BBC: Gloomy News At Music Conference
October 8, 2008 at 5:36 AM (PT)
The BBC asks, "Who will BRITAIN's next music stars be, and how will you listen to them?" The future of bands and the business was in the spotlight at "In the City," the U.K.'s top music industry summit, in MANCHESTER. The attendees have been chewing over the future of the industry in great detail, debating the digital future, new ways of making money, and the shift in power from record labels to technology companies and artists (or not, depending on who you believe).
But it all comes down to one thing. As the event's motto says: "It's all about the music, stupid."
It attracts some of the most influential talent spotters in the business, such as SEYMOUR STEIN, who signed MADONNA, THE RAMONES and TALKING HEADS to his SIRE label. Asked whether he was watching the acts on show, the 66-year-old industry legend said on TUESDAY, "What the hell do you think I'm doing? I was out seeing bands last night, and the night before, and tonight."
CERNE CANNING, who manages FRANZ FERDINAND, says 100 acts are normally signed by record labels in the U.K. by OCTOBER every year. This year, it is more like 10 to 15 -- and they are mainly "super-commercial. Most things aren't selling, and the bigger things aren't selling enough, so people are being very cautious," he said.
Record labels are holding back in the face of an uncertain climate, while bands are less tempted by the deals on offer, he believes.