"’If someone wants to buy a million CDs from us and then give them away on a street corner, that’s fine with us as long as we get paid,’ said Larry Kenswil, a top digital-media executive at Universal Music."
Which way do these guys want it? Music is so valuable that prices at the iTunes Music Store should be raised, or it’s a worthless commodity that should be given away as a premium?
The kind of thinking Mr. Kenswil exhibits above is exactly the type that got the business in this fix to begin with. I don’t give a fuck WHAT happens as long as I get paid. Hell, it emanates from the top down. All those antiquarians running major labels into the ground just hoping to collect fat paychecks before the doors are closed. These same execs focusing solely on short term profits rather than careers.
God, look at all the high class companies, from BMW to Louis Vuitton, who guard their images so preciously and the music business is willing to tie its wares up with anybody who’s willing to pay. A great move if your goal is to establish credibility… HEY, these companies don’t BELIEVE in credibility. They’ve been lying for decades, certainly since the advent of the twenty first century: we’ve got piracy licked; we’re all about our consumers even though we’re suing them; we love our acts even though we never gave them any of that MP3.com money and are screwing them at the iTunes Music Store. Is it any wonder Mr. Kenswil states the obvious? He’s so out of touch, he doesn’t even realize what he’s saying.
Valuable companies are not about getting paid today, but long term strategy. The reason Apple dominates computer music today is because of a HUGE investment at the turn of the decade, when its fortunes were not so great and other technology companies were cutting back after the economic crash. It’s about long term planning, not getting paid today.
As for commercials… If ads were the way to the consumer’s heart then terrestrial radio wouldn’t be in free fall and the TV networks would be INCREASING their share of viewership instead of constantly losing eyeballs. Commercials are a turn-off. Hell, people only believe in services WITHOUT commercials. Like HBO. And XM and Sirius. Hell, speak with a satellite subscriber, he’s not wishy-washy about the service, he LOVES his satellite radio and tells everybody about it. Does anybody go on about the programming on TERRESTRIAL RADIO??
This business will be healthy when the priorities are not Paris Hilton but relatively faceless acts making music that touches people’s souls. Said music will be untainted by commercials, because, after all, YOU haven’t sold your soul.
But it’s hard to find and develop this kind of music. It’s easier to just spend a bunch of money on a good-looking kid, pairing him or her with famous record producers and video directors.
But that paradigm is history. It’s no longer the engine. It’s the hoopla, but it’s not the soul. The soul of these companies is their catalog. THAT’S why Warner Music is so valuable, not because of this week’s rapper whose album cost a fortune and may never be heard from again.
Cut out the middlemen trying to make a profit. Go directly to the consumer. This is what the Web allows. But no, Universal Music would rather take the cash from some unknown deep pocket instead of worrying about its ultimate customer.
And do you think the Beatles are going to let their music be given away with commercials? Never mind Pearl Jam and Metallica. God, all some bands HAVE is their image, they guard it closely, they don’t want the company to FUCK WITH IT! And isn’t it funny that these execs pulling the strings had nothing to do with the development of these classic acts to begin with?
And just one more additional note. This Zune hype. If you’ve been following the story, you know it’s really just a Toshiba Gigabeat update. A failed product. If you think SpiralFrog and Universal and Microsoft are going to conspire to defeat Apple, then you probably drive a Yugo.