So the music industry finally made “the value gap” happen.
That phrase may have been a cue for most people to zone out whenever it’s been mentioned at a music business conference, but someone was clearly listening.
Consequently, the proposed European Commission copyright reforms are a victory for the old school music business, if not a fully resounding one.
After all, turning proposals into actual legislation can take years, and can be subject to an awful lot of watering down. We may not even be in Europe by then.
Even so, the assumption is that, if YouTube and other UGC services have to clean up their act and be subject to the same copyright rules as other platforms, revenues will be boosted.
For the biggest rights-holders, that’s probably true. But there’s a whole other music business developing out there that sees the internet not as a threat to established revenue streams, but as an opportunity for new ones.
Skepta’s well-deserved win at the Mercury Prize on Friday, and his post-ceremony statement that “DIY is the future” threw such differences into sharp relief.
The success of Konnichiwa – it had already sold 83,781 copies before his Mercury triumph, according to the OCC – has involved established companies when it needs to (publishing, distribution).
But by and large, things have been done in Skepta’s own, independent way.
So the biz can celebrate the closing of the value gap (and having to hear that phrase a lot less). But it should also think about the chasm opening up between old and new school business models.
Because no amount of EC legislation is going to bridge that.
Mark Sutherland, Editor