That was the Berlin Music Week that was


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Berlin Music Week is now officially over and we can get back to going to gigs and listening to music and pondering how to make a living from it like we did before BMW came to town.

And was it all worth it? From all the innovative ideas banded about, from all the contacts made and business cards swapped, from all the showcases played to handfuls of industry people….actually yes, I think it was worth it.

If you’re hooked up to our weekly newsletter (and if you’re not, there’s the link, do it now!) you would have read me writing somewhat cynically about the opening party – loads of money being spent by all the sponsors, which probably came at least in part from the city of Berlin’s not-exactly-overflowing coffers, all the people there to see and be seen, all the back-slapping, being it of one’s own back or someone else’s, and all while there didn’t seem to be a musician anywhere in the place…but I also know that the place was full of people who loved music, and the music world, and all the things that go with it. Or some of them at least. And it was filled with people who are generally optimistic about the future of the music business, and who are not leaving the business to go and do something else with their lives, like becoming accountants or running car hire firms, but are determined to stay in the music business and make it work. And there were all sorts of different ideas and approaches and suggestions and presentations of new technology about how we can improve things. So on that score, hats off to the Berlin Music Week, and long may she sail.

So there. That’s me not being mean about the traditional music business. I still have bones to pick of course, and pick them I will, but I wanted to be fair.

Just briefly, while we’re here:

Bones to pick include: Someone reliably informed me that the music lawyers earn 75 percent of the money made in the music business and tend to wield an enormous amount of power. This is not right.

Also: Major labels must die. There are lots of nice people that work in them. They don’t have to die, in fact I wish them pleasant lives with chocolate cake and swizzle sticks. But major labels: There are about a million ways in which they suck, and have fucked music up, and continue to do their best to do so, and at some point I’ll list them here. Well maybe not all million, but I’ll do my best.

And: The definition of insanity has been said by someone (may have been Einstein, maybe not) to be doing exactly the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This could be taken broadly to define how the music business continues to behave, and I’ll be honest a lot of musicians too, and it pisses me off. Royally. Again, this will be addressed in these pages at some point in the future.

There are other bones, and I will be picking at them too, like a vulture looking for a quick snack, but perhaps this is not the time or the place. I started out wanting to be nice after all.

Rant over. Thanks, I needed that.

Article by Noel Maurice