Here's a letter just sent by Universal Music Group chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge to staffers. We've added a few contextual links.
Double A Monday, October 01, 2012
Blame them for being part of the problem, but don't blame them for downsizing or merging.
Those are structural necessities during this period of contraction and readjustment. Read any business strategy 101 and you will find evidence to support these moves.
That's why we're capitalists and not socialists, we don't keep things around that have lost their value.
Jonas Monday, October 01, 2012
ELLODERR Monday, October 01, 2012
Why are you so bitter?
WilliamS Monday, October 01, 2012
“thy wit is a very bitter sweeting; it is a most sharp sauce."
Kay[>oo<] Monday, October 01, 2012
He's not a cheerleader that's why.
@melissaswebster Monday, October 01, 2012
Dalton Priddy Tuesday, October 02, 2012
If the music matters so much then why is the music industry on equal parr with the global destruction of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness taking place now in the 21st century.
The big record companies have dragged their ass into the mess we see today. Lost out on the itunes boom, they had no clue what so ever of the coming impact on downloads in the 90's onward.
What was once a thriving industry collapsed into a triopoly of self serving buffoons with no vision of the future of music.
Using and abusing creative talent for their own bottom line on some imaginary rainbow world where you never realized royalties from books so cooked even a CPA firm would question due diligence, ok maybe if they where paid a lot of money to show how easy it is to scam the system by cooking the books.
As soon as it became corporate and run like the U.S Government with layers of B.S. divisions and out of touch A & R men who give us hyped up second rate talent and where supposed to buy this shit.
Give me an acoustic guitar and let me play on some sidewalk. I'l make more money and live a happy man without your B.S.
Cliff Baldwin Tuesday, October 02, 2012
There are thousands of businesses in the world who are managing humungous cash cows into the ground over a 5 or 10 year period, literally down into the gutter. There are still fax machine-oriented companies, printed newspapers, even companies who make and sell feature phones with no real data plans available in parts of rural asia. This is big business. The money still flows. It is the music industry's prerogative if they want to shake their collective heads around underground while still in the sand and see if they can create a more defensible balance sheet and revenue stream. It was over a long long time ago, but that doesn't mean it's not a multi-billion dollar business to run. Somebody's got to run it. As long as artists are still stupid enough to sign the contracts with the majors, there will be a business to run. It's that simple. The 18-24s make playlists on YouTube and then minimize the window or put their iPhones in their pockets with the headphones on. The 24- and above crowd are all listening to Pandora and not buying any music at all. Hope those deals are solid Universal. [And then there were three.]
paul Tuesday, October 02, 2012
That's a great point, I'm really happy you mentioned that because it is rarely discussed. The predominant thread is that companies need to innovate, experiment, and sacrifice legacy revenues in the name of the future. Burn down the old factory in the name of forward progress! Embrace rivals, pirates, disruptive competitors! That's the exciting stuff that fills business books and Wall Street Journal feature pieces.
But there's an entirely different, far less sexy approach that you outlined. Whic is, there's money in non-innovation, and there's legacy until there's no money. This is about protecting oldline businesses, not truly investing in R&D (or just giving it lip service), and cashing out as much as possible on the way down (just look at the 'industry 1%-ers' like Edgar Bronfman, Lyor Cohen, Roger Faxon).
And, no one wants to discuss this as a strategy or write articles about it. Because it's boring.
Adam Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I like the way your frame that, it really makes it clear to people that if you are going to get involved in an industry, any industry, don't partner up and look up to the sinking ships. Look at what's happening on the ground right now, what success is there, and go for it. If I were an artist I'd be putting a kickstarter campaign called "Help me raise the 1 MILLION dollars I need to get my song on the radio" And what does the fan get? Maybe a copy of the album, and "that you get to hear it on the radio." I think the best move is to embrace what's happening, don't think you're going to be one of the rare one making money with the old methods and systems, and think fresh. Plenty are doing it and succeeding. Trying to get signed is a death sentance for most artists out there...
Sophisticate Tuesday, October 02, 2012
ha! Everything said is the opposite of reality.
Cynic Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Translation: You all are suckers.
J. Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I seriously wish people would quit oversimplifying this. The industry isn't unduly evil, that's business in general. Also, the old industry wasn't peaches and cream. In fact it was the old guard that created this mess. All that being said, artists have always needed patrons and this model is, I think, the best artist-patron set-up in history despite all of it's flaws. Further, it's not like artists these days actually love music enough to tough through what say... even Sheryl Crow went through. If you're an artist you need label money...unless you're one of those weird hippie types that plays four chords in the subway (in which case you don't really have much to be compensated for anyway now do you?). Seriously if the industry is to get any better we need to be more objective. There was no I-Tunes bubble that was missed; there was an attempt to usurp the music industry that was thwarted. DIY is no different than it was in the old days; it sucked then and it sucks now. Digital isn't better, it just amplifies two truths that got lost in the noise: "Artists can't play these days; and people still need the classic musical widgets (records, not to be confused with the underlying song!!!!) but refuse to pay for those musical widgets when they're just widgets that are related to music (unless they are apps). Perspective people. Get some.
Satan Tuesday, October 02, 2012
I'm in love.
"The industry isn't unduly evil, that's business in general."
"it's not like artists these days actually love music enough"
"we need to be more objective."
My friend you are well on your way. See you soon
@C90socialclub Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Pat Tuesday, October 02, 2012
The sky is falling! Oh no! Business is down! Oh no! Well, business has been down for many years across many industries. Yes, the digital "revolution" as they say did impact the music side of things around the turn of the century. Yep, the majors missed an opportunity, or did they? iTunes offered them awful contracts, and knee jerk reactions from the majors screwed them over. Think of this: someone poses the argument to you 5 years ago, "why would you buy a cd when your just going to rip it to your macbook anyway? Just buy it on iTunes!". I now pose this question - "why would you waste any money on iTunes when you can use spotify, which has the same quality tracks in digital format, but you can stream it and it takes up 0 space on your hard drive (except the program itself)?" How come noone is talking about the downfall of iTunes that is inevitably coming? At least the current format will have to be switched. Oh yeah, it's because Apple is a company, taking advantage of a cash cow industry that they spearheaded. I haven't seen or heard of anything innovative from them for the future. Face it, once iPods are dead, which is anytime in the big scene of things, Apple will only have macbook pros, imacs, iPhones and ipads. The big money they have is on the iPads as the iPhone 5 was relatively dissappointing when it comes to innovative features. Can't store a whole lot of music there can you? Nope, here comes streaming.
The point is, is that there isn't a business model in music anymore. The future points toward a streaming service with tiered payments. But, that's not set in stone either. Once you realize that there hasn't been an effective business model in the music industry for nearly a decade, you can start entering the realm of reality. Someone is going to figure out a model, or else music will die out in general, OR we're going to have a bunch of very poor, very passionate musicians littering our street corners playing for McDonalds lunches.