The music industry’s major labels know all about the need to avoid looking like a cartel in their dealings with technology companies.

So they’ll be keen to follow the progress of a group of major news publishers, who are seeking the right to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook.

The News Media Alliance includes a range of US publications, from local media to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.

“The temperature is rising in terms of concern, and in some cases anger, about what seems like a very asymmetric, disadvantageous relationship between the publishers and the very big digital platforms,” said New York Times CEO Mark Thompson.

However, the publishers would need new legislation to be able to negotiate as a group without flouting current antitrust laws in the US.

The news came after a separate story broke about a way Google is hoping to interact with the news industry more positively.

It has awarded the Press Association a €706k grant to explore using artificial intelligence technology to automate the writing of up to 30,000 “data-driven stories” a month for local media outlets, with the AI drawing on databases for crime, health and employment.

PA, which is working with startup Urbs Media on the ‘Radar’ system (‘Reporters And Data And Robots’) is stressing that human journalists will still play an important role in the process. At least, for now…

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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