Here is some stuff I did in March 2023…

Flying to Ljubljana

My YouTube Shorts feed at the moment is always full of videos of plane passengers experiencing extreme turbulence. Not sure if the algorithm is making some sort of prediction, but I’m on my way to MENT and last time I flew to Ljubljana I had a pretty bumpy landing. If it happens again, I’ll make sure to film it and upload it to TikTok and YouTube, as that’s apparently what you’re meant to do these days.

Chatting with UD

UD is this week presenting Industry Takeover 2023, a series of great events at its Talent House base in Stratford. I’ll be there tomorrow morning to talk about making money from music rights. Ahead of that, I did an interview with Team UD about CMU’s work supporting the various ITO programmes, which you can read here.

CMU digested

It’s the music business week digested – with the latest global recorded music market stats from IFPI, the Council Of Music Makers setting out its key priorities in the economics of streaming debate, plus TikTok, Hybe and the BBC Singers. Read this week’s CMU Digest here.

Heading to MENT

This week I am heading back to Ljubljana for the magnificent MENT, where I will be delivering one of those speed briefings all about the ‘Diversifying Digital Market’. Will I mention Web3 and NFTs? Will the metaverse come up? Will it be all “AI this” and “AI that”? Or are those just a load of irrelevant buzzwords? Come along to find out! It’s part of the Runda Takeover strand on Thursday.

The point is…

You know it’s getting serious when I start pointing. I very much enjoyed talking about all things music streaming at the ECSA Creators Conference on Tuesday. And at the very same time I was also talking about video streaming as part of the MPA’s Spotlight On Sync masterclass. Forget about all that AI nonsense, this new cloning tech is super exciting. Thanks to both ECSA and MPA for inviting me to take part.

IFPI report

The IFPI published its annual ‘Global Music Report’ yesterday, which has all the customary stats about the global recorded music market, as well as providing some insight on the key concerns and lobbying objectives of the major record companies. With that in mind, I used my report on it as an excuse to write a very brief history of record industry lobbying since the start of the big shift to digital (in something a traditional CMU style). Because, you know, that sounded like fun. Read the stats and history lesson here.

Yesterday’s view

When returning from SXSW yesterday I got one of those Heathrow approaches that goes cloud, cloud, cloud, cloud, oh look, it’s Parliament and the London Eye! Currently Eurostarring it to Brussels, so – alas – no grand views to enjoy today. But lower carbon footprint I guess. Tomorrow I’m at the ECSA Creators Conference to deliver a super speedy briefing about, and then join a panel discussion on, digital licensing and the digital debates.

Heading home

Nearly back in the UK, just having a brief stop off at Schiphol. It was a successful trip to Austin. By which I mainly mean, I managed to find a snow globe. Technically it’s a Texas snow globe, but it has Austin written on it too, and according to official Snow Globe Rules, that definitely counts. To everyone I managed to catch up with at SXSW, it was great to see you. To everyone I failed to catch up with, apologies. Let’s catch up at The Great Escape instead. Because my plans to catch up with people at TGE definitely always work!

SXSW music

So did I see any music while at SXSW? Yeah, some. Given that all my favourite artists play piano, Paul Bonham from MMF recommended I check out Eydís Evensen. And it turned out to be a very fine recommendation indeed for my final night in Austin. Next stop London before a quick visit to Brussels for the ECSA Creators Conference on Tuesday.

Austin, AI, rain

Still in Austin. Started yesterday at Rainey Street and then it rained. Coincidence? Also watched an interesting discussion about music and AI and copyright and all that jazz. It doubled up as a launch for what they are calling the Human Artistry Campaign – this is my write up on all that in the CMU Daily – I forgot to take a photo of the session, so here’s an AI-generated image of “Austin in the rain” instead.

Today at SXSW

Thanks to everyone who joined us at the ‘Fix The Leaky Pipes’ panel at SXSW yesterday, and to my brilliant panellists of course. You can access the slides and accompanying guides here. I’ve ventured into the big room today. That up there is the one and only New Order, talking music-making, music machines and music in Manchester, then and now. Super interesting conversation. And up next, the mighty Killer Mike.

Panels and timelines

My SXSW shenanigans today mainly involve checking out a panel on the economics of streaming debate – and then taking part in a session focusing on one specific aspect of that debate: rights metadata and the challenges in getting songwriters paid. My panel – ‘Fix The Leaky Pipes!’ – is at 4pm. Ahead of all that I’ve expanded and updated the CMU Timeline on the UK Parliament’s big old streaming inquiry and all the discussions and projects that have followed. It curates all of CMU’s editorial coverage along with plenty of useful links and resources. You can access it here.

Second day at SXSW

On my second day at SXSW I dipped into the creator economy and metaverse sessions, which confirmed: [a] online creators need multiple revenue streams to have sustainable businesses; [b] for creators, digital platforms are crucial, empowering, wonderful business partners that really don’t care about creators; and [c] the metaverse is a land full of opportunity, it’s just nobody’s quite sure what those opportunities are yet. All interesting stuff. It’ll be mainly music business sessions from today. Meanwhile, look, it’s the Colorado River!

First day at SXSW

What I learned on my first day at SXSW. The news business needs more transparency. That sounds familiar! Digital platforms should be more transparent about what they’re doing with your data and who is paying to push content into your feed. News organisations should be more transparent about their editorial processes, fact-checking operations, content technologies and what they are doing with each journalist’s work behind the scenes. Hey, if you’re looking for someone with experience negotiating transparency codes, I have a suggestion!

I’m in Austin

A pretty productive morning in Austin: pass collected, yet another tote bag for the collection, and a very interesting panel on battling disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Because yes, while it’s music rights chatter from Monday, this weekend I’m mainly listening to conversations about online media challenges and that pesky creator economy. Next, the State Of Journalism In 2023. My prediction? Problematic.

Off to Austin

I’m off to Austin tomorrow, probably ought to pack some things, I think that’s how it works. If you’re also heading to SXSW, I’m talking about how to get songwriters paid when their songs are streamed on Tuesday at 4pm in the Conference Centre. Plus, I’m still scheduling in meetings, and am interested in chatting to anyone doing stuff around rights data, rights or royalty management, digital licensing, or – you know – interesting stuff. Drop me an email, let’s see if we can make it work!

CMU digested

It’s the music business week digested – with the new letter to the UK government on the proposed hike in US visa fees for performers, plus more political pressure on TikTok, more streaming model chatter from Universal, Tidal ending its direct artist payouts, and the EC’s new statement of objections over Apple’s App Store rules. Read this week’s CMU Digest here.

Conferences this month

This month I’ll be talking about the digital music business at SXSW in Austin, the ECSA Creators Conference in Brussels and MENT in Ljubljana. So if all the companies and organisations on this diagram could NOT change their logos any time soon, so I don’t have to amend my slides last minute, that would be great! If you’re attending any of those events, do come and say hello.

ICMP sessions

Fun day yesterday at ICMP talking students through my CMU:DIY Guides to ‘Making Money From Music’ and ‘Music Streaming Explained’, as well as chatting about some recent music business developments like the TikTok controversies and all the dramas in the K-pop business. Oh, and there was a fire drill. The fire assembly point is by that post box, in case you wondered! Thanks to Eckoes for inviting me in.