In an interview with Billboard three EMI executives give their views on the history, today and the future of the record label. The interview is a great read and highly interesting. Especially the part where Doug Merrill, EMI’s president of digital, commented on the label’s decision to abandon DRM on iTunes and other download stores.
Merrill said that the move towards MP3 only has been great for the company and that DRM in his eyes doesn’t provide a value to the fan or the label. DRM was setting the wrong tone with the customers, Merrill said, because the message was that a musician’s label didn’t trust his fans. Therefore, abandoning DRM was good for consumers and artists.
So what about piracy? Have there been any more files traded since the company decided to forgo content protection? Merrill doesn’t think so. Here’s what he told Billboard:
“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. We didn’t see the needle move at all on [piracy]. But what we did see is consumers loved the product. It was good for consumers, it’s good for artists. It gets people engaged with the art in a whole new way by getting rid of artificial rules-like we don’t trust you, so I’m not going to give you this content. It just sort of set the wrong tone with our customers.”
I’ve loved EMI since they decided to go DRM free and I’m sure they are happy they did too.
During the six months ending Sept. 30, EMI Music posted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $88 million, swinging from a loss of $21 million during the same period last year, helped by a 37% rise in digital revenue to $152 million.
I bet a big share of that 37% revenue increase is thanks to the removal of the protection and making the music more accessible on more services. Those still arguing for DRM will have a hard time working against these numbers.
Movie studios - you’ve got mail!