Friday, 4 December 2009

Takin' Care of Business

I reckon that if I snuck up behind a record exec, drugged him, dragged him to an abandoned warehouse, shone a light in his face and asked him about the music industry… he would probably agree with pretty much everything that is said here and here and here and here.

These guys aren't stupid, they know the score. (Well, maybe)

So what's the problem? Why do they insist on suing customers, locking up the internet and screwing artists if they know there's a better way?

At the end of the day, these guys run companies. It is their duty to act in the best interests of their shareholders. Can you imagine standing up at an AGM and saying, 'hey guys, new plan, we're going to fire the vast majority of our staff, downsize the company and start taking a smaller profit margin on all business'. Um, fuck off.

It's classic innovator's dilemma. If they change to keep with the times they will end up undercutting their current business and losing a hell of a lot of money in the process. If they try to keep things as they are, they will end up losing out to upstarts.

So they've chosen option 3 - litigate the hell out of competitors, bribe the government into protecting obsolete business models and threaten to ruin the lives of anyone who dares live in the 21st century. Classy.

But at the end of the day I don't blame them. That's their job so no hard feelings.

(I am not quite so forgiving of the politicians).

So here's what I'd do (Mr Big Record Exec please feel free to 'pirate' this - but in return I want a job - or Pixie Lott's phone number). Start a small indie label subsidiary. Hand it over to some tech savvy youngsters and let them get on with it. Hell, set up half a dozen to see what works best. Then, as the indie label grows, gradually integrate the main label into it. Start with fringe artists and then move more mainstream.

Easy. Solved. Now I'm off to work on global warming.

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