Technology: the only way to be a wizard if Hogwarts won't have you.

One Music Executive Finally Sees the Light!

Date/Time Permalink: 09/04/07 10:06:28 am
Category: General

Normally, I don't blog much about the war between music fans and the RIAA. After all, I still buy my CD albums used. But I've kept an eye on things, because I've felt a synergy between the open-source movement and the file-sharing movement. I'll get to that in a minute.

The news that has caught my attention is that the co-chairman of Columbia Records, Rick Rubin, has made a public announcement saying that the current business model of the music industry is as dead as fried chicken. No, wait, make that "as dead as a mastodon in a tar pit".

One of the ideas batted around is that of having a music subscription service, just like we do with satellite and cable TV now. One flat fee per month, all-you-can-play.

Now, see, there you go! I'd go for that. Especially if they had a way to bookmark or bank your tunes, or even subscribe to certain music channels.

There's the synergy I spoke of: I have always thought that since we have this whole Information Age revolution that we've been enjoying for 25 years, it is ridiculous to expect that nothing will change! All kinds of things will have to change, just like the way we produce and consume computer software.

The Internet genie will never go back in the bottle, and a lot of industries have a long ways to go before they realize it.

The media will have to get used to the idea that I can search for and read up on any story the minute it breaks, before their news show can finish its commercial break. The music and film industry will have to understand that there's nothing they can do to stop people from swapping and trading files forever and a day. Writers and graphics designers (that's counting me, too, you know!) have to understand that the global marketplace makes talent cheap. And proprietary software businesses will have to understand that just anybody can write a program and distribute it however they want. Even government has to understand that it can't get away with things as easily as it used to. Our eyes and ears are everywhere.

I'm not sure what virus Rick Rubin of Columbia Records caught over the weekend to make him come down with this sudden bout of Common Sense, but it is my feverish hope that he passes it around to the rest of the music industry. Then the old guard can finally wake up and learn that they must do the Darwin thing and adapt... or perish.

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