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@Mobile Content World: Artists – Bottom Of The Mobile Food Chain

A few interviews still to write up from Mobile Content World last week. I had a quick word with Jamelia’s manager Jonathan Shalit who has sold 10 million records through Charlotte Church, Big Brothers and a few others. Though he said new media is hugely exciting and mobile is clearly the medium to reach young people, he’s concerned that so little of the revenue reaches the artist. “In most markets the price is dictated by supply and demand and the people supplying the product can have some say in the price. But when it comes to mobile technology the price is being laid down and the massive amounts of money being charged to the consumer are not going anywhere near the artist.”
Online, he said Apple is so powerful it can tell the market what the price will be but the creators of the music are at the bottom of the food chain and typically get 3-4p per track. On mobile, he said even Robbie Williams’ relatively high profile deal with Sony Ericsson wouldn’t make him much money, but it’s more about brand promotion. Jamelia’s record label EMI already promotes her through a whole bunch of download stores as well as promotional podcasts and initiatives like a Bebo listening party.
Shalit said artists are the most vulnerable person in the equation but they don’t have any choice because not being online or on mobile would be an even worse move. “Mobile operators, record labels and suppliers all get together… without the content there would be nothing yet because they are in such a dominant position the content providers get bullied into accepting those fees.”

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.