Last week, the head of Universal Music Group Lucian Grainge explained that ‘freemium,’ ad-supported subscription services weren’t working for anyone except (a) streaming services and (b) music fans. The week before that, he fired his longtime head of digital Rob Wells, a big Spotify cheerleader.
Now, Sony Music chairman and CEO Doug Morris (pictured above) says free music is causing the death of the music business, while all-but-promising massive changes ahead. “Basically, I equate ‘free’ with the decline of the music business,” Morris told Hits Magazine this week. “Why should anyone pay for anything if they can get it for free? In certain instances, it’s worth a discussion.”
“But in general, free is death.”
“Free has been way overdone, and the biggest culprit is YouTube, with their links to free sites. This has to be curbed if we’re going to have a successful business.”
“If there’s a subscription model that gives people what they want, it’ll work. I believe Jimmy Iovine will do well with [a paid-only] Apple Beats; he knows how to market things brilliantly. He’ll make it sexy enough to have a real chance. They’ve got 850 million credit cards and $160 billion in the bank—that’s a good start.
“Daniel Ek from Spotify deserves a tremendous amount of credit for pushing the rock up the hill. Everybody’s trying to find the magic key to open that box. But no one’s done it yet.”
“I hope they both win. We’re counting on it.”