people I think who are the Midem pioneers who were there at the first meeting 50 years ago. They gave away medals to those 28 people – I received one but on the back of the medal there is no name... Well we’ll have to tell Midem to send you a new one with your name on it! I would really appreciate that – that would be nice! What did you think was the biggest surprise at Midem? During one of the talks it was revealed that Google was very interested in buying Michael Jackson’s stake in Sony/ATV. It’s not a surprise but it’s kind of confirmation that the industry is moving into another industry, and I think that’s very interesting. It shows that it’s the end of an era. What excites you about the industry? I think what is still exciting is hit records and big artists. I think that’s the exciting part - when you get something big. The rest is okay, it’s day-to-day business - it's not unpleasant, but the real excitement comes from big things. The rest is just…

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