The FT (FT.com – article here) have an interesting interview with Tom Whalley the CEO of Warner Brothers Records. Rather than blaming P2P etc for the problems the industry are experiencing he is highly critical of how the business is being run. For example …
“One of the excuses people were making [for stealing music] was that there were not enough good songs on CDs. And they weren’t wrong,” he said. “What had happened was we took the single out of the marketplace because it wasn’t economically viable and you had to buy a full album whether you liked it or not.”
The argument that killing the single off has contributed to file sharing isn’t one I had considered. But the single is definitely being murdered. It used to be that you would be able to get a single and get several bonus tracks. Now its one extra track which is usually a remix or even cheaply the instrumental version.
Tom also is critical of the position that record companies are just trying to exploit their existing artists and not putting effort into A&R (diametrically opposite to EMI’s new boss who seems to think A&R are a bunch of overpaid slackers). He also says in the article that the new 360 degree deals where the company’s cut in on touring profits can also be dangerous. Keep the artists on the road, and they’re not in the studio creating new material for you to sell, and the dividend ration despite the piracy still has to favour recording.