Major Labels Face Reality
There's something peculiar about human nature: no matter how
obvious something is, we tend to cling to the familiar, even
where the familiar is delusional in the face of the obvious.
It was obvious that stock markets could not eternally climb
and were in fact certainly due for a massive correction.
Yet, investors still plunked their money in the market with
"irrational exuberance." It was obvious that eight & nine
figure artist signings were not viable, even in a great
market. Yet, there was Mariah Carey, to name just one.
It was just as obvious that the only way for major labels
and online music distributors to compete with file sharing
systems was to beat them at giving consumers what they want.
For some reason, though, music industry executives were under
the impression that they could dictate the rules to the
market, in their favor of course, and buyers would just
come streaming in. You could call it the industry's period
of "irrational exuberance." But all delusions eventually
crash into reality, in this case with the realities of the
laws of economics.
AOL, as the latest to make the big splash in digital music
services, has revealed to what extent the industry has
progressively woken up to reality with a service that
focuses on what consumers want: easy-to-find music they can
download & burn without any hassles. Now it's up to the
consumer to judge whether the industry's snap to reality is
too little, too late.
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