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Fri, 31 Aug 2007

Can Labels not Suck?

Can you believe there was a time when it was almost actually cool to be part of a record label? Some were way cooler than others naturally enough. Right now I'm just getting my head around EMI's takeover by one of those private equity companies - the sort of people who's decision making is spreadsheet based and who are on the lookout for undervalued assets and gouging opportunities. One of their first statements was they'd have to prune artists who weren't paying their way. Oh boy. I won't bother to explain to people who don't know the music biz why this is a gauche and cretinously stupid thing to say. I'll just point to the backdoor where some of these companies are going to disappear soon, and say "there it is buddy, I hope you're the first through it" Although a dead tie with Sony BMG and Universal would be even better.

Let's give them all a little advice, shall we?

1) When you insult artists, you insult we the consumers as well. You've been quite good at insulting the consumer as it is... and without us, guess what? Goodby-ee. And yes, you are running out of cretins and twelve yo's.

2) You need to have some decent product. True, you do have some but you need more.

3) Short termism just makes you look like parasites (see 1). You need to have proper, long-term relationships with artists where you invest in them and help them grow. This is the way it used to be and it worked moderately well.

4) People in the aggregate tend towards what they consider to be a fair price. When prices are too high more people steal. Most of the piracy on the internet consists of sales you would never have made anyway. The point here, in case you missed it, is that your prices are too high, or to put it another way ...

5) You need to offer percieved value. Crummy CD packaging with next to no info persuaded people that the packaging didn't matter much anyway and, what the heck, they might as well get digital files from Apple or from the band themselves. Somewhat weirdly, you've created this level playing field yourselves by your greed and shortsightedness.

6) Good luck!


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