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Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon Exec Frank Briegmann Meets with EU Tech Leader Günther Oettinger

The head of Universal Music Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon delivered a soeeh and meet with one of the European Union's most important tech leaders.

Frank Briegmann — president & CEO of Universal Music’s Central Europe and Deutsche Grammophon, and boardmember of the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI), Germany’s recording industry trade bod — met yesterday (Sep. 5) with Günther Oettinger, the Commissioner of the Digital Economy and Society for the European Union who is leading the effort for a pan-continental “Digital Single Market” which Oettinger, along with vice president for the Digital Single Market in the European Commission Andrus Ansip, has been evangelizing in speeches and meetings worldwide for some time.


During a speech to the DLDeurope convention held yesterday in Brussels, Briegmann stressed the importance of the music industry for the cultural identity and economic development of Europe, and explained why today the music industry is ahead of the wider media industry in the implementation of new technologies and innovative business models. Briegmann cited the complex processes involved in rights management and monitoring across thousands of digital communications and distribution channels as an example of music’s forward thinking.

“The future of the music market will not only belong to one format, but a variety of different formats, including CDs, downloads and streaming”, Briegmann told the crowd, stressing that, apart from the continuing digital transformation, the biggest challenge would be the creation of legal framework to deal with an unprecedented volume of rights uses. The so-called “value gap,” — i.e. the insufficient participation of artists and rights owners in the revenues generated by ad-financed platforms — could only exist because of outdated intellectual property laws. “The music industry invests around $4 billion worldwide every year into the development of artists. In order to maintain a functioning and diverse ecosystem for creative people, these investments need to be refinanced through a fair participation in those revenues”, so Briegmann.

According to Briegmann, Europe’s “Digital Single Market” initiative, which brings with it the potential for harmonized European copyright law, are a great opportunity to ensure a fair balance in stakeholders’ bargaining positions with tech giants who vastly outweigh them financially. He also suggested that the “Notice and Takedown” procedure of copyright enforcement practiced by YouTube and other platforms, i.e. deleting unlicensed content upon individual request, should be replaced by a “Notice and Stay Down,” which would monitor uploads in real time and remove them instead of waiting for their rights holders to request their removal.