14 November 2003

Crimbus Outside Hotel Adequate The

10.47

Crimbus Outside Hotel Adequate The Charm Of Which Is Fading, Boston.

Out of the hotel room an hour ahead of lobby call.

12.52 This was e-mailed to David Singleton & myself by an exceptionally well-informed industry pal & good guy --

Interesting article in the Sunday Times Business section this weekend just gone about the proposed EMI Warner deal. It didn't add much information to that already available everywhere else, but the significant thing about the Sunday Times & their constant reports about EMI is that their material on the subject always seems to reflect the current thinking of chairman Eric Nicoli - It's uncanny..

oh alright it's not uncanny at all. It seems as if there's a 'special relationship' between the reporter in question & the corporate PR person at EMI towers..

They seem to use the Sunday Times' reporting to float ideas - in much the same way that a political spokesperson would use the main part of the paper to float policy ideas before they're 'officially suggested' as potential laws..

All of which brings me to the final paragraph in Sunday's column which reads:-

"Increasingly, the music companies understand that they have to take some of the money back from the artists to correct a business model that has squeezed their profit margins. The challenge as the consolidation takes effect is whether the artists will agree to sign away some of the rights they have enjoyed in the boom times."

Daivd Singleton replied --

It is interesting that, in this struggle for profits, the record label seeks to squeeze the artist.

It seems to me that there is a much more valid argument that writers/publishers are making too much money - as they have no recording costs, do not share in marketing costs, the making of promotional videos, nor do they go out on hideous tours in the US to "promote" their DVD!! And yet in many cases their royalty per track is as much as the artist.

Hmmmm

Nor is there any mention in the Sunday Times that a formal 16% EMI royalty payment equates, after "standard practice" deductions, to 10.2%; nor to underpayment of significant amounts that tend to be "corrected" only by litigation and/or the realistic threat of litigation.

The exploitative nature of the music industry, where artists are "content providers" to fuel the machine, is currently mirrored in the mainstream financial culture. Enron, WorldCom, Wall Street & auditing scandals are particular examples. Business sections reveal details of huge payments to power possessors & executives, with management acting to protect its own interests over those of the labouring hordes & shareholders farther down the food chain. Obvious conflicts of interest are the subject of journalistic commentary. What seems to have changed since 1991 & Endless Grief is that widespread executive practices, ongoing for years, have at last come into the open and are seen to be unacceptable.

If it weren't for Lloyd's of London doing over EG at the same time as the collapse of the property market in the UK, it's quite likely that EG would still be in business and in "ownership"/control of the KC catalogue. EG was a microcosm of the music business, and the music business itself is only a relatively small part of business business.

If EG had continued operating, there would be no DGM. A prime aim of establishing DGM was to create a model for a different kind of record company in a different kind of music industry. This aim continues, subject to current developments of which technology is significant. A current aim of DGM is to find a new model for making recorded music available in a world where downloading is commonplace & the marketplace standard for downloading is free. The figures are approximately 8 "free":1 paid.

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