Gorillaz manager Chris Morrison launched an impassioned attack on file-sharing, TV talent shows and much else besides as managers took center stage at MIDEM.

Morrison was speaking on the "Developing an Artist's Career in Today's Digital Era: Unveiling New Roles For Managers" panel, part of MIDEM's Manager Summit, but took the chance to express the importance of old-school values.

"I was ambivalent about illegal downloading until someone stuck our record up illegally," he said, referring to the recent Internet leak of Gorillaz's new single "Stylo."

"They don't have any interest in it, they don't even make money off it but they undo all that work." Morrison, chairman of CMO Management International, admitted the leak "might work to our advantage" in this instance, as it grew Internet buzz about the track, but said album leaks discourage investment in the format from both labels and artists.

"It's not like taste-testing," he said, referring to N.E.R.D star Pharrell Williams' comments in his MIDEM keynote (Billboard.biz, Jan. 23). "It's like inviting them into your restaurant and telling them to eat all the food you've got."

Morrison concluded by declaring: "Illegal downloading can be stopped. We have to take the gloves off and say it has to be stopped."

In an entertaining session, also featuring Imogen Heap's manager, Mark Wood of Radius Music, Morrison also described the idea of an advertising agency owning a label as "dangerous" and attacked TV talent shows like "American Idol" and "The X Factor," saying that if people like Simon Cowell had been "in charge of the music industry in 1945, rock'n'roll would never have happened."

Morrison also said Duffy's advert for Diet Coke was "abysmal" and Robbie Williams' appearance in a T-Mobile commercial was "terrible."

"I don't think either of those did any good for the artists' careers or how they were perceived," he said, although he did praise Iggy Pop's recent Swiftcover car insurance commercials.

Other changing aspects of the industry won approval from both managers, however. Morrison said Blur's "Song 2" track made "20 times more revenue from synchs than from record sales," despite the band turning down a large fee from a defence contractor that wanted to use the song to promote its stealth fighter jets.

Heap has had some of her biggest breaks through synchs on shows like "The O.C.," Wood said, while the artist's tours are now planned using statistics from Facebook and Twitter.

"Twitter's not an event, it's a way of life," said Wood. "Imogen's more in tune with her fans than I am. You can't pull the wool over her eyes - not that I ever would - about a T-shirt design or something, because she's already polled it and 5,000 people have said they don't like it."

Meanwhile, in the more sedate panel that followed, the Agency Group's COO Jan Sikorski and Universal Music Classical Management & Productions managing director Jeffrey D. Vanderveen discussed "The Future Landscape of Artist Management" in both pop and classical genres.

"Managers have always been central," said Sikorski, "It's just that now they are more in the spotlight."

Vanderveen said the rise of the 360 degree deal had helped labels and artists form more equal business partnerships, explaining how Sting and Universal had partnered on a TV special and live concerts for the artist's "If on a Winter's Night" album.

"What really made it was, the TV show drove CD sales and it was all within the Universal family," he said. "TV, CD and DVD sales were all fantastic." Vanderveen also said executives had to make sure touring add-ons like cinecasting didn't undermine the original live experience.

"Sometimes the digital exploitation is so good that it might just put people off going to the live event," he said. "It's made to drive people to the live performance, not to replace it."

During the "Who Owns the Consumer?" panel, there was some tension between the management line-up and Jason Legg, live manager of U.K. entertainment retailer HMV.

Legg said it has data on 1.2 million customers at HMV.com, which he said was a "powerful tool" - especially with the synergies with its live business in partnership with Mama Group. But he declined to share its data with artist managers. "What we can do is be a conduit to make you sell more product," he said.

Ian McAndrew, co-manager of Arctic Monkeys and managing director of Wildlife Entertainment, said HMV does an important job in the U.K. But regarding communications to music fans, he added that "what is critical is that the relationship is predominantly between the fan and the artist."

"This is an area that needs to be changed and challenged," Todd Interland, manager of Lily Allen and James Blunt at Twenty-First Artists, said of the lack of sharing of such sales data. Legg said the relationship with fans for HMV was "commercial" rather than one of communication.

But it was the labels' behavior that gave the managers more reason for concern, with Interland pointing out that the label-controlled artist site for Lily Allen and the artist-driven MySpace site are run separately.

"The databases are becoming competitive - it's becoming a race," he said.

Interland said he sees the value in Twitter in terms of connecting with fans, but he suggested that MySpace - where Lily Allen famously emerged as an artist - had lost its "potency."

"I think MySpace is going through a bit of a crisis," he said. A show of hands in a mobile apps session earlier in the day certainly showed a strong preference for Facebook over MySpace via mobile.

Arctic Monkeys was also viewed as a MySpace and Internet phenomenon in 2005, but McAndrew stressed their online appeal was not initiated by the band. "We have some artists who never interact with their fans - such as the Arctic Monkeys," he said.

The band's rise on the Internet and the continued support for them was the result of "the fans evangelizing about something they all believe in," he said.

There was strong support for Facebook on the panel, with David Guetta's business manager Jean-Charles Carre, CEO of Gumprod, stating that Guetta had 1.9 million fan contacts via Facebook.

The way some Asian labels handle their domestic artists will change from the existing "indentured servitude" in some cases, said Myke Brown, manager of Tata Young at Thailand-based Tata Young Management.

Brown said her position had been strengthened by her success in some other territories. "We are able to gain a little more power and a lot more respect from the labels," he said.