Terra Firma Chief Presses Digital Agenda, Urges Progressive Steps

Terra Firma chief executive and newfound EMI owner Guy Hands recently pushed a digital agenda to fellow executives, and urged a shift away from traditional distribution and formats.

Hands offered the points within a leaked memo, one that may have slipped on purpose.  “Rather than embracing digitalization and the opportunities it brings for promotion of product and distribution through multiple channels, the industry has stuck its head in the sand,” Hands wrote.

Instead, the financier urged a more progressive train of thought.  Characterizing the Radiohead choose-your-price approach as a “wake-up call,” Hands underscored the need to move away from the once-proud CD.  He also suggested a shift towards tighter venture capital thinking.  Instead of massive, upfront advances, Hands offered a strategy that involves the financing of specific albums and tours in exchange for a piece of future profits.

Hands also questioned whether top-level artists should be covering losses for a broader range of unsuccessful signings, a core aspect of the major label business model.  “Why should [superstars] subsidize their label’s new talent roster – or for that matter their record company’s excessive expenditures and advances?” Hands asked