More right and wrong ways to fix the music biz

by Jason Gross

5 December 2007

 

More and more, I’m seeing that one branch of the entertainment industry is trying to beat down the Net demons that threaten their bottom line by following the lead of another biz branch.  Usually, it’s the music biz that provide clues and leads for film and TV now but the latter have been wising up too, putting content online without strings (or at least many strings).  The best recent example is MTV giving away South Park episodes, all of them, for free.  No doubt, they’ll be stuffed with ads but it seems to run counter to everything that the major labels believe in now.  And as the Slashdot article notes, this kind of strategy hasn’t hurt The Daily Show when they did something similar. 

It’s questionable that the labels will pick up on this quickly (hell, look how long it takes them to adapt to technology in their own biz) but one heartening step is the ‘cut the fat’ program that EMI is said to be implementing now.  This confirms what many of us knew: that the big labels were throwing money around like crazy, with no thought as to whether any of it really made sense or not, acting like grade school kids with credit cards rather than a record company.  The danger though is that they’ll think that this ALONE is gonna solve their problems.  It’s a step in the right direction but until they get their digital house in order, these labels ain’t gonna see the financial returns they want.

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