McGuinness

One of Midem’s most stirring talks came from legendary ex-U2 manager and winner of the Billboard Industry Icon Award this year, Paul McGuinness.

He recently sold his company Principle Management to the band in a transaction financed by Live Nation, a move, which he described as “a little like attending my own funeral and reading my own obituary.”

In a statement from U2 it’s hinted that he will still have an active role in the band as the “mentor-in-chief”, but said “Sometime soon, U2 will begin a new adventure around the world and we totally understand and respect Paul’s desire to not run away with the circus – AGAIN.”

It means that U2 will now be managed by Guy Oseary in the first change in management that the band has ever undergone.

Before being given his award by Billboards Executive Director, John Walberg, a video montage was played with a vox-pop of quotes about McGuiness from the great and good of the industry.

“We’re so proud of Paul McGuinness,” Bono commented, “I don’t think we’ve ever met another artist who have had the same manager for 35 years from day one and for that whole time who had been unfaltering in his integrity, in his excellent business acumen.”

Since signing to Island Records not long after leaving school U2 have sold 160 million albums and their last tour alone grossed around a $250 million.

But McGuiness has always condemned the amount of money that technology businesses are making from music and feels that not enough of that revenue is filtering down to the artists and records labels.

Furthermore, he feels that these companies have not done enough to curb the surge in music piracy levels over the last ten years.

He said: “The FT reported recently that the tech companies hold the largest cash surpluses in the world…these are their cash reserves: Apple: $146 billion dollars; Google: $56 billion dollars; Verizon: $54 billion dollars.”

“Millions of takedown notices identifying illegal sites have been issued by record companies to Google. The sites are taken down but are replaced within seconds by bots. It’s no mystery of what to do if Google is sincere about what they say.”

“Take down the illegal sites, keep them down and clear the way for the legal digital distributers like iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, the new Jimmy Iovine Beats service, which promises to be a very serious competitor.”

“Those services now exist, it is no longer acceptable to say that the music industry is not available, not making its wares available online.”

And lastly, McGuiness answered the question he is asked more than any; ‘what’s the secret of success in being a music manager?’

“Get a good client, that’s the heart of it.”