The Jazz.com Blog
July 17, 2009 · 0 comments
The folks at Universal Music have finally figured out why their sales are tanking. It’s those dang reviewers!
In an industry increasingly focused on achieving success through the 3 L’s—litigating, lobbying and legislating—it was about time that review copies of new releases came accompanied by legal threats. Universal Music is jumping to the forefront here. Their music now arrives wrapped in bullying language on the front and the back—as well as a watermark, some technology to prevent copying, and the name of the offending critic printed on the disk.
Gosh, I wish they would remember to send me track-by-track personnel and recording info too. And I'd love to have a scan of the cover art to publish with the review. But when lawyers call all the shots, little things like that can slip through the cracks.
I will give Universal Music credit for inscribing my name on to the compact disk. It’s a nice personal touch. I am all the more appreciative of the added expense when I consider how parent company Vivendi’s share price has tanked in the last year. And I am flattered at the words of praise written in small print on the disk . . . something about me being held personally responsible for the spread of their music high and low. Golly, I wish I was that influential, but it’s nice that the folks at the label hold me in such esteem.
It’s funny . . . I still have a nagging suspicion that the folks at Universal don’t much care for me, or the other reviewers they "service" (that's the industry's term, not mine). Sometimes it feels like we are just barely tolerated.
Reviewers can take some consolation in the fact that they are not alone. The music business has a long list of enemies these days. They include almost anyone out there disseminating, publicizing or just plain enjoying the music. Internet radio, video web sites, bloggers, students and single moms . . . they are all in the crosshairs of the lawyers.
While other industries focus on how to use emerging technologies to build their businesses, the music industry has worked overtime to slow down new media, constrain emerging technologies, and even take fans to court. Of course, they never liked new technologies—in the old days it was people making home cassette tapes that irked them. Unfortunately now their enemy list has grown so large it encompasses almost every consumer under the age of thirty.
Someone should tell the decision-makers at the major labels that those 3 L’s—litigating, lobbying and legislating—have never been a smart growth strategy. They are in the music business, and their prospects will improve when they start paying more attention to the music, and less to the lawsuit du jour.
For my part, I am not sure whether I can open up the promo CD. I may need to consult a lawyer first.
This blog entry posted by Ted Gioia