Record stupidity

At the weekend, I met up with a friend from university who’s now head online music strategist at a major record label.

This is amusing in itself: admittedly, the relevant friend is a couple of years older than me, music is is a young-ish industry, and young people are more likely to get the whole Internet paradigm – but given the obvious importance of online to the music industry’s future, I’d still be wary of putting a 27 year old ex-management consultant in charge of the whole shebang…

More amusing still was his revelation of quite how clueless the company’s senior managers actually are. I don’t just mean their reluctance to listen to anything he says (my friend: “we’re completely screwed unless we can make our whole catalogue available legally to buy online more conveniently than people can download it without paying”; his boss: “no way, that’ll cannibalize CD sales”).

No, the music industry’s absurdity can be reduced to one meeting featuring my friend and a bunch of senior executives. Senior executive to friend: “You’re low-paid like our customers – would you download music illegaly to save money? Would you be willing to pay up?”.

This is suboptimal team management, obviously. But it’s elevated to the realms of utter insanity by the fact that said friend is being paid around $100,000 a year. Why, that’ll barely even buy you a yacht these days…

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