EMI Threatens To Leave IFPI

from the change-your-strategy dept

Last November, we noted that the “under new management” major record label EMI was discussing the possibility of scaling back its support for the RIAA and the IFPI, after realizing that many of the group’s actions were counter-productive and had helped lead EMI and the other record labels down the wrong path. The moment of awakening for EMI appears to have been Radiohead’s experiment. Apparently, EMI is quite serious about this. Reader Jon notifies us that EMI has told the IFPI that it will leave the group at the end of March, if it doesn’t shift its strategies towards helping the recording industry, rather than its current strategy, which has clearly not been working. Part of the proposal is that the IFPI merges with the RIAA, rather than having the two act as separate groups — though, the two often do seem to work together. Either way, this could represent a huge step forward, as it appears that at least one of the major labels has finally realized what plenty of people have realized for nearly a decade: the strategy of focusing on protecting an obsolete business model while suing your biggest fans is more damaging than helpful. Getting EMI to pressure the industry to realign and rethink its strategies is a huge step forward — even if it’s happening about seven or eight years late.

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Companies: emi, ifpi, riaa

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Comments on “EMI Threatens To Leave IFPI”

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Hellsvilla (user link) says:

This EMI seems to be the black sheep

If EMI is working counter to RIAA’s “advice” and EMI is the only one who thinks its a good idea to let iTunes have drm free music, then does that mean it might be RIAA that is advising the other labels to hold out against apple?

I have no love for iTunes, and have bought more stuff from amazon than iTunes, but it still seems rather stupid to me to let one store sell DRM free and force the more popular store to use drm.

DRM = less sales.

Less popular storefront = less sales.

Really… if the studios want to make money selling stuff, then why are they intentionally holding out?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: This EMI seems to be the black sheep

Really… if the studios want to make money selling stuff, then why are they intentionally holding out?

Complicated DRM schemes are difficult for the artists to directly implement by themselves. They usually need infrastructure and third parties, such as record companies, to help them do that.

However, MP3’s (and other non-DRM formats) are much easier for artists to distribute directly while potentially bypassing the record companies. Of course, the record companies don’t want to be bypassed so they have been promoting DRM formats as being necessary (even if they don’t really prevent copying). And that is why they are intentionally holding out on non-DRM formats.

Lately though and despite the record companies best efforts, the kool-aid is starting to wear off and some artists are staring to wake up and smell the coffee. Others, unfortunately, are so far gone that they’ll probably go to the grave with an RIAA needle in their arm.

Thom says:

EMI is scared not smart

You may be right about Radiohead’s experiment causing a significant shift in EMI’s thinking, but they change is one brought on by fear not wisdom.

EMI could care less about the RIAA or IFPI and their actions. What they do care about is a mass exodus of artists once contracts are up. As the artists realize they can keep all profit from sales instead of the pennies of net profit left after the industry cooks the books then they’ll all leave to sell and promote themselves. EMI, and their peers, know how much they’ve been pocketing illicitly and they know once the artists figure it out the reocrding industry is done.

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Thom is Right.

Even if the RIAA/IFPI pulled the must unlikely and spectacular turn-around and produced a star-studded topless mia culpa where they actually gave back all the money taken in legal actions from fans THREE times over, the “Label” era of the recording industry would still be over.

Democratization of production, distribution and marketing is here to stay. Social Networking and Media site evolution were the last pieces of the puzzle.

mike allen says:


we appear to be returning to the time when artists toured round the country droping recordings off at every radio station passed only now its done by email
that is no a bad thing the artist gets heard and they get a fan base. As a Broadcaster I get many such emails most i act on and play the music i have not yet heard a song ive said is total rubbish.

DG says:

Too late

As soon as the RIAA started suing fans, I stopped buying RIAA music. I don’t download, I don’t share, I don’t but any of it. EMI’s change of heart won’t bring me back. Too little, too late.

I’ve discovered a lot of good indie music, made by people who actually WANT me to listen to the music and enjoy it.

I agree w/ Thom; EMI isn’t interested in “doing the right thing”. They’re running scared. Good.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Radiohead’s experiment was nothing but a failure in terms of profits, that´s why it is temporary and shouldn´t be taken as an example.

Um. How do you figure that?

“In terms of digital income, we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever.” — Thom Yorke, Radiohead

It would appear that it was quite a success. On top of that, you have to include the fact that the album itself is selling well and the tours are likely to sellout, with some of those purchases coming from folks who heard the music thanks to the promotion. It’s difficult to see how anyone could claim that this was a failure.

rstr5105 says:

This is all well and good, but heres one problem I can forsee arising.

RIAA and the ilk move out of the distribution network and stop taking the artists money, the artists decide to distribute digitally (yes, I believe physical media will still exist, just not as the primary market), and now places such as iTunes and the ilk are catapulted into the newly vacant seat of the RIAA.

Yes, the artists could set up their own web server and distribute on their own, but that would be like setting up one record store to sell Metallica and another seperate store to sell Tupac.

I think that as long as the average consumer is lazy (which will be forever) we will have distribution problems.

DG says:

Artists' websites

I see no problem with purchasing music directly from the artists’ website. This will give consumers more direct contact with bands, and give them a better chance to interact with them. Isn’t this one of the biggest beefs with the RIAA? Some faceless mercenaries out to “protect the artists” when all they’re really doing is lining their own pockets.

Hey, if it’s all about the music, with bands making music for people to enjoy, why is this bad? There is far too little interpersonal communication as it is.

Claire Rand says:


given the chance to buy a download from a groups site directly.. even if via something like paypal etc, for a nominal sum and available in say three sizes.. high quality, normal and tiny -for phone ringtones etc. hell include a few ringtones etc on the site.

ok people will ‘share’ them, but make them reasonable and eqasy to obtain (in mp3, i.e. anyone can use it) and enough people will pay to make it worthwhile.

all the group needs to do is make the average profit (after hosting costs etc) to be enough to equal or better what they get from a record company and low enough for people to not bother too much about the cost and it should work.

make it easy to get individual tracks, or albums (maybe as a zip file or other archive of all the files) – not cheaper but maybe to include some art, liner notes etc. just an easy way to get the tracks in one go.

throw up pics, maybe some video from concerts etc.. the site becomes the ‘hub’ for getting stuff from ‘x’, along with details of upcomming stuff, interviews etc.

basically make it *easier* to get a legal copy

rstr5105 says:

re: artists' websites

I wasn’t talking about a fee or even saying that the artists offering their music on their own site was a bad idea. What I was saying is that its more likely that consumers are going to want one centralized place to get their music, (IE, iTunes, Amazon, etc etc) rather than surfing to one artist’s website to buy a song/album then surfing over to a different artist’s site to get the next.

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