Sunday, November 13, 2005

After the Cave-in 

Now that SonyBMG has caved in and will stop making CDs with the root kit, the question is where the company will go. Its credibility is impugned. Customers are gun-shy of what it might do next. Programmers are ready to tackle any new digital rights management software that SonyBMG puts back into its music CDs. It's not a pretty PR position to be in, and management is well aware of it. Yet, the fact remains that SonyBMG has to find a way to stop illicit copying of its music or a way for people to pay for music they copy.

There has been no clear answer yet for how to do this, and iTunes aside, there doesn't seem to be a way to keep people from using music for free to the detriment of artists who create it and companies that sell it.

This is an amazingly difficult PR problem because music listeners do not seem to have a moral sense about borrowing music they want to hear. I have no idea what the music companies can or will do. Nothing has worked well. It would seem that the days of big-budget records and heavy promotion are over. With the long tail of the internet that allows listeners to reach into the depths of available recorded music, there is no ability to control demand and little ability to build artists as record companies did just a few years ago.

Working in music publicity today must be one of the more difficult jobs.


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