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Lessons from the Music Industry from Insider Hilary Rosen

This is a fascinating interview by Billboard with Hilary Rosen who was the industry head of RIAA at the time that Napster got shut down. She resigned in 2003.

The take away from the article is that digital downloads brings the consumer closer to the manufacturers of the product and that interoperability should have been an adopted standard before iTunes came along. Rosen’s response for piracy:

What’s your reaction to the recent Pirate Bay verdict?

There is a sad irony there that they get a similar verdict and they’re similarly powerless to stop the piracy. For many years, I argued to deaf voices that the industry needed to do some public education campaign about music appreciation. That there wasn’t enough sense that music had value, that it mattered. The record companies themselves weren’t used to being companies that were answerable to the public. Chalk it up to the old flavor of rock and roll, which is “against the man.” Since artists were always against the man, and record labels always represented the man, it didn’t matter that they were giving the artist millions of dollars in advances, they were still the bad guy. Essentially, fans adopted that same anti-record company viewpoint and therefore ripping off the man created some extra joy, not just a convenience factor.

The whole article is worth a read.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

One Comment

  1. DS
    Jun 05, 2009 @ 15:29:29

    I read a blog post somewhere based on this interview and was particularly struck by the reference to the fact that record companies thought music stores and radio stations were their customers whereas Napster made the immediate music consumer their customer.

    When Napster came on line it was discovered by a couple I knew who went nuts downloading music– not because they couldn’t but it but because many older albums and tracks were simply unavailable.

    I don’t know if publishers will take heed of this or if they will have to make the same mistakes as the music industry.

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