CMU Weekly Editor's Letter

CMU Weekly – Friday 25 Mar 2011

By | Published on Friday 25 March 2011

Andy Malt

So, I’m not sure I’ve spoken much about the fact that we at CMU are programming the’s Great Escape convention this year. But as we made our latest announcement about the people we’ve booked to speak this week, now seems like a good time to bring it up.

In the event you’re not au fait with The Great Escape, it’s the UK’s biggest music-festival-and-conference-combo and takes place in Brighton each May. Over three days, music industry types talk about, debate and postulate the current state and future of the music business, before heading out into the streets to watch over 300 bands play in venues across the city.

As well as newer acts such as Katy B, Becoming Real, Visions Of Trees, Niki And The Dove, Oh Land and Cults, you’ll also be able to catch headliners DJ Shadow, Friendly Fires and Sufjan Stevens, amongst many, many others.
All of which is very exciting, obviously. But I’m not involved in organising the festival side, so let’s not talk about it any more. Let’s talk about the equally, if not more exciting convention section. We’re still some way off announcing everything we’ve got lined up for that, but those speakers we have announced are more than enough to be getting on with.

The aforementioned DJ Shadow be interviewed live on stage about his career to date and the incredible ‘Shadowsphere’ show he’s bringing to the UK for the first time at the festival. Also appearing in our In Conversation strand will be producer Paul Epworth, who has had some hand in the success of many a new British act in recent years, including Florence And The Machine, Plan B, Bloc Party, Adele and Friendly Fires.

In more business-focused stuff, PRS For Music’s chief economist Will Page will oversee a head-to-head battle between Topspin’s Ian Rogers and Bandcamp’s Andrew Dubber to decide once and for all which is the best direct-to-fan platform. Well, okay, they’ll be discussing the importance of such platforms and evaluating the different approaches taken by rival services. It’s unlikely any punches will actually be thrown, but you never know.

Elsewhere in digital, Wired’s Duncan Geere will be taking a look at the present and future of digital music services, telling you what’s on the horizon and what’s worth paying attention to. Meanwhile, Artist manager David Bianchi will be talking about working with investment vehicle Power Amp on Carl Barat’s latest solo work; Cooking Vinyl boss Martin Goldschmidt will run us through how he is reinventing the label/artist relationship; and we’ll have Alan Pell from BMG UK, giving us an insight into possibly the most interesting of the major players in music right now.

I’ve not even really scratched the surface here, and we’ve still got plenty to announce, including one speech that I think is going to be truly groundbreaking in the way it’s being put together and carried out.

The Great Escape takes place in Brighton from 12-14 May, and if you book before 12 Apr you can get access to the whole conference and all the gigs for just £125. To book tickets and see the full currently announced line-up, head over to Let me know you’re coming, we’ll have a beer, it’ll be nice.

Now, for more immediate discussion and debate on the music industry, why not have yourself a little listen to this week’s CMU podcast, which this week features all the latest news on the ongoing sales of Warner Music and EMI, what’s going on in the thrilling world of off-shore VAT loopholes, more on The Great Escape, Chris Brown smashing stuff up and Dave Grohl shouting. Lovely.

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU

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