MTV Networks Europe president Brent Hansen expressed his goal to support new domestic artists in his keynote speech to the German music industry today (Sept. 29) at the Popkomm trade show in Berlin. "

MTV Networks Europe president Brent Hansen expressed his goal to support new domestic artists in his keynote speech to the German music industry today (Sept. 29) at the Popkomm trade show in Berlin. "We're prepared to be loyal to your artists if [labels] are loyal to them too, but it is harder for us to be loyal if your artist gets pulled after one album."

Hansen said he was prepared to give "the MTV stamp of approval" to local artists if he feels that there are signs of loyalty to the acts by labels. "Let's start taking risks and making commitments so that we can show our audiences that there is more to our industry than 'Pop Idol.' We're not in it for a free ride -- let's be loyal to those credible artists and work together to create tomorrow's superstars."

German executives welcomed the plan. Warner Music Group Germany/Switzerland/Austria chairman/CEO Bernd Dopp called it "a very positive signal." Gerd Gebhardt, chairman of the German Phonographic Associations, said: "The German recorded music industry will be working closely with MTV and Viva to come up with a promising solution in the spirit of mutual partnership."

Since MTV parent Viacom acquired Viva Media in August, the company now operates four music channels in Germany: MTV, MTV2 Pop, Viva and Viva Plus. It is understood that Hansen's commitment extends to MTV's operations throughout Europe.

In his keynote, Hansen lamented that "newer artists aren't getting enough time and money to allow them to develop and grow as artists." Putting the issue into the wider context of the music industry, he said, "We can't lay the blame at the feet of the A&R guys -- a lot of this is driven by financial challenges. Top management has to rationalize a stock-market-driven agenda, and we all know the hit the industry has taken from digital piracy. The result? Safety prevails over creativity. Any organization, including ours, has to deal with this issue, but we can't forget our lifeblood is in finding new and nurturing established artists."

According to Hansen, recent mergers "have made the situation even worse: The need for immediate return on investment may satisfy the shareholders, but it threatens to starve the heart out of the labels who've brought us such wonderful music and artists."

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