We can appreciate that all businesses are free to operate the way that they see fit. The point of singling out Lucian Grainge, CEO of Universal Music Group’s statement is to bring attention to the philosophy that is a foundational flaw to what has gone wrong with record labels. The numbers don’t lie when it comes to what works, and what works is artistic expression!
If you were to take a look at the list of the largest selling albums in history, a vast majority of them have one thing in common and that is the artist had free reign of artistic expression. Regardless of the style of music, with each of these albums the artist was able to execute at a high level what they wished to express. The result was the labels having a catalog of music in which the same product finds large numbers of sales each time a new music format arrives on the scene. With that being said, when record labels offer themselves for sale the only thing they have to offer is their catalog! So the question is what makes a good catalog?
In short, a good catalog is a collection of music that resonates over time while consistently gaining new audiences who find themselves identifying even if the music was made 30 years ago. The only type of music the can truly pull that off is those works that contain the fullness of the artistic expression. Again, numbers don’t lie and a quick glance at the list of the biggest selling albums of all time will prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Labels can point the finger and complain about pirated music as much as they want, in reality it appears that “fast food music” was the real issue and pirating became the perfect scapegoat.
That leaves us with this formula: Full artistic expression + People relating + Proper exposure= Huge sales figures over long periods of time!