Monday, April 7, 2008

Blast from Last Year

Here's an article from last year that's so classically luddite, it needs to be linked again.

Universal's CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He's Giving Songs Away

The dinosaur CEO of UMG seems proud of the fact that he doesn't "get" technology. My favorite quotes from the interview:

Morris insists there wasn't a thing he or anyone else could have done differently. "There's no one in the record company that's a technologist," Morris explains. "That's a misconception writers make all the time, that the record industry missed this. They didn't. They just didn't know what to do. It's like if you were suddenly asked to operate on your dog to remove his kidney. What would you do?"

Personally, I would hire a vet. But to Morris, even that wasn't an option. "We didn't know who to hire," he says, becoming more agitated. "I wouldn't be able to recognize a good technology person — anyone with a good bullshit story would have gotten past me." Morris' almost willful cluelessness is telling. "He wasn't prepared for a business that was going to be so totally disrupted by technology," says a longtime industry insider who has worked with Morris. "He just doesn't have that kind of mind."

It seems that as CEO, Morris' job was not to just watch the royalty checks roll in, but to be sure his company was positioned for changes in the market. The Internet was a huge change (obviously), but he seems willfully, proudly ignorant of how he could have structured his company to anticipate the disruption, and leverage the massive new distribution channel.

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