Conventions & Awards

U2 Manager Paul McGuinness #MIDEM: “I Don’t Want To Engage In Google Bashing, But…”

image from www.musicfilm.orgFrom Cannes by Stuart Dredge of UK consultancy and blog Music Ally.

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

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

“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.

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  1. Yeah, it’s so unfair for big business giants like U2 to criticise a tiny struggling company like Google.

  2. “Typical big business bullshit, they only want to protect their interests. I mean, isnt U2 doing fine already? Do they really need to lash out at google?”
    Am I the only one who grows tired of this “typical” response? You’re successful so screw you?
    Are you so clueless to the real question? That most musicians are not surviving in the digital age? U2 has a voice because their news, but don’t misconstrue this with the true reality of their message. Musicians are barely surviving and the promises of a better life from the internet has proven itself a disappointing dream/nightmare for all, but a few.

  3. If you are a musician who wants to make a living off of their art you need to have your briefcase in your other hand to your instrument these days. If you don’t, you probably won’t be able to sustain it.
    To barely surviving musicians. You’re doing it wrong. Get some business sense and make it 50% of what you do if you want to have a life as a full-time musician.
    It’s got nothing to do with the digital age. Musicians were far poorer in the past.
    I have a business mentor and I’m a full time musician because of it. It didn’t come easy, but you just have to dig in and grind it out and a coach who knows the path ahead saves yourself a lot of time, even if it costs to get advice.
    U2 wanting more money, good for them. Doesn’t mean I think they’re any better than Justin Beiber – just another corporate who isn’t worth my own time.
    Stop complaining and start working.

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