A conversation with Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO of Recording Industry Association of America.
I should preface this, with these are his opinions, not necessarily mine!
Bottom line is that music industry has transformed how it does business.
The music industry is now primarily digital. Way ahead of other industries including movies and newspapers
There's new business models, subscription models, free streaming, music bundled with mobile phones, music in the cloud. All types of digital business models are now embraced and licensed by the major music labels.
A major RIAA priority is to make it easier for new services to be licensed.
Historically very few albums have represented majority of sales. Not so any more.
Illegal downloading has hurt the music industry. Vast majority of downloads are illegal. Fewer people today trying to make a living from music. Piracy is a problem for our economy and our culture. Protecting rights can stimulate sales. If you close illegal sites down, users go to legal ones. Also if you go after illegal sites like Megaupload, other illegal sites close down.
Music industry going forward with innovative ideas. Collaborations with ISPs, payment processers, advertisers, search engines. Internet should be open and free but not lawless. (Most of these "innovations" seem to be about closing things down).
DMCA notices to Universities are dropping so they must be taking action. Lot of education of students, policies about file sharing etc.
I'm afraid the cynic in me came out in me during this talk. The music industry was very slow in adopting new technologies, almost to the extent that it put its fingers in its ears and hummed for years, and it could be this that has caused the fall in revenue. He admitted that more music is being consumed now than ever before. Of course, I recognise the need to stay within the law (I'm an IT Director, I have to say that :-)), their criminalisation of some of our young people and their inability to recognise that current copyright law is not fit for purpose in this digital age really annoys me.
Someone from the floor who is a musician said that the decline in the number of musicians is related to many things, including the increase in DJs and electronic music and the decrease in the number of venues and is not necessarily related to digital rights.
Another audience member pointing out that there is something wrong with their business model if more music is being consumed, yet their revenue is going down.
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