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Paul McGuinness Picks Fight With Industry Bloggers

Dumps A Glass of Water On The Wrong "Gremlins." Spawning Now.

image from Let’s ignore the fact that each time U2 manager Paul McGuinness gives his opinion on the state of record industry and how to fix it, Mike Masnick of TechDirt, among many other “bloggers” have a heyday debunking and deconstructing his numerous obfuscations of reality.

No, what concerns me at the moment is that he’s taken to labeling my chosen profession as an industry writer and critic and felt it alright to label me an “anonymous gremlin,” whose inchoate, abusive voice is helping shape the debate about the future of music.  I’m sorry, but, excuse me—what? My apologies if I take offense to that. Thus far, the only person to criticize McGuinness’s unique argument is Brian Boyd at Irish Times. Here's a glimpse at his new essay:

image from "Then there is the backlash from the bloggers – those anonymous gremlins who wait to send off their next salvo of bilious four-letter abuse whenever a well-known artist sticks their head above the parapet. When Lily Allen recently posted some thoughtful comments about how illegal file-sharing is hurting new developing acts, she was ravaged by the online mob and withdrew from the debate… You have to ask how these inchoate, abusive voices are helping shape the debate about the future of music." – Paul McGuinness.

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  1. I understand his rant. Most “industry bloggers” have no real world experience making a living in the music industry. Yet many fans and amateurs take their opinion and wild crystal ball predictions to heart as fact and pressure artists to follow various inane manifesto regardless of whether it’s actually good for business…

  2. Good point JP, applied theory & real world experience is always better.
    This argument comes up a lot in linkedIn groups. In advertising circles the old adage is “What has this agency done in the last 6months?” (because the landscape shifts so quickly)
    However, I also think that good info is good info regardless of who shares it…so take what you can and apply it to your career, they aren’t templates…merely inspiration. Whatever works for you.

  3. Yo, Kyle, you’re not anonymous. You sign your name. So right away he’s not talking to you, right? 🙂
    I don’t think he was remotely aiming his remarks at someone who has a paid staff job at an industry blog. He’s talking about the soapbox the net has given to basically anyone to spew what they want, regardless of their knowledge or expertise.
    By the way, I personally found McGuinness to be nothing but reasonable. Boyd, less so.

  4. I don’t believe he is calling you a gremlin at all… In fact, I think he is referring to the legions of obnoxious, anonymous “bloggers” out there who feel courageous in attacking anyone and everyone who they disagree with (myself included). That wasn’t a blanket description of music blogs like Hypebot, who have earned the respect of their industry peers.
    What I gathered from that statement is a growing frustration of how difficult it can be to establish an online dialogue due to mock-professionals – posing as writers – that seem to pounce on anyone with a dissenting view. And I actually agree with it wholeheartedly. Everyone should be entitled to their opinion, and his Lily Allen example was spot on. She was hammered for voicing her opinion and it was disgraceful.

  5. Actually what Lily Allen really got hammered for was the revelation that, in the very recent past, she had been distributing “mixtape” compilation MP3s, of other artists work, through her website. It was at least a tad hypocritical, and it wasn’t long after that revelation that she terminated her online activity and destroyed her blog. It was a bit of a shame, as there had been some teachable moments there in her blog. But, it appears that she was poorly equipped to argue her position.
    Shorter Paul McGuinness: Turn off the Internet and move everybody back to AOL and CompuServe, where only companies with lawyers can publish content.
    (Yup, I’m anonymous, and I am not a music industry professional — I’m a punter who spends way too much on music. However, I do count as an Internet professional. Which is why I understand that McGuinness is calling for the Internet to be dismembered…)

  6. I wrote this late at night.  By this afternoon, I started to read things a little differently and started to realize that there are likely more candidates that fit his bill than us.  Obviously, a bit of a knee-jerk reaction and if you expect to disagree with someone; it's entirely possible that you will find ways to do so.  I still stand by the concept that the quote above is pretty outlandish though. I'm quite less up-in-arms about it now, but I'll likely still pursue a critique of his views.

  7. IF there is an issue with Paul it is that he talks a lot, has great points but it ends there. Major managers have more power to change the industry, yet thus far none are doing anything about it.
    But what exactly is wrong with his statements? Should artists not be paid for their work? Should solutions not be found that enable that process to happen? Do any of the critics who are so bullish on having everything free, work for free themselves? The hypocrisy is theirs not the artists or their reps who are trying to make sense of a topsy turvy industry that increasingly looks to what should be a rich and diverse art form and reducing it to standardized and homogenized product lines.
    Some bloggers can be a band’s best friend or they can encourage piracy and make a band uncool for wanting to earn a living, or jut break even. This is not an opinion but a fact. Now what do we music lovers do about this sorry state of affairs?

  8. Every time Paul opens his mouth to provide an opinion on the Internet or some technology trend, it’s SO FUCKING OBVIOUS that his opinions are not gained thru first hand knowledge or experience. It’s like he saw a scary news story on the internet and freaked out, like your grandparents who watch Fox News and tape up their house to keep Al Queda from shooting poison gas in while they’re watching TV.
    Paul, it’s OK, here are some cookies and warm milk, change the channel to Animal Planet, you’ll feel much better.

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