10 of the best quotes from The Great Escape 2016

10 of the best quotes from The Great Escape 2016

The UK’s biggest music conference and festival, The Great Escape, took place last week in Brighton. As well as round-ups of the best panels and buzziest bands, here are 10 of the best one-liners and anecdotes Music Week heard:

PPL's Mark Douglas: “I had my guys run an exercise to find a poor example of a recording, where there are lots of ISRCs. Another One Bites The Dust by Queen: 59 versions. Guess what? They were only in the studio once.” 

Sally Gross, course director at the University of Westminster, chiming in as an audience member during a talk on diversity: “If you get a job because you know somebody, that's positive discrimination: it's just not called that. That's a big fucking issue in this business. I could show you a map of the central music industry, in which the presidents of our major record labels right now went to the same school. Positive discrimination is nowhere near as evil as the other evil.”

Pop star Little Boots: “Having 1,000 really engaged fans is better than having one million not really engaged fans.”

CI general manager Kieron Faller: “It has been proven in academic research that diverse teams get you better performance. This is not charity; it is not, Oh it's the right thing to do. This is better business. You get better results by having a diverse team. That's absolutely proven.”

Martin Goldschmidt of Cooking Vinyl: “I feel sorry for Spotify because it's not really a problem they've created. If you look at the David Lowery/Spotify issue, in every other country in the world there's a collection society and at least there are adequate databases to make sure most of the publishers and songwriters get paid accurately most of the time. In the US, you've got Harry Fox, which has allegedly 70% of the rights; the other 30% of publishers and songwriters won't engage with Harry Fox, so Harry Fox doesn't have a complete dataset. No-one does. In my humble opinion, Harry Fox is run dreadfully.” 

CMU’s Chris Cooke, introducing a panel on blockchain which included a presentation from PledgeMusic's Benji Rogers: "Obviously, every conference in the world has had a session on blockchain - and Benji's done most of them."

And from Rogers himself: "In the race to adopt new technologies, the music industry historically has finished just ahead of the Amish. The legendary Stan Cornyn wrote this, and four months ago, I was convinced this was true. What I'll say now is that the leaders at the performing rights organisations, and the labels, and the publishers, have certainly approached me and others. They're starting to take this more seriously. They haven't adopted yet because there's not much to adopt, but they're going down the rabbit hole. So while this has traditionally been true, I think we're going to break the back of this statement and it will seem like a piece of history as we move forward.”

Music futurologist and EI director Sammy Andrews (with much less swearing than usual): "What we're doing isn't working, it's not been working for a very long time. As an industry, we put our heads in the sand with the digital revolution and hoped piracy would go away. I feel like we're doing the same now with data. The amount of data we're amassing is incredible, and we're only starting to scratch the surface on the potential for that. But the payment system is archaic and the data system is - I'm trying not to swear - broken.”

Notting Hill Academy of Music’s MD, Ewan Grant, on why the school was set up: “We're not in it for profit. We're in it to put the right human capital back into the music industry. That's what we love. We felt that a lot of human capital was drifting away from the music industry into the tech industries. So that was the whole reason we set it up.” 

Public Service Broadcasting’s J. Willgoose, Esq.: “We seem to make most of our money from selling records. We don't make a great deal of money from touring - partly because I insist on spending stupid money on things like a rising LED sputnik. I think there's a big misconception about live music, and how artists get paid these days, which gets parroted repeatedly. It becomes fact without being fact that bands make revenue largely from live these days. I don't know any bands at our level, or even possibly above, who make much money playing live. It's really tough - as the venues increase, your costs increase. If you're Madonna and you can charge £100 to sit two miles away, then absolutely. But what's really helped us to afford to do this full-time is selling records.”

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