This says it all:
Creative priorities had taken second place to share price and EMI's technology was typically behind
the times. The company almost went bust in 1954 by resisting long-playing records; it was the last
label, in 1983, to adopt CD; and lately its download strategy has been sluggish.
A company simply cannot operate that way and expect a long life. Sentimental nonsense aside,
business is business.
And today's MBA-driven quarter-to-quarter strategy is not any better. A large media company needs to
operate as a growth engine (through new releases, especially quick hits and gimmicks, what used to
be called pop music) and also as an annuity stream (from the archives and from something like a
classical division that may take several years to recoup the cost of a recording but will sell
copies of that recording at a slow but steady pace for many years or decades if the recording was
made well and the material chosen wisely and well-played). It's actually not a knee-jerk bad thing
to have private equity buying these companies, as long as the buyer appreciates the annuity aspect
of the business.
Another myth of the 80's and 90's is that there is much synergy between a movie studio, a music
company and a gaming company -- for instance Sony. Given Sony's results, they prove that there is
little if any synergy.
Basically, if you talk to people from the "golden age" of the music business, very few of them were
in it to make a fortune -- that seems to be a product of the rock era and Elvis's seemingly
unlimited business machine. The old-timers will say the love of the art and business of music was a
motivating factor and if the love were combined with street smarts and skill, a good living was
usually had by all. Artists sometimes did and sometimes did not share in the good living, numerous
examples both ways.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Steven Smolian" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 4:46 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] RIP: EMI
> The sale is covered in Business Week, the present issue, as well, though a bit less smarmaly.
> Steve Smolian
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Matthew Barton" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 3:38 PM
> Subject: [ARSCLIST] RIP: EMI
> Matthew Barton
> The Library of Congress
> 101 Independence Ave., SE
> Washington, DC 20540-4610
> email: [log in to unmask]
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