Can Peter Gabriel save the music industry with his new digital music project, Cue Songs?
EMI has just been sold for a handful of brass knockers, torrent sites and file-sharing kills digital profit and now thieves won’t even steal CDs.
The music industry is in freefall, with many labels closing their doors, but could digital sales through ventures like Peter Gabriel’s new Cue Songs save it?
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Gabriel says there is hope, and Cue Songs is part of the solution: “People will always love music. They will come to realise that if you deprive music and film of money, then the content will suffer, and that is a choice we will have to make as a society.”
Developed with Ed Averdieck, ex head of Nokia Music, Cue Songs will use technology to streamline the selling and buying of the licensed music you hear on adverts, websites or in the background of videos.
Italian atmospheric composer Ennio Morricone is in, as is Norman Cook’s Skint label, indie labels Tummy Touch and Infectious and major Sony Music.
Gabriel’s new site hopes to be the one-stop shop for licensing music, throwing the doors open to everyone from website designers, to marketing presenters, students or major advertising campaign managers.
Nasa’s head of media has called to say the site has eased his licensing nightmare, and beta testing has yielded other whispers of support.
Gabriel describes the site as “ideal for all sorts of music acts, including bigger acts who may have their big tracks licensed, but may have plenty of other tracks sitting around not making any money”
“Musicians will have right of refusal and the right to have their track taken down from somewhere they really don’t approve of,” he adds.
So if they hear their track on Peckham’s finest butchering website, and they're adamant vegetarians, the track can come down.
This is far from the first digital venture from the Genesis legend.
“My father was an electrical engineer, which is where the passion for technology comes from," he says.
Gabriel’s first venture into digital music was back in 2002, two years before iTunes was born. He had "Europe's largest digital music distributior", which has now been sold on to become Nokia Music.
He also operates WE7, a personalised online music radio site, which while still kicking, has rather been taken over by the likes of Spotify and Last.fm in this field.
Gabriel's commitment to exploring the bounds of technology runs deep.
“The way it’s used politically is most exciting to me at the moment," he says.
“I’m in a group called Elders made up of former statesmen and founded by Mandela, and we have put together a section in App store called The Toolbox, where you can find apps for social change.”
He is passionate about how technology makes a difference around the world. "I’m interested in e-health, remote diagnostics and the way the mobile phone brings the best teachers right into communities.”
Gabriel is also involved in Witness, saying “just this week we have been in Syria training young people to use video.”