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Clash of the forums as new body accused of ‘divide and rule’ tactics

EUROPE -
World News
April 25, 2018

Above: Per Kviman, Ania Kasperek, Eivind Brydoy, Magdalena Jensen, Cecilie Torp-Holte, Keith Harris, Annabella Coldrick and Virpi Immonen

The arrival of a new organisation to represent artiste managers across the continent has been met with ‘astonishment’ by the International Music Managers Forum (IMMF).

Organisers behind the European Music Managers Alliance (EMMA), launched in London this month, say it will represent more than 800 managers through affiliations with associations in countries such as Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the UK.

EMMA says it will focus on licensing, fair remuneration from sources such as streaming, public policy and research, as well as establishing a code of practice.

The new organisation, which is set to unveil its agenda in June, will be chaired on an interim basis by UK based, long-time European manager of Stevie Wonder, Keith Harris.

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of MMF UK a founding member association of the new body and IMMF, says EMMA was launched because it was needed.

“The IMMF is international and we felt there had to be a voice representing European managers,” she says. “We all got together and felt there was a gap. It is about policy, common issues and sharing knowledge.”

Harris, who was on the IMMF advisory board until stepping down last September, says, “There is a real need to revitalise the managers voice with so much happening at the moment – distribution of Spotify money, post-Brexit touring and a new copyright regime.”

EMMA says it collectively represents more than 800 managers across Europe, and another 600 worldwide, through affiliations with similar organisations in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

MMF Sweden chair Per Kviman says, “It’s time for managers to make themselves heard in the fast-changing music industry, and to ensure we are well-represented in discussions with decision makers in Brussels.”

However, IMMF chair Volker May, based in Germany, tells Audience, “We are a little astonished by the move, as everyone had been invited to develop our organisation, as we’re still the largest and represent thousands of managers.

“Now is not the time to be trying to divide and rule, now is the time to unite,” he says. “The MMF in the UK should think of Brexit not as an opportunity to divide the MMFs across Europe, but as an opportunity to share in the overall growth of the market.”

All the members of the new body are understood to also still be members of IMMF, which says it represents Music Managers Forums across 30 countries.

An industry veteran close to the EMMA launch, who wished to remain anonymous, tells Audience, “IMMF should have be an amazing organisation, but that has failed to materialise and there was a certain amount of frustration among managers about this. EMMA is trying to do what it has failed tto do.”

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