So Much For That Plan: Google CIO Doesn't Even Last A Year At EMI

from the whoops dept

Nearly a year ago, we were surprised, but hopeful when it was announced that Doug Merrill, former CIO of Google was joining EMI to head up its digital initiatives. It definitely seemed like the big record labels could use a nice injection of Google-style thinking -- though, we were worried that Merrill would be pigeonholed as a "techie" rather than someone integrated into the wider strategy. And, indeed, watching EMI continue to make a series of self-destructive moves left us wondering how much influence, if any, Merrill had on the firm. Just a few weeks ago, we pointed out that Merrill should be ashamed to be associated with a company that is actively stomping out innovation left and right.

Who knows what the real reason is, but it looks like Merrill didn't work out at EMI. Less than a year after taking the job, Merrill is no longer employed by EMI. Neither side is talking about why -- though EMI said something about how it's unnecessary to have a separate "digital division." That goes back to our original fears: suggesting Merrill was limited just to digital issues, rather than overall strategy. But, the fact that he's totally gone from the company so quickly suggests that perhaps he tried to shift the direction of the company and was unable to get very far. That's a loss for EMI and the big record labels, who never seem to miss an opportunity to make things worse for themselves.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 5:01pm

    .... or perhaps he walked in and said "Do the Mike Masnick! Quit now because you are doomed you dinosaurs!". It took them a year to stop laughing long enough to let him go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    I don't think Mike has ever said they should quit because they are doomed. If my memory serves me, and it usually does, he said change or you are doomed, and if they choose to continue on their current path, he may be right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    xyz, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 5:54pm

    Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    Somehow, I just knew that the first post would be from our favorite under the bridge dweller.

    I'm sure it went down exactly as Harry has said.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 5:59pm

    I guess time will tell, WH. By the way, didn't you steal that name from Fat Albert? Fair use doesn't exist...you can't put words together that have ever been used together by somebody else...all ideas come from a vacuum...yadda yadda yadda...you are a thief. Pay up: $150,000 for every time you post; you've already defended these fines so you shouldn't mind.

    But yes, keep spewing that crap, see all the good it does you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    Is he a troll, because his opinion defers from your own? See I am being a troll right now, but I am confused.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Re:

    Sorry, but (a) fat albert was before my time, and (b) I am not a cartoon character or a drawing.

    Nice try troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    xyz, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    "Is he a troll, because his opinion defers from your own? See I am being a troll right now, but I am confused."

    You're new aren't you ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    AnonCow, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 6:59pm

    Leaving Google to join a music label? Maybe EMI realized that they had hired an idiot?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    xyz, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:22pm

    After moving, Doug probably realized that he had better things to do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Snake Plissken, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    WH

    Congratulations, WH. You have reduced every single comment session here to meaningless trollery and attention to you and your "commentary." Yay for you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Attention Whore, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:53pm

    Re: WH

    Yes, ok - but ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    RD, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:53pm

    Nope

    "Sorry, but (a) fat albert was before my time, and (b) I am not a cartoon character or a drawing.

    Nice try troll."

    Ignorance of the law is no defense. You are trading on the name of a copyrighted character. Figure you have stolen the name and used it without paying at least dozens of times on this site alone. You are guilty of theft. Pay up, $150k per offense.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    he's a troll because he is the first to comment on many posts. His opinions differ from other people around here ... is that a bad thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Weird HaroId, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 7:58pm

    Yeah well nobody reads my blog so I guess being an attention whore here is the next best thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    bulljustin, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:08pm

    perfect opportunity

    Seems like Doug Merrill now has the perfect opportunity to show EMI, WMG, et al what's what in the new distribution system. Since he now has a year of "music industry" experience he should have enough contacts to draw personnel from EMI and others to start a company. This company being headed by progressive thinkers instead of lawyers could be just what the music industry needs to see they need to change or perish. I hope he does something with this, and Mike I hope you can help him. Maybe you should mention it at the next music conference you go to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    No he's a troll because of his posting history. I pray that no one can be truly that naive, dense, and outright ignorant on such a consistent basis.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Cheese McBeese, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 8:56pm

    Could it be lack of competence?

    Why does everybody think Google is so great and the people who work there are geniuses? They have a really good search engine and a very tightly integrated ad model - all of which is surrounded by a lot of mediocre (or crap) applications.

    I'm not surprised that when Google execs re-enter the real world that they find it's more difficult to walk on water. You have to add value. You can't just get away with a trendy haircut and an "I used to work at Google" mentality. I guess that might work at Facebook or Twitter, but I can't think of any other good job prospects for these people at real companies. Can you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Jesse, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 9:53pm

    "Sorry, but (a) fat albert was before my time, and (b) I am not a cartoon character or a drawing."

    How is (a) a defense? The fact that fat albert was before your time underscores my point. It was there first. Your usage of the name was there second. You copied it; copyright doesn't care if you meant to.

    (b) What is that, an attempt at a fair use defense, or trying to use trademark law. Either way, according to copyright fanatics like yourself, fair use doesn't exist, and according to trademark fanatics (consider Monster Cable) any usage of a name, no matter of context, is a violation.

    What is your blog, I want to read it. Maybe I'll be your first hit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Scott Gardner (profile), Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:08pm

    RD & Jesse

    I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but here goes:

    You can't get copyright protection for a fictional character name. A character name in and of itself is not a literary work, and is only protected as part of the work that the character appears in. I could write a western novel and name the ranch hands "Travis Bickle", "Forrest Gump" and "Jack Sparrow", and there's not a damn thing anyone could do about it.

    Even if you could copyright a character name, misuse would be infringement, not theft.

    It is possible to get *trademark* protection for a fictional character name, but Bill Cosby's "Weird Harold" character doesn't qualify for such protection. The *visual likeness* of Weird Harold from the TV show & movies might be protected, but WH isn't using the visual likeness in his posts.

    And on an unrelated note, Cosby's "Weird Harold" character actually pre-dates "Fat Albert & the Cosby Kids" by quite a while. He's mentioned on the 1966 album "Wonderfulness" (in the "Go-Karts" routine), as well as 1967's "Revenge" (He's a big part of the "9th Street Bridge" skit). He may be on the older albums as well, but "Wonderfulness" is the oldest BC album I own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    yogi, Mar 23rd, 2009 @ 10:25pm

    What's a troll

    A troll is someone who's comments add nothing of value to the discussion and whose comments therefore incite , over and over again, a futile discussion on the merits of said comments, thereby rendering each comment thread useless and unreadable.

    As of now I would say that WH fits the bill.

    The only way to stop a troll is to disregard him or her.I suggest we do so immediately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    wheatus, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 12:23am

    What if...

    Is there anything stopping Google from actually partnering on content with new, unsigned artists? Googlerecords.com...50/50 sounds fair.

    I understand this may be an absurd question, but I'd really like to know if it's actually illegal? Is there a monopoly issue?

    I'm only bringing this up because with that amount of consolidated presentation power these Majors wouldn't last passed August. Someone needs to put a sickle to this corn already.

    ....And then Techdirt could write about all the great new developments like DSD and Korg 1 bit players, as there would be no more of these stomach acid troll festivals and WH could go back to bat breeding or what ever he does.

    bbb
    wheatus.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Azrael, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re:

    No, but you have used someone's else idea and that is copyright infringement so pay up and stop using it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Only A Disciple, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:15am

    Re: WH

    Snake is that really you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:15am

    Re: RD & Jesse

    You aren't feeding the trolls. All you are doing is confirming what I said, and saying it better.

    Thank you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Vincent Clement, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:45am

    Re: Do the Troll Dance - Do the Troll Dance - Yeah !

    Please stop feeding the troll. Lets just stick to the issue at hand. And lets not make this personal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Not anyone you know, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 4:58am

    EMI/Douglas Merril

    Douglas was released for being long on ideas, and short on action.
    EMI is very much so innovative and will continue to be so.
    Reading into this as anything more than an employee coming up short and management letting him, is ridiculous at best.

    The world of PE is short on patience and rightfully so.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Bonus

    Did he get a huge bonus when they fired him?

    If not, maybe AIG could use some help. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:44am

    Re:

    See, it's things like that that get you called a troll.

    Its much more likely that he went in as someone trying to set up their own digital sales infrastructure, and then EMI realized they couldn't compete with iTunes and killed off the division.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    Re: Re:

    Fat Albert was also a (very bad) live action film released a few years back.

    Definite infringement. Pay up! I'll take a cheque.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    Re:

    I read your blog. It's a lot more reasonable than many of your comments here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re:

    yeah, but really, can't you picture the tight asses in suits over at EMI laughing out loud with some of the stuff this guy likely brought to the table? Sort of on the same level as the flat earth guys being told the world was round. I didn't suggest they are right, I am actually suggesting their heads are probably so hard they won't even get the basics, let alone a complicated strategy that asks them to ditch their entire business model for a new and unproven one.

    Yes, you are right too: If I looked at Itunes (with drm), I would say there is little reason to compete with them. I suspect the rates charged by Apple on this are lower than the costs that most record companies would see trying to do it themselves. Sort of shows where middlemen come from.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Weird Harold, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re:

    I didn't post that previous comment. Someone is just being an ass (probably the same guy that keeps my spamarrest account busy).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    (not really) Weird HaroId, Mar 24th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nah, I just troll you here, man, I don't care about your mailbox.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This