Friday, May 09, 2008

MeM Cannes: Why Robbie Williams loves mobile

Robbie Williams manager Tim Clark, of ie music ltd was the keynote this morning at MeM in Cannes.

Some highlights for me: The £80m Robbie deal never was. They just leaked that amount to the Sun and the rest is legend. It was a good deal. Just not that good.

“digital technology has driven a panzer division through copyright."

And to make the point Tim says there are stories that itunes has 2 per cent of the download market, the rest is free. What the percentage actually is, is unknown. But the chances are his guestimate may be conservative.

"We have to find ways of valuing music because if artists aren't paid something there will be no music, I don't just mean the huge megastars, but also people like King Crimson, who I worked with years ago, and who are still touring and making a living. We all have artists like this who have played a part in our lives and they are the bedrock of music."

"The record companies world is changing. I don't care if they can get the digital revolution or not, I work for artists. I have to find the best way possible to get the music from the artist to the fan."

What Tim is driving at here is how record companies are being disintermediated. The role of the artist (the creator of the content) - as represented in this case by the artist's manager is becoming a more important relationship.

Now there are ways to distribute that content more easily, more cheaply and more effectively.

The mobile part in this mix? Well it interested me that Tim revealed Robbie Williams had made five times as much money from his deal with T-mobile Sony Ericsson in one year than he had from his record label. He made most of all from touring (the because effect in full effect!)

Interesting also that Sony Ericsson spent six times as much promoting Robbie's latest album in Australia than EMI did.

The change in who enables the flow of content is making huge economic differences across the globe right now.

Where once managers primary relationships were in connecting artists and record companies now it is in connecting artists with handset manufaturers and operators and social networks.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?