MidemNet is an annual conference that attracts an international roster of music professionals to hold a discussion on the future of the industry. Link

When Jay-Z resigned as Def Jam president and the company’s owner, Universal, opted not to replace him, Chuck D issued a statement from Cannes: “It’s really disappointing. … It’s sort of expected, and a primary reason why the music business has collapsed. … It’s quite clear that these folks could care less. The same thing that happened to Motown is Def Jam’s fate.” (Formed in 1959 by trailblazer Berry Gordy, Motown Records brought international acclaim to a menu of black artists but, today, is an arm of white-owned Universal.)

Later, he told me, “The higher-ups at Universal are happy with their standard of Negro.” Which was a jab at Jay-Z but also every other black mogul who lets a fat cat who happens to be white have ultimate control. This is an aside, but somehow central to Chuck D’s talk about what has gone wrong with music-making and how the industry finds itself scrambling and scraping to catch up. Consumers, in no slight measure, are forcing these fast-changing times. They are as intent as any fat cat on keeping a dollar in their own pockets and the kind of music they really want to hear pumping in their ears.