“The music industry was asleep at the wheel and didn’t have the balls to go and sue every fresh-faced, freckle-faced college kid who downloaded a clip, so now we’re left with hundreds of people without jobs…”
Gene Simmons, speaking Tuesday at MIPCOM.
But, wouldn’t it have been ballsier not to sue freckle-faced college kids, and devise riskier model adjustments in the face of disruptive chaos? Or, make difficult changes in the business instead of expensive trips to the Hill? Here are 7 things the majors would do right now, if they really had the balls…
1. No more lawsuits against music fans. Ever.
Call off every lingering lawsuit against a file-swapper right now. That includes Jammie Thomas, Joel Tenenbaum, and whatever else is still floating out there. And, vow never to reignite the swapper lawsuits that were so disastrous in the first place.
2. Fire Mitch Bainwol Now, Gut the RIAA.
Can the labels afford to pay RIAA chairman Mitch Bainwol $1.8 million a year? Absolutely not, and neither can they afford the glut of staffers pulling more than $250,000 annually. Those days are over, and this organization is a bloated boondoggle (don’t believe that? then check this out).
3. Get Serious About Getting Smaller, Right Now.
That means no more nosebleed salaries (you’d be seriously surprised), and scrappier mentalities. The job market is awful, and some incredibly-talented, incredibly-passionate 20-somethings would gladly jump into an $85,000 gig (or less). Skip the glamour and overbearing overhead.
4. Pressure Apple to Facilitate More Bundling.
Precious ammunition was wasted on variable pricing. But iTunes still lacks the ability to create smart digital bundling packages (think app+download+ringtone, and other combinations smartly priced).
5. Work It Out With Grooveshark.
Sure, these guys are stealing your music, but they’re better alive than dead. Take a huge share, or negotiate an advantageous deal, but don’t make them disappear.
6. Work It Out With Spotify.
Apps like Mulve don’t need a written invitation. But as long as Spotify is prohibited from entering the US, rogues like Mulve will continue to pop up and make serious headway. And, slow the push towards cloud-based, on-demand and streaming access models in the process. Why not embrace the lesser of two evils, and get consumers hooked on something that can be controlled?
7. Forget About Terrestrial Radio Recording Royalties…
It’s an expensive war, and both the CE and radio lobbies have more money and influence (don’t believe that? then look at this). Plus, contemporary radio stations have tight budgets and programming options – they can easily replace Jason Derulo and Katy Perry. And, they won’t be bullied like Pandora.
Paul Resnikoff, Publisher