Disruption Ahead: Top Rock Manager Warns Labels and Apple

Michael Urlocker’s blog, Urlocker on Disruption, has a great post giving his take on an interview that UK’s The Register did with Peter Jenner, former manager of such top rock bands as the Clash, Pink Floyd and Billy Bragg.  Jenner says record labels are doomed unless they end their flawed approach to music downloads.   And while this most obviously applies to tradition music companies, who have continually demonstrated that they just don’t get it,  Jenner also warns that Apple’s iTunes is out of step with the youth that purchase most of the music.

Despite the success of iTunes, which has racked up 1.5 billion dollar-a-song downloads in the past five years, the model just does not reflect how youth today use downloads.

“The unitary payment doesn’t suit the technology, it doesn’t suit how they are actually using downloads. You don’t want to pay a dollar for each track when you want to explore music.”

According to Jenner, this all ads up to an industry facing disruption. Urlocker comments:

In many ways, the issues Jenner highlights have shown themselves to be critical in other industries that have faced disruption, including telecommunications, newspapers and the auto industry.

The recording industry is awash in incompetence protected by an oligopoly power structure of the four largest music labels, Jenner says. Highlights from the interview:

  • Digital rights management schemes are a scam because they force listeners to pay multiple times for the same product;
  • The music industry has started to give up on these schemes;
  • Music labels should outsource everything except finance and distribution;
  • Within a few years, blanket license regimes will be in place in most countries, despite the early political failure of such a regime in France;
  • The battles over online music downloads are precursor skirmish compared to the bigger battle: Mobile music downloads
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    2 comments so far

    1. max crowley on

      I agree totally with these comments. The new model currently proposed by qtrax-free downloads paid for by advertising revenue (but all 4 majors are against it) is obviously more forward thinking and also solves a lot of problems. e.g. piracy.

    2. Tomasa Battles on

      Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

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