CANNES, France — small and emerging music companies accused the more established music industry of failing up-and-coming acts during a session at this year’s MidemNet, the digital-music forum held at Cannes Jan. 22-26 during international MIDEM confab.
Speaking on the panel Reinventing the Music Biz — The Next Generation’s Voice, the speakers said they exist because the major labels and leading independents were not meeting the creative needs of emerging artists.
Mathieu Drouin, founder of Canada-based Crystal Math Management, was vociferous in his opinions. “If you’re an artist and you’re looking at the options you have with major and independent labels and there’s none that feels good, you try and figure it out on your own.”
Drouin noted that strategy must be working as the recordings of Metric, the Canadian indie band managed by Crystal Math, is on the Grammy nominated soundtrack for hit movie “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”
Co-panelist Emily White argued that being small and nimble enabled companies like Whitesmith Entertainment, which she co-founded, to empower new acts during these competitive times.
“It’s great to educate artists about revenue streams. For example, they’re taking much more control after we explained about SoundExchange and how they have revenue sitting there.”
As new players in the sector, young companies need a unique selling point, declared Jeff Castelaz, CEO of U.S. independent Dangerbird Records.
“We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the majors,” he said. He added that he was disillusioned with seeing “managers and bands and the major labels having meetings about meeting about meetings. Sometimes, they’ll be discussing sofas and carpets in their new offices.”
This attitude represents a lack of foresight on the part of the big music companies, which are consequently failing to see the potential of authentic new acts, stated Toby Langley, U.K.-based Transgressive Records’ founder.
His had seen bands “being ignore because they didn’t fit into what the majors are looking for. We want to work with new music that has spirit and passion. Passion has to lead the way and underneath that is the business model.”