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September 08, 2003

Music Industry Still In Denial

Dave Winer popped this on his Scripting News site today, an entry from 3 years ago about his conversation with music industry insiders– DaveNet : Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt

“The best advice I can offer the music industry based on my experience in tech is to give the users what they want. Don’t try to negotiate. Just give it to them.”

And they still don’t get it.

“Your users want control. They’ve found out how wonderful it is when they can do what they want. Now find a place to fit in. The more lawsuits you file, the more headlines you grab, the more your relationship with your users is poisoned. The technology industry learned this lesson over copy protection, now you’re part of the technology industry too. The lesson is that we exist to serve the users. When they ask for a feature, compete to give it to them. This means ripping up the rail every ten years and doing it all over again. Get used to it. This is not the end of the road, for sure.”

How prophetic, but then again, one would think the music industry (a.k.a. RIAA and it’s members) would have learned from previous technology revolutions that have impacted the entertainment industry. Yet RIAA decided to go against the advice of Dave and countless others, what a long 3 years this must have been for them. Sales have plummeted, and they show no signs of recovering. Indie music artists are grabbing more market share, primarily by embracing the internet by providing free tracks in MP3 format and relying on the best and oldest form of marketing available, word of mouth recommendations in personal networks. Now there is dissention in the ranks of the RIAA membership – Universal is dropping wholesale and suggested retail pricing of new CD’s, and Sony is entering the online music sales business to compete with iTunes. RIAA really needs to revisit Dave’s advice or three years from now it may find itself wondering how it lost it’s members, the consumers and it’s relevance.
Posted by Eric at September 8, 2003 09:14 PM | TrackBack
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