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.