Session: Closing the Power Gap – The Independents' Point of View
Presented by VUT and IMPALA
Friday, 21.09.2018, 13:45 – 14:45 @ Schmidt Theater (Saal)
Independent music companies account for 80 % of all new releases, they discover new talents and build strong relationships with their artists. But when it comes to a level playing field and access to the digital market, unfair trading practices by powerful digital players are common and affect small and medium-sized music companies. At the same time independent music companies enjoy a particular relationship with other platforms such as streaming services who participated to the renewed growth in the music sector over the past years. How do music companies deal with digital players? Which framework conditions do we as Europeans need to safeguard cultural diversity, creativity and innovation? Do we need new measures to ensure a level playing field for all companies?
Reinher Karl, Legal Counsel, VUT, GER
Charlie Lexton, Chief Commercial Officer & General Counsel, Merlin, UK
Charlie Lexton is responsible for all commercial affairs at Merlin, the global digital rights agency representing the world's leading independent record labels and distributors, and the most significant set of recorded music rights outside of the major record labels.
Since commencing activities in 2008, Merlin has concluded a series of landmark agreements and legal settlements and is now a key player in the digital music market.
The organisation’s members command in excess of 12% of the digital recorded music market and embody more than 20,000 independent record labels and distributors from 55 countries and all continents.
Charlie's music industry experience dates back 20 years to co-founding UK independent label Dorado Records. From there he moved on to qualify as a solicitor before taking on roles at Universal Music and then EMI Music in London (where he was head of business affairs for the EMEA region) before joining Merlin from its commercial launch.
Helen Smith, Executive Chair, IMPALA, BEL
Photo: Léa Fery
Helen Smith is IMPALA's Executive Chair. Originally from Scotland, Helen is based in Brussels. She drives the organisation's key strategies with the board on a political, commercial and promotional level. Helping put thousands of independent companies and artists on the map of Europe by leveraging collective strength, IMPALA's milestones is an impressive read, from Europe's first ever class action court case on a merger and its tough stance on digital platforms who don't play ball, to its various action plans and awards schemes.
Dr. Birte Wiemann, Project Management, Cargo Records/ VUT board member, GER
Photo: Günter Scholten
Schon in ihrem „Was ich mal werden will“-Aufsatz in der zehnten Klasse schrieb Birte Wiemann, dass sie mal „Musikmanager“ werden möchte. Damit hat es zum Glück nicht so ganz hingehauen, schob sich doch erst das Magisterstudium der Anglistik und Germanistik dazwischen, nach dessen erfolgreicher Beendigung Birte Anfang 2005 im Musikvertriebsgeschäft bei der Cargo Records GmbH startete. Nach mittlerweile fast zwölf Jahren ist Birte bei Cargo für das Projektmanagement und Konzeptionen zwischen Record Store Day, Online Präsenz und Reeperbahn Festival zuständig, war von 2006-2012 freie Schreiberin für das Fuze Magazine, mag noch immer Punk und Hardcore und hat 2013 in englischer Literatur an der University of Hull in Nordengland promoviert.