Bob Ezrin Weighs In

A friend of mine who runs a major label up here sent me an email in response to Terry’s press release that simply said "interesting position". Here’s my response to him:

They are completely right.

Suing our customers sits right up there with putting stealth software on their computers as reasons for the complete disconnect between them and our industry.

The labels have NEVER been on the right side of this issue. And the artists and organizations that have supported their efforts at the bench or in Washington have simply drunk the cool-aid.

Can anyone anywhere point to ANY proof of positive results coming from the major labels’ legal and political activities over the last 5 years?

This reminds me completely of the early dot com days when snake-oil salesmen came up to the offices of greedy and/or desperate music execs and other neophytes and sold them bottles of Digital Youth Elixir with ingredients that the execs couldn’t understand so they HAD to believe in. And all those execs invested in, bought, hired or retained these folks to guide them through the frightening but enticing new world of digits without having a CLUE as to what was really going on or how any of it worked. It’s like "Through the Looking Glass". The industry saw a concept with a sign that said "Eat Me" and they did. And now everyone of those companies is suffering from a massive belly-ache.

I have never supported the industry’s official position on the issues of downloading or digital delivery. If we think we’ve done a great job of converting the consumer, we’re smoking crack. We’ve alienated them, bullied them, overcharged and underdelivered to them; force-fed them TV dinners instead of gourmet fare; pushed them into the great unknown by not offering them any viable commercial alternative – but most of all, we have underestimated and insulted them. We deserve to be punished and we are.

Bravo to Terry McBride, Bob Lefsetz and anyone else who stands up and says "enough". But even more important than protest is the development of new ideas and modern models for the recorded music industry. Maybe some of the visionaries can get together to create some ideas for a solution to the current and future state of our business. The RIAA should sponsor a renegade summit, bringing together all the top thinkers in the fields of technology, sociology, cultural development and consumer empowerment who love music and have an idea of where it is going in the future. But they won’t – because they’re afraid that the truth may invalidate them as an entity.

Maybe one of the majors would have the balls to do it unilaterally. We won’t solve all the issues in one get together, but we can certainly float a lot of ideas and foster some creative thinking and get closer to the truth. Because, even when it hurts, only the truth will carry us home.

Bob, please add this: "Terry, I will contribute to the legal expenses. I’ll call you."

Bob Ezrin

P.S. I rang his office and left a message that I would contribute. My hope would be that everyone else throws in as well. It would be amazing if his action became the rallying point and the thing that started the landslide.

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.