An Open Letter to My Old Friend and Client (RIAA Must Die Part II)
A group of investors led by my former client and friend Edgar Bronfman Jr. scored a victory in its bid for Time Warner Inc's Warner Music on Monday, signing a $2.6 billion deal to buy its recorded music and music publishing business. Edgar and I collaborated on a database for “Israel Experience” oh so many years ago. (And he still owes me a scuba diving trip in the Red Sea.)
How are things going? Long time no speak. I really miss our days down on West 4th street arguing about the database I was building for you. Sorry I sat in your chair that day too. We have had our differences over database schema in the past, but you were still a great guy to work for (yes I want something). I am writing to you today on something more important than ever before. The RIAA is the devil and you are now the owner of the 4th largest record company in the world.
Please lead by example old friend. Extend your business model for file sharing and selling MP3s over the Internet. Figure out a way to monetize the electronic side of your business. Apple’s iTunes is a good start, talk to your pal Steve Jobs. Don’t litigate, innovate. You can’t fight technology, it is here to stay. So embrace it and make lots of money. Be the first to market, sell Madonna’s next album only on the Internet or something like that. I know you want to make a splash, so this can be it.
Being the first to market you will reap the financial rewards. Right now I openly admit to illegally downloading music to my heart’s content. That is because I hate the RIAA and it is my form of civil disobedience. Create an electronic distribution system of music and charge me for it and I will gladly pay. But be fair to both the artist and the consumer, or the artist will one day not need you. Remember that as part of your business plan, for you to make money, the artist needs higher compensation and the consumer lower cost of the product. Win-win for everyone, including you.
I know that Canadians enjoyed Thanksgiving last month, but do enjoy the holiday season.