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. icon
    David Liu (profile), 26 Jul 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    What would you like for Marcus to add? You clearly have speculative questions that should be addressed, but it's clear that the RIAA isn't willing to even speculate (see said firing of COO).

    You say it's hard to draw conclusions without a fuller data set, but the same can be said to the other side. No one's trying to say that piracy automatically equals good. Mike consistently points out that blindly believing that "piracy = word of mouth = sale" is just as stupid and as bad as "piracy = lost sale". The whole points of these articles are to foster discussion and allow for the possibility that piracy can be harnessed for good. Right now, the RIAA will have none of that, even to the point where they will ignore what might possibly be a better business model.

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