“Google are not music people, and that scares me.” This single quote from Colin Daniels, of Australian independent music firm Inertia, summarised a whole conference worth of anti-Google unrest at this year’s Midem, which spilled over onto YouTube too.
Whenever a YouTube exec appeared in a panel session, they were put on the defensive about the company’s approach to music and creators, often by pointed questions from audience members – and on one occasion, angry heckling.
After the last year of Spotify taking constant flak over streaming’s value to artists, at Midem that company was being praised – “everyone there are music people,” said Daniels before making his Google comment in a session on indie label strategies – while YouTube (and, more surprisingly, Facebook) were being attacked.
Music good, Big Tech evil. We’ve been writing about this clash for years now, but it was more open and more emotional than we remember at any previous Midem. Yet we also found a more positive, if challenging takeaway from this year’s conference: the music industry can shed its victim status and make these Big Tech platforms work better for rightsholders and creators.
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