Former Google CIO & EMI Digital COO Guy Explains How File Sharing Is Good For Artists

from the oops dept

In April of 2008, EMI hired Doug Merrill away from his Google CIO position to lead the company's digital efforts. As we noted at the time, this actually seemed like an opportunity for EMI to really embrace what the technology allowed, though we feared whether he'd have any real power at EMI. Indeed, it wasn't too surprising to see him leave less than a year later, without a clear explanation at all. We'd heard some rumors of a bit of a "culture clash," and it appears that Merrill is finally confirming that in a recent speech he gave. What was the culture clash? Well, Merrill, like a typical Googler, decided to actually look at the data and found that it said file sharing could be good for artists and that users of Limewire were their best customers:
Merrill profiled the file sharing behaviour of people who used Limewire against the top iTunes sales and the biggest iTunes buyers were the same as the highest sharing “thieves” on Limewire.

“That's not theft, that's try-before-you-buy marketing and we weren’t even paying for it… so it makes sense to sue them,” he said wryly.
Not surprisingly, as we've noted over and over again, this sort of data and evidence (of which there are now at least half a dozen studies all saying the same thing) is simply not something that the major record labels are willing to hear. They just continue to deny the evidence. And then they wonder why they're flailing... Merrill apparently didn't talk about his departure from EMI, but it's not difficult to read between the lines.

Filed Under: customers, douglas merrill, music industry, sharing
Companies: emi, google

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  1. identicon
    Jeremy7600, 26 Jul 2011 @ 1:45pm


    In response to #1: I would suspect sales would go down. Why? With try before you buy, they buy if they like it, they pass if they don't. If they don't like it there is no sale. Without being able to sample the whole work (and not the lame short samples that cut off before the meat of the song or that don't represent the song well), they aren't going to buy. I know from my own experience I've held off buying mp3s from amazon because I couldn't hear enough of the song.

    Having tasted the try before you buy model, I'm not so sure people are just going t start buying up albums that they don't have a good feel for.

    Its too bad people can't return music they bought that they don't like, but I'm sure it makes used cd stores happy.

    And that's another thing.. I'm sure the recording industry doesn't even care that someone may not have liked an album after buying it after all. To them the money is in their pockets. The lack of follow up means they don't have a true way of knowing if people are satisfied and therefor if the product they are selling is any good in the first place.

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