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2 Music Week 30.11.12 NEWS EDITORIAL

Industry must stay plugged in to ‘irrelevant’ music

“AT NO.40, IT’S AC/DC’S HIGHWAY TO HELL. They’re from the Seventies, by the way.” Greg James’ slightly sneering over-explanation of everyone’s

favourite Aussie chug rockers on Radio 1’s Official Sunday Chart Show said it all. The Apple-backed arrival of Angus Young and co.’s catalogue

on iTunes last week was one of those demographic-twisting moments that leaves usually unflappable marketeers scratching at their scalp in bemusement. There’s been a lot of talk about Radio 1 and ageism of late, dismissed as poppycock by playlist chief George Ergatoudis in Music Week today. As he says in our Big Interview on page 10: “Being put on Radio 1’s playlist has absolutely nothing to do with age… It’s all about relevance.” Judging by James’ plastic bemusement, AC/DC would certainly

fit into an ‘irrelevant’ category for Radio 1. Which is a shame, because I’m convinced younglings have snapped up the band’s timeless rawk on iTunes this month - largely thanks to the

“The trade mustn’t create a gulf between its long- term future and those fans yet to try iTunes.”

deference flicked DC’s way by 2012’s class of noir-draped guitar stars. But if we follow the comfier rationale - that older AC/DC fans found the Mastered For iTunes downloads simply irresistible en masse - doesn’t it send a warning shot RE: this industry’s headstrong dive towards the technological bleeding edge? While music’s leading luminaries point to Sweden’s streaming success story and the promise of a server-based future, they are in danger of forging an educative shortfall in front of those consumers for whom MyFirstDownload is still a scary prospect. These fans can go one of three ways if physical music continues to fizzle away: (i) industry resource encourages and teaches them to embrace downloads; (ii) they unquestioningly follow their adored heritage artists - just like AC/DC - online; or (iii) their custom is lost to the labels for good. The stats suggest some consumers are already being left

behind. Official Charts Company data shows that to date in 2012, overall artist album sales are down 15.8%, following a decline of just 2.6% at the same stage in 2011. A whopping 25.7% freefall has come on one medium, CD, as digital downloads grow a disappointing 14.2%. Have these customers been caught adrift by a trade all-too-

ready to ditch their preferred format and all-too-impatient to encourage them to try downloading? It is, unhelpfully, extremely tough to tell while streaming figures remain quite so muddy. What we know for sure is that AC/DC fans gobbled up in

excess of 45,000 downloads last week - sending Back In Black into the mid-20s on the Official Singles Chart. And we also know that more than a few of those buyers would

have been propelled onto iTunes for the first time by blind love, rather than structured, graduated temptation. In a wounded record industry searching for tomorrow’s solutions, the continued, confident custom of these oft-forgotten music fans must be considered nothing less than vitally precious. Tim Ingham, Editor

Do you have views on this column? Feel free to comment by emailing VIAGOGO HITS BACK AFTER RFU BRITISH COURT RULING •

Ticket resale O


ne of this year’s biggest issues in the music industry simply refuses

to go away. Last week, a court ruling

meant that controversial secondary ticketing company Viagogo could soon be forced to

‘Overall sentiment is swinging towards

What was required of Viagogo after the court ruling in the RFU case? Ed Parkinson: The RFU case has been going on for a number of years. The RFU are requesting the names of some people who have resold their rugby tickets for Six Nations in 2011 and the Autumn Internationals in 2010 across our platform. Obviously we’re fighting

against that strongly because it’s perfectly legal to resell tickets and people who entered their private information into our website when buying or selling something should be covered by existing data protection. As a result the RFU will be getting a handful of names who resold tickets on our website a few years ago.

Are these individual sellers or the brokers that use Viagogo? Anyone who sold tickets for those events a couple of years ago. Typically, the people selling rugby tickets are debenture holders who have a seat licence for over a number of years and don’t go to every game or use every ticket and so sell those tickets on. But from our perspective

what’s important is that it was perfectly legal for people to resell a rugby ticket last week, yesterday, last year, and it’s still perfectly legal for someone to resell a rugby ticket or any other ticket which they can no longer use across our platform. We think this is very much a hollow victory for the RFU.

number of organisers who are increasingly seeing that [working with Viagogo] is the right way to control the secondary market and this is the right way for them to participate in the revenue of the resell of their seconds. I see that the overall sentiment

Ed Parkinson

What precedent does the decision set for other industries? Could music promoters bring similar cases and get similar results? We fought very hard throughout this case to protect the rights of individuals to have their private information protected when doing something that’s perfectly legal - and it’s perfectly legal for people to sell tickets to concerts they can’t use. So we’ve taken steps to

improve our data protection to ensure that this kind of thing can’t happen again whether it’s rugby or any other event.

Are you worried about the law surrounding secondary ticketing changing in the future? We have official partnerships with half the teams in the UK Premier League, we’ve worked with major artists this year including Madonna’s European tour, we’ve worked with music festivals, tennis tournaments, darts, wrestling; there are a huge

is swinging strongly in the direction of embracing the service that we offer and I think that’s testament to the partnerships we’ve signed across live entertainment. From a legal perspective, this

issue has been examined in great detail through a Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee, a public enquiry, an independent review and the government came out strongly in favour of a transparent, open, resale market for tickets.

When did the swing in music partnerships come about and what triggered it? From the very beginning, we have partnered with event organisers. We launched the business with deals with Manchester United and Chelsea in 2002 and we’ve worked with

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