The A&R and independent music communities took center stage for the Midem panel program today (Jan. 23), as the 41st annual event entered its third day.

Speaking on an afternoon Q&A panel discussion on the short and medium term plans for the independent community, hosted by Billboard's global news editor Lars Brandle, the heads of Europe's independent music trade organizations vowed to continue to fight consolidation in the music market.

"We don't want to create problems," said Impala president Patrick Zelnick. "We want to have a fair share of the market, and we think every market needs at least 25%-30% market share."

The French executive made it clear that, for a successful overall record industry, a fit, healthy state of business was essential among the majors. "We want the majors to do well, we need the majors to do well. Because when Sony BMG loses 10 points, it's bad news for everybody. When a major sneezes, the indies get the cold. If we want to get out of this mess, we want to do it together."

Zelnick and fellow Q&A guest Alison Wenham, chair/CEO of AIM and president of the World Independent Network, warned that their respective trade bodies would continue to take up the fight against further consolidation in the recorded music market, including the unresolved European court decision over the approval of the Sony BMG merger. Earlier in the day, Tim Renner, founder of Motor Entertainment and former Universal Music Germany CEO, incurred the wrath of fellow panelists and at least one member of the audience after claiming that the majors' failing was down to an attitude focused on "looking to the past." Artist manager Jonathan Shalit said the claim was "bullshit," arguing that, for one, EMI's technical infrastructure was head and shoulders above those of any other label in the U.K.

The "Digital: Small Rivers Make Main Revenue Streams" panel proved similarly lively as delegates debated one of the confab's central themes: how to make money out of new Web-based services. Cooking Vinyl managing director Martin Goldschmidt called for "the Zune deal to be extended to all ISPs and every hard disc device" and then disputed Mushroom Music managing director Ian James? claim that "Europe actually cares about culture." "No," said Goldschmidt, "The E.U. pays lip service to culture while trashing it." "In that case," quipped James, "We're f***ed."

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