The opening address at AIM’s Music Connected conference in London last Friday came from Paul Sanders, co-founder of Consolidated Independent. He delivered a warning around the ability to stay independent, for music companies and tech startups alike.
“As independents we’re usually small, and it’s very hard to get the concentration of expertise in one place to get the investment into the technology and the processes you need, to be an independent business in a world that is coalescing around what we call hyper-scale platforms,” said Sanders. “Without that expertise, and without access to that expertise, it is too easy to lose independence.”
Sanders noted that The Orchard was an early client of CI, which is now a “very important” part of Sony Music. “That takes a big chunk of repertoire out of the independent sector,” said Sanders, who said that similar dynamics have been at work around independent music startups including The Echo Nest (bought by Spotify), Next Big Sound (bought by Pandora) and Musicmetric (bought by Apple).
“A whole series of these excellent exits, but exits that move expertise from the label side into the service side,” said Sanders. “How to spot the real experts, and how to get that expertise behind independents in the industry, are critical themes for 2018.”