Legendary promoter Harvey Goldsmith accused Asian counterparts of overpaying acts, in remarks he made during the "The Live Panel" discussion at the third annual Music Matters conference in Hong Kong, which wrapped today.

"You're establishing a false market," said Goldsmith, managing director of London-based Harvey Goldsmith Productions. "Every time I come to Asia, I'm aware that promoters are paying more than they should," he added, claiming that the same thing is now happening in emerging live-music markets in the Mideast such as Dubai. "Once you start paying too much, it screws the market."

The conference ended with an all-star panel featuring 11 leading players from the Asian and international music businesses.

Warner Music Asia Pacific president Lachie Rutherford spoke for many attending the three-day confab by saying he thought the conference should have been called "Asian Music Matters."

"We need more perspective from Asian people who work in this business," said Rutherford. Reiterating a pet theme, he noted that while China is a market where people spend $2 billion a year on music, only a small percentage of that amount finds its way into the pockets of rights owners and creators.

"I'm not talking about piracy," Rutherford said. "I'm talking about publicly quoted companies run by guys in suits who are taking our money. I'm not walking away from that even if it fucking kills me."

Ian Chapman-Banks, Motorola's Beijing-based VP/GM Asia Pacific marketing, mobile devices, projected that the number of mobile-phone users in China will reach 1 billion in the next five years, while India will reach that level in 10 years' time.

Sounding a typically positive note, Nettwerk Productions CEO Terry McBride says the only problem facing the music industry is fear. "It's an emotion, it's a choice - and I choose not to live in fear," he said.

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