U2 Manager Paul McGuinness famously spent a good chunk of an hour-long press conference lambasting Google at Midem 2012. He returned to the subject this morning at this year’s event, albeit in less aggressive style. Slightly. “I don’t want to engage in Google-bashing, but there is a sense of unease across Europe, across the world about Google,” he said.
“Google have been making encouraging noises about restricting illegal sites or directions to illegal sites for acquiring music. The noises are very encouraging, but I’d like to see some action. It’s as simple as that.”
McGuinness did praise Google, but said he wants the company to take more responsibility in the realm of copyrighted content.
“Google have brought so much to civilisation in terms of spreading knowledge and informing the world. I know they’re ingenious, we all know they’re ingenious, but they are making money from directing people to piracy,” he said.
“I wish they would apply themselves and their extraordinary ingenuity to the micro-transactions that occur every time somebody listens to a piece of music over the internet. They can do it… There is a sense of unease, and a feeling they’re not really doing what they could be doing in this space. And I would like them to hurry up a level.”
McGuinness was sharing the Midem stage with Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez, among others. Dauchez also talked about Google, but with more emphasis on what he sees as unfair competition provided by Google and Apple for independent digital music services, and the need for “protecting the platforms. We are not protected enough.”
He continued: “The key word is is discrimination… Am I a competitor to YouTube? Should I have the same deals as YouTube? Of course. When I am discussing with collecting societies and publishers can I say ‘just give me the deals that YouTube has’? Of course not.”
Dauchez suggested that copyright reform in Europe – European Commissioner Michel Barnier was also on-stage – must take this into consideration.
“This will kill the innovation, this will kill the local players. We are already under huge discrimination because of VAT, and because of the size of our market compared to the US… We need to be protected against discrimination on copyright.”
You can read the full liveblog, including coverage of Barnier’s speech, via the link here.