A funny thing about this brave new Internet world of ours is something I call the BoingBoing effect. A site that’s a very good aggregator can attract a large audience by posting frequently and picking great and unique things to link to. But if there’s a particular mindset to the site, it can get passed on to its audience incidentally, and be validated by the site’s own popularity and authority. In the case of BoingBoing, a self-proclaimed “directory of wonderful things,” it’s their particular philosophy on the “free” nature of information. As it applies to music, the idea is that the music industry is a criminal enterprise and that music would be much better for everyone if it was free, or at least “pay what you like.” Which is how we get Scott Thill, a music blogger for the biggest tech magazine in the world, saying crazy shit like this.
About EMI posting losses of $1.2 billion, he says:
But the horizon is coming into focus, and it’s clear that, at the least, EMI’s music group is in trouble. The losses of Radiohead, Macca, the Stones and others have left gaping holes where steady revenue streams used to be, and it is going to be hard to replace them. Throw in increasing threats to the licensing division from evolving tastes and increased downloading, illegal and otherwise, and it could be that EMI may be the first of the big four majors to be sent down to the minor leagues.
As is pointed out in the comments, of course, the money isn’t in future Paul McCartney records, but in past ones. And due to the onerous record company practices that BoingBoing and its ilk love to decry, EMI owns the catalogs of all those artists, which will continue to be profitable into the foreseeable future. In other words, the things about the record industry that online nerds constantly present as negatives are the only things keeping it afloat.
You don’t have to be able to recite every lineup of Kiss to qualify as a music blogger, but if you’re going to bitch about the music industry, you should at least know the basics of how it works.
EMI Badly Wounded, Bleeds Over a Billion [Listening Post]