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Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Guardian Music Power 100

The Guardian published it's Music Power 100 yesterday. An interesting list that was more business than artist focused than past ones I have seen; perhaps reflecting the fact that the selection panel included two publicists. Lots of usual suspects were there but some interesting selections in the area of digital. At 10 Jeff Bezoz of Amazon was not a surprise and I expected to see Daniel Ek of Spotify (27) and Steve Purdham of We7 (68) as music is core to all their businesses.

More interesting was the high placings for Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, founders of YouTube (6), Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, founders of Google (8), Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (13) and Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, founders of Twitter (37).

None of these choices are really controversial, it just reflects the huge impact these sites have on our everyday lives and the influence they have on the way that information about things we care about is distributed (whether films, fashion, politics or music).  None of these people set out to change the music business but they have. In reality the placings are for the sites which I suppose explains why the credit is given to the individuals who had the original idea. Just four short years ago the names Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe (founders of MySpace) would probably have been at the top of the digital pecking order rather than at 100.

Interestingly iTunes is at number 5 due to its status as (perhaps) the leading retailer. No name is attached in this case as they don't know who to credit. iTunes does fits neatly alongside music based businesses like Spotify and retailers like Amazon but that does seem to underestimate its significance. Taking a broader view its parent company Apple would sit comfortably alongside the world changing Google and Facebook and perhaps it is Apple rather than just iTunes that should be at number 5. Long before I ever bought anything on iTunes I used it to put my music collection on my computer. The playlists created based on favourite songs got me listening to things I had ignored in my collection. I listened to podcasts and internet radio. Perhaps most importantly thanks to the iPod and iPhone I carry that music everywhere I go and it listen to it connected to headphones, the car stereo and my hi-fi. Perhaps the name Steve Jobs should have been at 5.

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