The press and various tech blogs have had something of a field day with the news of Vivendi's CEO, Jean-Bernard Levy, calling Apple's iTunes' contract "indecent." Vivendi, of course, owns Universal Music, a company that has been rather aggressive in trying to squeeze money out of just about everyone while searching for new business models. However, reader Cannen writes in to point out that, while the "indecent" quote is getting all the headlines, there's a much more interesting quote buried further down in the article. Levy then is talking about Universal Music's plans to make money, and there are a few very interesting quotes:
Fleshing out UMG's strategy, Levy said it planned to focus on better exploiting the "monetization of an artist's image" which included branded clothes and TV shows. "This is what we hope will revive our business," Levy said. "People indulge in piracy but spend a lot of money on many other things that are linked to an artist." Levy forecast that "in the not so distant future", traditional music products such as DVDs and CDs would make up less than 50 percent of music publishing revenues.That sounds shockingly similar to what some of us have been advocating for about a decade -- which had record industry insiders telling us we didn't understand their business at all. Of course, it's not all the way there. What's missing is the realization that if you stop thinking of it as "piracy" and start thinking of it as "promotion" then you want people to share the content, recognizing that it will spread further, creating more fans with more interest in buying all those other things linked to the artist. Of course, if any of the record labels want to get a better idea of how to do this, they should contact us. We could have helped them avoid much of the mess of the past ten years. There's still time to make sure that the next ten aren't even worse.