I just got my first issue of my new subscription to Wired Magazine, and I may have to cancel due to my blood pressure rising. In it they profile Universal Music CEO Doug Morris, who is but the latest in a long line of guys who just doesn't freaking “get it”. The article is about how Universal is the most forward thinking of the labels by releasing DRM free music (about eight years after it is already too late by the way), but the entire article leaves you with the impression that he is the lone voice of reason AGAINST this decision, and it's probably those “uppity thirty something whipper snappers” who are forcing this decision through.
My favourite quote is this:
If you had Coca-Cola coming through the faucet in your kitchen, how much would you be willing to pay for Coca-Cola? There you go
Coca-Cola DOES come through my faucet, in the form of Dasani water…but I still spend good money on bottles of Dasani water.
The problem is that the music industry got focused on making money, and not doing the thing that it used to be good at…nurturing and promoting new artists. That used to be their core business, and the money flowed in. Now their primary interest is in “protecting their copyrights”, and there is simply no money to be made in that. The lawyers, who are getting RICH off of this, have bamboozled the music industry into thinking that this is the thing they've gotta do. SUE PEOPLE!!! SUE INDUSTRIES!!! SUE GRANDMA FOR HAVING THE RADIO ON WHILE SHE WATERS THE GARDEN!
Speaking as an uppity thirty something whipper snapper, I've got a strong message for all of the 68 year old CEO's out there. If you don't understand it, then shut up and let someone who does explain it to you. If you still don't understand it, then shut up and let that uppity thirty something be the face of this new market. If they fail, you get to pin all of the blame on them. If they succeed, you get to take all of the credit for seeing a “diamond in the rough”. It served you well all of those other times when new things or trends came around and someone explained to you why this was an important thing to latch on to.
Of course, we can also look at this quote to see why he was scared:
“There's no one in the record industry that's a technologist,” Morris explains. “That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?”
Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn't an option. “We didn't know who to hire,” he says, becoming more agitated. “I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.”
I call bullshit on this. Mark Cuban, Shawn Fanning, Michael Robertson, any one of those three could have redefined your business in the 90's. Instead you chose to vilify and persecute them. Of course they showed you by becoming billionaires and millionaires.
Don't look at your falling profits as an example of why this new thing is wrong, look at them as an example of what happens when you don't listen to all of those people around you who are telling you that THIS is the next big thing.
Because let's face it, the last “big thing” that you REALLY “got” was during the Reagan administration.