Ming the Mechanic:
How the record industry committed suicide

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 How the record industry committed suicide2007-06-28 22:21
4 comments
by Flemming Funch

Rolling Stone has the first of a two part series declaring the music industry dead, by suicide:
So who killed the record industry as we knew it? "The record companies have created this situation themselves," says Simon Wright, CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group, which operates Virgin Megastores. While there are factors outside of the labels' control -- from the rise of the Internet to the popularity of video games and DVDs -- many in the industry see the last seven years as a series of botched opportunities. And among the biggest, they say, was the labels' failure to address online piracy at the beginning by making peace with the first file-sharing service, Napster. "They left billions and billions of dollars on the table by suing Napster -- that was the moment that the labels killed themselves," says Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of management company the Firm. "The record business had an unbelievable opportunity there. They were all using the same service. It was as if everybody was listening to the same radio station. Then Napster shut down, and all those 30 or 40 million people went to other [file-sharing services]."

It all could have been different: Seven years ago, the music industry's top executives gathered for secret talks with Napster CEO Hank Barry. At a July 15th, 2000, meeting, the execs -- including the CEO of Universal's parent company, Edgar Bronfman Jr.; Sony Corp. head Nobuyuki Idei; and Bertelsmann chief Thomas Middelhof -- sat in a hotel in Sun Valley, Idaho, with Barry and told him that they wanted to strike licensing deals with Napster. "Mr. Idei started the meeting," recalls Barry, now a director in the law firm Howard Rice. "He was talking about how Napster was something the customers wanted."
(Via BoingBoing).

Yeah, one can't really imagine how they could possibly have acted more stupidly. Thousand times worse than the guy who invented new Coke.


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4 comments

2 Jul 2007 @ 20:57 by Ed Dawson @76.168.86.105 : Into the Wayback Machine, Mr Peabody!
Let's go back 100 years and maybe a bit more into the 19th century...

THERE IS NO MUSIC INDUSTRY. Instead:

Composers make money selling sheet music.
Musicians make money playing live to audiences.

No record labels. Then some wiseguy somewhere got the idea to copyright recordings of music on wax, and the record industry was born.

The record industry is now terminal; it is on life support in the ICU and dying before our very eyes.

Individuals and bands now have the means to record, produce, promote and distribute their own music. The record labels are no longer needed. And worse for the record labels, electronic music files (mp3, etc.) have made "sharing" their product so easy that it has become literally (not figuratively) impossible to stop it.

I agree that the industry made some bonehead moves; I disagree that they suicided. they were dead no matter what they did.
cheers
Ed, ex-Flipside magazine staff writer (Flipside was a magazine covering underground bands)  



2 Jul 2007 @ 21:27 by ming : Dead, no matter what
Ha, yes it is a good perspective to look at how things were before a record industry. And, yes, makes sense that they go away if there's no longer a point. We can distribute music better than they can. But they had that short window of opportunity where they could have demonstrated that they cared about distributing music well, and they might have convinced us that it was better to get high quality, uniform, well-labeled files from them, rather than from random people who digitized their CDs. And we'd have paid for it. And some of us do pay for it even today. But it still doesn't compete well. So, clearly they're going down.  


9 Nov 2007 @ 17:04 by Rob @76.5.57.3 : Yep

I said it when it happened. They shot themselves in the foot when they killed Napster instead of partnering with it. Countless millions lost by that brain trust.  



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