Phonofile Insights – Alison Wenham

September 11, 2015 07:55
FullSizeRender Major consolidation makes industry slow, dull and defensive

AIM’s Alison Wenham on lack of competition, expectation to streaming returns, transparency, fair revenue distribution and charts ossification.
Interview by Eamonn Forde, reports editor at Music Ally and freelance music business writer.

When AIM (the Association of Independent Music) was founded in 1999, there were five major record labels, the record business was feasting heartily on the CD explosion and Napster was something only a tech-savvy few knew about. Sixteen years later, there are three majors, the CD is now in serious decline as a secondary (or even tertiary) format in most markets and many consumers now carry a smartphone that can access any music ever recorded in a few taps and swipes.

AIM was set up to represent independent labels in the UK at the most seismic time for music companies since the development of recorded sound a century earlier. Its arrival triggered the establishment of trade associations around the world, including Impala in Europe, A2IM in the US and WIN (Worldwide Independent Network) on a global level. With increased consolidation among the majors and with digital throwing out all the old certainties (and creating amazing new opportunities for the bold and canny), the need for the independents to march in lockstep has never been greater.


Tom Silverman on 90-degree deals, breaking the US and a $100bn music business

March 4, 2015 10:36


Tom Silverman

Interview by Eamonn Forde, reports editor at Music Ally and freelance music business writer.

 Tom Silverman entered the music business in the disco era, setting up Dance Music Report magazine for DJs that grew to 3,000 recipients in North America. Drawing on his burgeoning network and sensing a tumultuous change in music, he set up Tommy Boy Records in 1981. His first signing was Afrika Bambaataa.

Bambaataa’s second single for Tommy Boy was the towering ‘Planet Rock’ in 1982 – released on 12-inch and swiftly selling 600,000 copies at around $4 each, exploding not just his career but also that of Silverman and his label.

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Phonofile Insights – Charles Caldas on Youtube, market share gaming and more

June 13, 2014 14:44

Phonofile Insights is a series of in-depth interviews with prominent indie music industry thinkers, focusing on relevant subjects for the industry of recorded music.

Charles Caldas interviewed by Eamonn Forde, reports editor at Music Ally and freelance music business writer.

Charles Caldas has been CEO of Merlin, the global digital rights agency for independent labels, since it was established in 2007. With so much rapid change happening in the music industry, we invited Charles to outline both the challenges he faces and the opportunities he sees today, to explain how he feels the indies must work around accelerating consolidation and hear why he believes that streaming is the future – despite what Thom Yorke might say.

Merlin’s remit is to represent and negotiate on behalf of indies globally, acting like a “fourth major” so they get the best possible deals from the multitude of digital services that are either in the market or launching soon.