@ MidemNet: Will Music Break Free, Or Is Free Music Broken?

MidemNet 08The theme was drawn for MidemNet, the two-day digital content opener to this year’s Cannes music conflab, in a morning “visionary” panel. With Qtrax due to relaunch its legal P2P music offering in to the space occupied by the likes of SpiralFrog, imeem, Deezer and We7, the spotlight is on the opportunity to monetise ad-funded music through an audience already familiar with getting things for free.

“The pressure is totally toward free,” said TAG Strategic chair Ted Cohen, on the panel. Veteran British rock promoter Sir Harvey Goldsmith (pictured) seemed to concur: “Music is everywhere (but), because it’s too freely available, people don’t want to pay for it.

“They do want to pay for concerts because concerts are a unique event.” But music as a service is “bullshit” – “if you give the music away for free, the people that write the material are not going to write”. He called on the music business here to get together: “The technology is there but savvy kids are saying ‘while they’re all arguing, I can grab this stuff for free’.”

Cohen, MP3 co-inventor Karl Brandenburg and panel chair Music Ally MD Paul Brindley erred more toward the “visionary” tag. “That’s oldthink,” Brindley told Goldsmith. “Music 1.0 is over, I think we have to declare it dead”, Cohen added, before reeling off some manifesto vignettes: “It’s not about suing consumers anymore, it’s about serving them; music is not being devalued, it’s being revalued.”