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Speaker Profile Q&A: Gregor Pryor, Partner, ReedSmith

Gregor Pryor is the leading digital music lawyer in Europe and serves as co-chair of Reed Smith’s global Entertainment and Media Industry Group. For more than 15 years, Pryor has been involved in advising many of the world’s leading companies in the music industry. He regularly works with companies that are involved in the distribution and sale of digital content, as well as major and independent record labels, music publishers, world famous recording artists and talent management. Gregor will be speaking on the 'Watch Out Ed Sheeran! Making Music with Artificial Intelligence' panel at NY:LON Connect on January 23.

:: What’s been the most exciting digital music trend or technology  for you in 2017 and why?
I’m not so giddy about the huge rise in streaming consumption – it now seems inevitable and the question really is about which labels will benefit most, and which distributors will survive and flourish.

What really starts to be interesting now is the focus on curation and those companies that are able to help consumers make sense of their listening habits when faced with the daunting prospect of the world’s music catalogue on demand.

We are moving into a world of more focused music delivery, where playlisting and selection take centre stage. NTS Live, GimmeRadio and Soundcloud stand to benefit from this trend.

:: What music start-ups have caught your eye in 2017 and why?
Adaptive music has some room to grow, and Weav is an exciting proposition. There are also a number of companies – some earlier stage than others – that are focused more on the creator and the creative process, and this can only be a good thing.

ROLI, Native Instruments and even Pioneer DJ are in on this, as well as Yousician and Oktav. I’m less excited about the plethora of early-stage companies in our space that are hyping blockchain or getting ready for an ICO.

:: What do you think the biggest digital challenge will be for our industry in 2018?
As ever, the challenge with distribution is data hygiene. Getting composers and creators focused on all of the supply chain is a difficult thing to do. Meantime, the black box grows and only the major rights holders benefit. STEM and the other creator-focused aggregators may help change this paradigm, one song at a time.

:: Which trends/technologies would you suggest are worth keeping an eye out for in 2018, and why?Famous last words, but I think VR might finally start to take hold.

:: Which question/topic would you most like to see debated at NY:LON Connect?
I would love a real debate about the sustainability of royalty pricing. Whilst the labels have been pressured to reduce their digital pricing and there remains tension among artists about how much revenue they see from streaming, we still don’t see a clear path for those selling music as a pure business model.

I would also like to see someone take on the topic of copyright trolling and vexatious lawsuits.