Has EMI Had A Change Of Heart In China?
from the if-you-can't-beat-em dept
Chinese search engine Baidu's been involved in an ongoing legal battle against major record labels, which assert its MP3 searching functionality represents copyright infringement. It's unclear why the IFPI and its members think that linking to something represents a copyright violation, and in the latest decision, the court agreed and ruled in Baidu's favor. We've long argued that the way forward for record labels isn't through the courts, but rather by accepting the inevitability of a certain level of piracy and adapting its business models to focus on something other than just selling music. With that in mind, it's a little surprising to see the record label EMI announce that it's struck a deal with Baidu to offer a free streaming channel of its music, and that it would also work with the search site to develop an ad-supported download service. EMI also says it's dropping its appeal against the latest decision for Baidu in the copyright case. It's heartening to see EMI take this step, and apparently realize that it needs to change it business, not hire better lawyers, to move ahead in China. Although it's probably unrelated, it should be noted that EMI last week fired its two top executives, following disappointing sales and, many analysts contend, the execs' inability to cope with an evolving market. Perhaps that move, along with the Baidu deal, reveals a change of tack for the company. What's still frustrating, though, is that here in the US, the RIAA and its member labels continue to rely on a courtroom- and legislative-based strategy, rather than changing their businesses to suit an evolving market -- and, of course, they continue to treat their customers like criminals.