×

U2 manager slams Internet providers

McGuinness likens ISPs to 'shoplifters'

U2 manager Paul McGuinness launched a blistering attack on the world’s Internet providers Wednesday, accusing them of strangling the music industry.

Speaking at the Music Matters confab in Hong Kong, McGuinness likened ISPs to “shoplifters” and accused them of “turning their heads” away from the music industry’s troubles and “rigging the market.”

“The recorded music industry is in a crisis, and there is crucial help available but not being provided by companies who should be providing that help — not just because it is morally right, but because it is in their commercial interest,” McGuinness said.

He and numerous others speaking on the first day of the confab said the industry was caught between rampant piracy and ISPs’ extortionate terms of trade.

Warner Music prexy Lachie Rutherford pointed out that the 2% of revenues from downloads and ringtones is shared with performers. “There are huge amounts of money being made from music (by portals and carriers) that are not supporting music or radio or magazines,” Rutherford said.

McGuinness targeted many for contributing to the music biz’s ills. “Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies — companies that have used music to drive vast revenues from broadband subscriptions and from advertising. They would argue that they have been neutral bystanders to the spectacular devaluation of music. I don’t believe that is true,” he said.

But McGuinness saved his sharpest criticism for China and Chinese companies.

“ISPs and mobile operators are the business partners of the future for the recorded music business — but they have to share the money in a way that reflects what music is doing for their business,” he said. “That’s true nowhere more than in China. China Mobile makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year from sales of ringtones yet pays a minuscule fraction of that to performers, producers and composers.”

McGuinness said ISPs were unwilling to act against piracy and had ignored music-industry proposals — even though they were not being asked to police the Internet.

More Biz

  • Grammy Awards 60th Annual Grammy Awards,

    Recording Academy Paid Millions Annually to Outside Law Firms

    Among the concerns listed in a memo sent to the Recording Academy’s head of HR by president/CEO Deborah Dugan before she was placed on administrative leave Thursday was an item about the organization’s “exorbitant and unnecessary” legal fees to outside law firms, according to sources familiar with the document. According to the most recent 990 [...]

  • Chuck D of Public EnemyGods of

    Public Enemy’s Chuck D Slams Grammys Over Deborah Dugan Ouster

    Chuck D, frontman of Public Enemy — who are receiving the Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Grammys next week — posted a long statement on Instagram criticizing the Recording Academy over its sudden ousting of new president/CEO Deborah Dugan yesterday. Dugan, who had been in the job only five months, was placed on administrative leave after [...]

  • Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons

    Spotify in Talks to Acquire Bill Simmons' The Ringer: Report

    Spotify is in early talks to acquire The Ringer, the digital content and podcast network launched by ESPN alum Bill Simmons in 2016, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. A representative for Spotify declined to comment on the report. Reps for Ringer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Spotify’s [...]

  • Deborah Dugan arrives for the 20th

    Deborah Dugan's Recording Academy Ouster Follows Multiple Tussles With Board

    “Change is afoot,” Deborah Dugan said more than once during interviews with Variety in the weeks before her shocking removal from her post as president/CEO of the Recording Academy after just five months on the job. During those conversations, Dugan spoke of changes she planned to make in the Academy’s staffing organization, its Board of [...]

  • Weinstein Trial

    Does Harvey Weinstein's Jury Selection Strategy Make Any Sense?

    Harvey Weinstein’s defense team appeared to have a strategy for jury selection: keep white women off the panel. They didn’t put it that way, because picking jurors based on race or gender is illegal. But on Thursday and again on Friday, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi accused the defense of using its peremptory challenges to systematically exclude [...]

  • Bob Iger

    Bob Iger's Disney Compensation Drops to $47.5 Million in 2019

    Disney chief Bob Iger saw his compensation for 2019 drop to $47.5 million, a 28% decline from his 2018 pay package. Disney’s leader earned $3 million in salary and a $21.8 million bonus, plus another $10 million in stock awards and $9.6 million in stock options, Disney disclosed in the company’s annual proxy filing with [...]

  • Peter Chernin'Spies in Disguise' film premiere,

    Disney and Chernin Entertainment Parting Ways (EXCLUSIVE)

    Disney and Peter Chernin are ending Chernin Entertainment’s long-standing film production deal with 20th Century Fox (recently rebranded to 20th Century Studios), Variety has learned. The split was a mutual and amicable one, driven by the simple fact that Disney rarely brings on third-party partners to finance its feature films. “I have nothing but praise for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content