A Radical Plan To Save The Big Music Labels: Shrink The Big Music Labels


The late Dave Goldberg had (an) idea: He wanted to radically reinvent the modern music label, by cutting its staff and expenses dramatically, focusing almost entirely on digital and moving away from making new music.

Over the years, Goldberg would offer his prescription for the industry to anyone who would listen. Now the world can see it, via a memo he wrote to Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton last summer. The memo surfaced earlier this year via the Sony hack, and some industry folks have referenced it since then. I’m re-printing here because it’s relevant for the music industry, and any other business that is struggling to reinvent itself (that is, most industries).

The memo is an interesting read. Most of the recommendations are not quite applicable to smaller, independent labels — in fact, it’s suggested that Sony’s new release strategy emulate an independent label’s. But the take-away for non-major label operators comes from the memo’s emphasis on back catalog and publishing. Too many independents downplay both at their own peril. Even a mere few weeks after an album or single has been released I see most labels wipe it from the drawing board, with no more mention of it on their news feeds or social media and no attempt to repackage or rekindle interest in past releases. Goldberg was correct that not only is a strong back catalog valuable when it comes to licensing and synch, but past releases with a nurtured fan interest can earn consistent income in the world of streaming.

(h/t Jon Curtis)

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