EMI: Crackdown or On Crack

The new owner of EMI is talking tough.

He is threatening to drop artists EMI believes are not working hard enough.

Come again.

Not working hard enough. Since when do talented artists have to work hard? Don't they just have to exhibit their talent? Like, in the form of an album. Maybe even a hit album.

Of course, the new owners are also threatening to overhaul the pay packages of their own executives. I'll bet they're really afraid.

In most other industries where a segment has lost market share for the best part of seven straight years, they would have been outta there by now.

But let's get back to the scary notion that to make a better record company, you don't have to make better records. You just have to have the talent work harder. That presumably helps the label make more money.

These new suits are threatening to withdraw their stars big contract advances if record sales disappoint. Now that will really turn the new EMI into a powerhouse. Go tell it to Coldplay, Kylie Minogue or the Stones.

Terra Firma CEO Guy Hands is quoted by AP as saying EMI would be "more selective in who we choose to work with " in the future.

Right back at ya!

Hands claims, "While many spend huge amounts of time working with their label to promote, perfect and endorse their music, some unfortunately simply focus on negotiating the maximum advance...advances which are often never repaid."

Whose fault is that?

Just when you think the music industry has finally bottomed out, it hits a new low for not getting it. Then, this -- a cockamamie plan to make artists work harder.

While artists today are becoming marketers and getting more involved in their branding, most need to make good music. In the hey day of the music business, talent not a corporate work ethic made for good recordings.

This attempt at work ethic is just a poor excuse for bad judgment.

It used to be that the artists were smoking something when they recorded music. Now it's the other way around. The folks who run the record labels are on something serious.

1. The labels are losing CD sales and haven't come up with a strategy to succeed in the digital world.

2. The majors still have not fostered the "next trend" after rap and hip-hop. Why? In part because they have lost touch with their customers.

3. Suing your customers to deter illegal downloading -- now that's a smart move. It hasn't worked and if they climbed out of their bunkers long enough to see that illegal downloading is growing faster than ever, maybe they'd get back to recording music people want to buy.

The record business is dying.

There is no new trend in pop music.

Top label execs are so insulated from their problems that they continue to receive insane compensation packages and what is the best the new owners of EMI can come up with.

A crackdown on their own poor management.

Do you still think it was Apple that destroyed the music business?

For those of you who would prefer to get Jerry's daily posts by email for free, please click here. Then check your mail or spam filter to initiate service.

Thanks for forwarding my pieces to your friends.