writes in to point to the rumor making the rounds that EMI is considering scaling back how much it supports the RIAA and IFPI financially
. While this is positioned mainly as a cost-savings move, it could have much larger ramifications. EMI, of course, has actually been shifting slowly away from some of the more troubling positions of the RIAA. It was the first major label to sell DRM-free tracks
on iTunes. More importantly, it was recently taken private by a private equity firm, whose bosses don't seem beholden to the old way of doing business, and are willing to rethink the business. For example, when Radiohead began its experiment
with "name your own pricing," the CEO of that private equity firm used it as a call to action
for the company to start thinking creatively about new ways to distribute music -- rather than trying to diminish its importance as the other record labels did.
If EMI lowers its funding of the RIAA and the IFPI it's basically an (all too late) admission, that the strategies of those two organizations are not helping EMI achieve its long term goals. This shouldn't be surprising, as it's been obvious for nearly a decade now that the RIAA's focus was solely on short-term goals at the expense
of any long-term vision. Many people have pointed this out over the years, and people would respond that the RIAA was simply doing what the labels wanted it to do (even if those actions, like pissing off a huge number of fans) was incredibly damaging to the labels' own long-term prospects. EMI pulling back funding shows that even it no longer thinks the RIAA's actions are in its best interests.