EU! Outside! Now!

EU! Outside! Now!

Still here? Between the Brexit fallout, the football and the implosion of our two main political parties, it’s been a pretty surreal week. But it looks like we might be leaving the EU just as things are getting interesting.

The letter sent to EU president Jean-Claude Juncker and signed by over 1,000 artists – including Paul McCartney, Coldplay and Ed Sheeran – probably won’t be enough to make the phrase ‘value gap’ happen, but it does represent a considerable upping of the ante in the industry’s battle with YouTube.

Meanwhile, it may have been a US politician – senator Elizabeth Warren – that raised what she sees as anti-competitive behaviour by various tech giants, but you can bet they’ll have been paying attention in Brussels.
Especially as it prompted Spotify’s head of comms and public policy Jonathan Prince to have an unprecedented pop at Apple.

He accused Spotify’s rival of wanting “to have their cake and eat everyone else’s too”. What Apple actually wants to eat, of course, is Spotify’s lunch – but it’s clear that Spotify isn’t about to give up its market-leader spot without a fight.

It all makes for a digital music landscape that is lurching from dysfunctional to downright discordant. Sorting it out will require either leaving it to the wild dogs of market forces – or the intervention of a body with both significant power and endless patience. In other words, the European Union.

The worry for the UK music biz will be that, by the time a solution is found, we’ll probably be outside of the EU looking in. And that, sadly, will be when things go from surreal to all-too-real…

Mark Sutherland, Editor

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