Music Industry Implosion

The reason why Universal Music is current litigating itself to death instead of leveraging the internet as a delivery platform, according to Doug Morris, CEO:

We didn’t know who to hire. I wouldn’t be able to recognise a good technology person - anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me.

Taken from John Naughton’s latest column.

So, here’s a free-of-charge clue for the music industry (not that I imagine any of the executives are smart enough to be able to use a computer or, y’know, read, or anything):

Steve Jobs

If this guy knocks on your door offering to sell your products for you, you need to say yes. This is what a “good technology person” looks like.

You shouldn’t decide to sue your own customers, nor should you try to bully the aforementioned good technology person, who is doing your job better than you are, into changing his pricing structure, business model or delivery system.

You should listen to the good technology person’s advice, and not take your toys home to play with them on your own if you don’t get your own way. It’s important to note that you are trying to sell those toys, not keep them to yourself, and if you don’t provide a way for people to buy them you aren’t going to make any money.

Naughton attributes the industry’s impending demise to “wilful cluelessness”. However, I think that it can be summed up more accurately as “greedy stupidity”.

Morris continues:

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?

Mr Morris, I would hire a vet. I certainly wouldn’t try to sue the dog for being ill, which is what you appear to have done.


Jeff on 2007-12-10 at 21:58 said:

To be fair, I think it can be attributed back to the US “propensity to litigate”. Its not all that far-fetched to see a scenario where the music industry didn’t try to copy protect their content, and their shareholders (the big insurance funds, etc) sued their asses for “not acting in the best interests of the shareholders”.

Anyone who has actually tried to employ effective computer consultants knows that it is not as easy as everyone thinks to find competent advice. We have pissed away so much money on consultants who actually knew less than us on the topics they were supposed to be expert at. Unless you have a reliable feedback mechanism, you will get milked by consultants.

Push comes to shove, however, what they should have done is bred their own experts, not rely on external consultancy. That is the biggest problem these days, everyone concentrates on their own “core business” and relies on others to do a good job - which is never a given. Sadly, you still need to be a jack of all trades.