Peter Jenner - president of the music manager's group, the IMMF - has already speculated that the fight against piracy might well have been a lot of effort in the wrong direction. Now, he's gone a bit further via the MidemNet Blog:
There is no evidence that there has been any serious decline in illegal use, yet sales have held up. Maybe we don’t need any more customer bashing. Maybe we should be trying to find new outlets and business models for our retailing partners, rather than treating them as the enemy. Maybe the penny is beginning to drop that collective licensing of digital services is the way to go, and that the development and encouragement of new altruistic filters (online and off), to turn our customers onto great new music is a good idea.He also echoes the suggestion of Rob Dickins a few weeks back that maybe music has been overpriced:
Now they [the major labels] need to ask serious questions about their decline, and stop looking for easy culprits and facile solutions. Is the collapse over the last few years more to do with unbundling the album, failure to provide the right excitement in A&R, poor marketing and abysmal relations with retail that has led to the collapse of so many retailers (thank god for Tesco, ASDA, and Sainsbury for using records as a loss leader).I still think we're a few years from most of the RIAA admitting that they were so convinced filesharing was the cause of all their woes they forgot to even run their own businesses properly - it's like an oak tree assuming its leaves are falling because of the mistletoe, as it started showing its berries around the same time. But it's encouraging that some people are starting to ask the right questions.
Maybe records were too expensive after all.
Maybe our core traditional audience wanted to spend their money on games, cheap fashion, getting drunk, and mobile phones rather than recorded music. Maybe we had ignored for too long the over 35’s who are probably the key buyers for CDs the premium product.
Perhaps Feargal Sharkey should have listened to the Culture Show programme, instead of complaining that it was so unfair.
Maybe in a couple of years.