p2pnet news | Music:- UMG, France’s Universal Music Group, owned by Vivendi, is the world’s largest corporate record label and the senior member of the Big 4 organised music cartel, the other three being Sony BMG (Japan and Germany), EMI (Britain), and Warner Music (US).
Together, they comprise the corporate music industry.
Doug Morris runs Universal in the US and he’s often quoted in the mainstream media, spouting off about this or that.
The RIAA, MPAA, IFPI, are corporate attack dogs, and they’re just three of the groups which exist around the world to make sure consumers consume. Or else.
People like Morris call the shots and ultimately, they’re behind the RIAA and all the rest of the so-called trade organisations which are crucifying their masters’ own customers evertwhere, calling them criminals and thieves and accusing them of being massive online distributors of copyrighted ‘product’.
It’s a ridiculous campaign and it was destined to fail from beginning. But not before thousands of innocent and helpless men, women and children have been dragged needlessly through the mill.
The Big Four account for nearly 90% of recorded music sales in the US. and, “Not surprisingly, their CEOs tend to be career executives,” says Wired.
“Edgar Bronfman Jr., CEO of Warner Music, previously headed the Seagram Company. Rolf Schmidt-Holz, CEO of Sony BMG since 2006, used to run the German public television station WDR. Until recently, EMI was run by Eric Nicoli, who spent 19 years at United Biscuits.”
EMI is today run by a career capitalist, Guy Hands, who believes he knows which way is up.
Time will tell but meanwhile, the other three have done untold damage to corporate music industry credibility, destroyed the goodwill built up over decades and quite literally cost shareholders hundreds of millions of dollars.
Wired’s Seth Mnookin (email@example.com —- Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top) was able to get Morris to talk and if ever there was an occasion when someone in the record industry should have kept his big mouth shut, this is it.
Through the interview, he’s probably done more than any one person to drive what must be close to the final nail into the Big 4′s collective coffin, not forgetting the contribution from Warner’s Edgar Bronfman when he admitted his own children had shared files. But a slap on the wrist was OK for them while other kids are being terrified and pubicly humiliated by the RIAA not for days, or even weeks, but for years.
There’s no one in the record industry that’s a technologist. That`s a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn`t. 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?
Below are two more quotes from the full article and as the saying goes, read them and weep >>>
Over the past several years, he has been one of the most staunch and vocal proponents of aggressive copyright enforcement, at one point publicly blasting MP3 players as merely “repositories for stolen music.” When he realized, after watching his grandson stream online clips, that portals weren’t paying Universal for playing its music videos, Morris pulled the company’s content off of Yahoo. Once the two sides came to terms, Morris went after YouTube and MySpace – “copyright infringers” both, as he put it. YouTube eventually agreed to a deal; a lawsuit against MySpace is ongoing. (Licensing of videos to Web sites now nets Universal more than $20million annually.) And in November 2006, Morris parlayed Microsoft’s desperation to establish a true alternative to the iPod into a $1 ransom to Universal for every Zune music player sold – and that’s on top of the licensing fees Microsoft pays to have Universal’s songs in its Zune Marketplace online store. It’s a sign of Morris’ power that he is able to pressure so many players in the technology world to bend to his will.
Today, when he complains about how digital music created a completely new way of doing business, he actually sounds angry. “This business had been the same for 25 years,” he says.
The piece concludes with Mnookin saying in October, details about UMG’s Total Music, “started to trickle out”.
Total Music, says the Wired piece, “is designed to unify Apple’s competitors in what amounts to a coordinated attack on the iPod” and Morris’ concept has a Total Music subscription coming, “pre-installed on devices like the Zune, the Sony PlayStation, or a mobile phone”.
Universal is, “well aware of the difficulty of convincing consumers to pay for music subscriptions,” says the story, so, “Morris wants the devicemakers to pony up the cash themselves, either by shelling out for a six-month introductory offer or by assuming the cost forever,” and:
“This would be money well spent, Morris argues, because it would help the Microsofts of the world eat into the iPod’s market share. He has already hammered out preliminary agreements with Warner and Sony BMG and has met with executives at Microsoft and several wireless carriers. If Morris is able to make Total Music a reality, he will once again have succeeded in bending the industry to his will â in this case, by using the combined catalogs of the major labels to help establish a true competitor to the iPod. After all, why buy an iPod if a Zune will give you songs for free?”
Adds the Wired interview with Morris:
Unfortunately, Total Music will almost certainly require some form of DRM, [our emphasis] which in the end will perpetuate the interoperability problem. Morris likely doesn’t care. He is more committed to Total Music – or any other plan that allows protection – than he is to a future where music can truly be played across any platform, at any time. “Our strategy is to have the people who create great music be paid properly,” he says. “We need to protect the music. I know that.”
The irony is that if he decides to base his plans around DRM, Morris will be missing the larger truth that has propelled his business for the past 30 years. Ultimately, it’s convenience and ease of use that drive new media formats. That’s why cassettes made inroads against records, why CDs killed them both, and why MP3s are well on their way to burying CDs. [Our emphasis.] Morris is right when he says music is more popular than ever, but he’s wrong to assume that will automatically lead to higher profits for the major labels. “Locking things up is actually good for piracy,” says David Pakman, CEO of eMusic, an online retailer that sells DRM-free songs from independent labels. In other words, the more restrictions you put on your files, the more you encourage customers to turn to illegal services to get songs the way they want them.
Back in his dining room, Morris is incredulous. He’s once again talking about how his job should simply be finding and breaking new acts. The problem, he says, is that “there’s sympathy for the consumer, and the record industry is the Shmoo.”
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Wired – Universal’s CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He’s Giving Songs Away, Issue 15, 12, 2007
provided a taste – UMG Doug Morris` shlock-horror confession, November 26, 2007
Warner’s Edgar Bronfman – Edgar Bronfman`s kids: online file sharers, October 11, 2007
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