Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

A reading from the book of Guy

While much of what Guy Hands had to say when he met EMI staff yesterday had been signalled in advance, there were one or two interesting comments to note from his presentation. He started off talking about the breakdown in …

Wed, Jan 16, 2008, 08:33

   

While much of what Guy Hands had to say when he met EMI staff yesterday had been signalled in advance, there were one or two interesting comments to note from his presentation.

He started off talking about the breakdown in the relationship between the record business and the music fan:

Over the last 7 years the recorded music industry, rather than embracing consumers has done a number of things which have alienated them

First, as an industry we pushed Napster out of business; Second we had the RIAA sue individuals, literally thousands of them, for uploading music illegally; Third, we resisted the release of DRM free music; Fourth we did not make music easily available for those who have to pay

At the end of all this we have a consumer who, as Radiohead say, regard not paying for music as a victimless crime. The result is that new music loses money with EMI not having produced a positive result from new releases for over seven years. The most important thing we can do as an organisation and as an industry is to stop fighting amongst ourselves and to get consumers to pay. No amount of litigation and bullying can win – only working with the consumer can

He then went on for a bit about how A&R would take on a new importance in his reign:

Only 1 in 20 people in the labels actually do A&R; the rest provide a range of services. This makes each label an expensive and inefficient business in its own right. EMI’s labels will be focused in future just on A&R, so they will be able to concentrate on the creative process and on developing partnerships with the artists.

And then, he addressed the size of the EMI roster

In the past, we have followed the industry model of signing up as many artists as possible, while taking huge bets on a few. We actually have over 14,000 artists on our roster. Once again, this is not sustainable. We cannot provide meaningful support for that number and everyone suffers as a result. Going forward, we will have a smaller number of artists on our roster, but we will aim to serve them much better.

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