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@Mobile Content World: Learning To Exploit Mobile Music

Familiar Apple bashing from the music industry stalwarts that are usually wheeled out at these events. Tim Clark, director of i:e Music and Robbie Williams’ manager said he’s “very pleased Steve Jobs has got a bit of a fight on his hands” because handset manufacturers are coming up with some great devices. Clark said digital presents big opportunities because artists are like cottage industries, making their money from a whole range of diverse projects. Robbie Williams has released 200 pieces of content under a deal with Sony Ericsson and much of that is visual – wallpapers, photos and videos as well as downloads and ringtones. Another initiative more than doubled album sales in South America by putting last year’s album on a memory stick. But he said his management company has overseen all of these projects because record labels do not have the expertise or the time.
— The free music model, namely Spiralfrog, was greeted with some suspicion. Clark said he’s “not very fond of the notion of free music. We expect our artists to be paid and it’s a battle that we have to fight.” He said the record industry has a remarkable facility for making money for other people – and that Steve Jobs has made a lot of money out of selling cheap music. Rupert Murdoch will be next, and what will happen with MySpace and YouTube? He sounded not slightly bitter. “It’s about time people thought about the originators because without them there would be no music.”
— Jonathan Shalit manages the popstar Jamelia and is relaunching her career after a two-year break. He’s been bombarded with offers from mobile services but doesn’t know where to start: “I can’t work out how to make money from these services – everyone seems to make money except my artist.” Clark backed that up by saying that artists get a bum deal from iTunes making just 3 or 4 pence per track. Shalit was more cautious about Apple bashing: “Steve Jobs screwed us through his brilliance. But then five years ago we couldn’t have imagined that Microsoft wouldn’t dominate the world, but now they don’t. And in five years whoever dominates now won’t dominate.” He also mentioned that since Apple’s announcement, 43 million TV shows have been downloaded from the iTunes store (*Is that true?!) and said that from next year videos will be included in singles sales.
— Ralph Simon, MEF chairman and mobile veteran, used Paris Hilton as an example of brand extension online. She has proposed Paris World, spanning shopping, lifestyle and relationships channels that has strong appeal for 18-28 year-olds. That idea has had strong interest form Asia Pacific and US telcos. Similarly Avril Lavigne could soon be appearing in a Manga-style cartoon strip with a competition winner appearing alongside her in anime form. That’s another example of strong content for the 20-something YAF mobile audience. “You can’t do something blog standard,” said Simon. “It has to be creative and provocative.” Clark, who always has an eye for a trend, has observed something called social broadcasting, cross-platform simulcast soap operas with big marketing potential.

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.