EMI’s senior executives provided a full and frank interview with Billboard today – an essential read for anyone in the business of music, the interview looks across the label’s revivified strategy and explores its new formation into three separate business units.
We like what they’re saying, to be blunt. The label seems prepared to make the transition away from music retail and toward relationship management, working to bring fans and bands closer together, which is exactly what most people have been saying all the labels should do.
We think EMI’s extensive recent root and branch reorganisation means it’s closer than most to achieving that dream.
EMI’s recorded music CEO Elio Leoni-Sceti explains, “So our role is indeed to manage that relationship. We have the scale, the competencies, the global reach in order to do that. So that’s probably one important message that I think is helpful to contextualize what we are here to do.”
There’s a whole lot more information in this interview, which could mark the beginning of a turning point for the once-beleagured label, and there’s even a few tasty treats for all the Apple-watchers out there, with the EMI execs confirming the label’s move to offer music DRM-free through iTunes Plus has been “great”, adding, “DRM certainly doesn’t provide value to the fan.”
Asked if DRM benefits the label, EMI’s worldwide president of digital Douglas Merrill, could only say: “I’m the wrong one to ask, because I’m on record thinking it doesn’t. But smart people disagree with me and when smart people disagree, there’s probably a more complicated story.”
Billboard asked another Apple-related question too, asking if the iTunes Plus move generated an increase in piracy. Merrill responds: “The pirates are doing a busy business regardless. The best way to get a pirated copy probably isn’t to buy it from iTunes and then push it.”
Do read the full interview, there’s some fascinating stuff in there. Well, I think so…