Spot the real gangsta.
The geniuses at Universal Music just don’t get it. You can’t fight the consumer. For years music executives lived in their ivory towers, fanning themselves with cash, flush with the spoils of another massive "opening weekend" with whatever manufactured pop idol they swindled the public into paying $18.99 for. Now, as the ground crumbles beneath their feet, they’re blaming those same music fans for their own colossal ineptitude.
Just last week, Universal CEO Doug Morris called iPod users "thieves." Stockholders should ask themselves: "is this the kind of Luddite dingbat we want in charge of our multinational entertainment company?"
Now Uni is backing out of a proposed Nine Inch Nails fan-remix project. See, Universal own Interscope Records, and Trent Reznor doesn’t wanna play nice with the suits anymore. And who can blame him? At least Reznor understands that 21st century art will involve post-creator, user-generated content. But Morris and co. don’t see it that way. They’re stuck in an archaic model in which THEY controlled both the content and the means of distribution. Well, those days are over, like it or not. The companies that can figure out a way to do business in the new paradigm will survive. Not even the mythical "360 deal" will save those who can or will not.
Here’s an excerpt about the NIN fiasco from the always-excellent Digital Music News:
For Reznor, the central repository offered a great community
experiment. But Universal and its subsidiary, Interscope, yanked the
destination on infringement concerns. According to Reznor, the label
cared less about altering the masters, and more about setting a bad
precedent under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Their premise
is that if any fan decides to remix one of my masters with material
Universal doesn’t own – a "mash-up", a sample, whatever – and upload it
to the site, there is no safe harbor under the DMCA (according to
Universal) and they will be doing exactly what MySpace and YouTube are
doing," Reznor blogged.
Not long after the forced shutdown of popular file-sharing site, Oink, DemonBaby published a lengthy treatise on exactly what is wrong with the music industry. It’s required reading for anyone who gives a shit about the business of making music.
Sadly, in other entertainment sectors, there are precious few lessons learned from the major label flameout. Example: the Blu-Ray v. HD DVD battle rages on with 90 percent of would-be consumers waiting for a victor that may never emerge.
Then there’s the WGA strike. Although it looks like the studios are starting to understand that the stalemate is affecting not just their bottom line but also consumer confidence, it’ll probably be business as usual once a deal is struck. And by business as usual, I mean freaking out about piracy instead of developing ways to give people what they want for a nominal fee.
Check out this YouTube clip of a "Daily Show" writer explaining the strike in "the parlance of our times":
I want writers to get paid. I want musicians to get paid. I want people to realize the value of their entertainment and purchase it legally. But these brain-dead execs need to meet us halfway, or all bets are off.