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Universal Buys EMI's Recorded Music Unit For $1.9 Billion

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the all-you-need-is-love-and-a-monopoly dept.

Businesses 119

An anonymous reader writes "The 'Big Four' music labels are about to become the 'Big Three.' Universal Music Group is buying the recorded music unit of EMI for $1.9 billion. It's expected that a consortium led by Sony will soon purchase EMI's publishing unit for upwards of $2 billion. 'Although the enlarged Universal will now account a third of all music sales worldwide, company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline. Nevertheless, Universal will respond by selling record labels or catalogs if the European Commission were to demand disposals.'"

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119 comments

Fix the title: $1.9 (4, Funny)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025588)

Fix the title to include "Billion" otherwise it looks like one hell of a deal. I could afford $1.90 with the spare change in my car.

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (5, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025620)

With the quality of what they own, 1.9 dollars might be a loss.

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025714)

Kind of like when the Washington Post sold Newsweek for $1 (plus the existing debt).

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (4, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025950)

EMI has one of the most impressive catalogues of great classical music recordings. Only Deutsche Grammophon may come close. Hey, maybe that's worthless compared to Britney and co., I wouldn't know. It's very valuable for people like me, though.

And of course, Deutsche Grammophon is now part of Universal, too.

Damn you Universal, fucking trolls of musical industry.

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026224)

As for more-recent classics in the EMI catalog, I can think of The Beatles and Pink Floyd off the top of my head.
And whatever you think about Britney and co., I wouldn't mind the income stream. (Katy Perry is with EMI even though Britney in particular isn't)

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (2)

NeverWorker1 (1686452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028928)

As far as great classical catalogs go, the smaller labels such as Hyperion, Harmonida Mundi, BIS, and Naxos have the big boys beat hands down. While some of th big name soloists still sign DG and EMI, their heydays are over if for no other reason than that they don't record interesting repertoire. After you own twelve different Beethoven cycles, it takes something special to draw your attention, and the big boys just don't seem to like taking any chances.

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (1)

euyis (1521257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025864)

Looked at the title... Thought it was correct and the $1.9 is just a token payment.

Re:Fix the title: $1.9 (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026080)

Neah, $1.9 is actually about right, give or take 9 orders of magnitude of error margin.

It was only a matter of time before it came to this. At first it was the story, then it was the summary. Now we're getting so lazy that we can't even be bothered to check the title! :) :o

What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025590)

Caught this on my twitter TL, thought they meant $1.90. After reading the full story, it now makes sense.

Music monopoly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025596)

Someone ought to break them up [trollaxor.com].

Re:Music monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026234)

Someone ought to break them up

Nonsense, going by your, er.... informative article it looks like ESR and Malda were quite happy together.

Oh yeah, and BTW, troll link in parent, but that was bleeding obvious to anyone with half a brain cell. :-)

Re:Music monopoly (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026532)

Why don't we just buy them out? We the people. End all this MAFIAA crap once and for all.

The music business is pretty tiny when you get down to it. The whole thing could be bought for the cost of a couple of weeks of war in Afghistan.

Where's the politicians who have the people's best interests at heart?

Wow! For a buck 90? That's not bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025606)

Oh wait... Well, what's a factor of 1 billion among friends...

Price disparity (5, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025650)

Even at $2B+, it's still probably cheaper to buy EMI outright than to pay copyright charges for all of their songs.

Re:Price disparity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026548)

Good point. Can we start a pool to buy these **AA companies and start the firings from the top down?

Re:Price disparity (5, Funny)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026574)

According to MAFIAA $2B will buy you around 14.7 songs.

Re:Price disparity (2)

Reziac (43301) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027340)

I had a similar thought... they have essentially stated what the value of that catalog IS... far below what they'd have us believe is the value of what gets pirated. Make up our minds, is it worth a lot (pirated) or a little (if *they* have to buy it)??

Re:Price disparity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028572)

Make up our minds

Speaking of which, in a forum thread about a pedophilia case where someone got 10 years for pirating CP someone pointed out that when it comes to music the argument is that piracy destroys the industry but when it comes to CP the argument is that piracy supports the industry.
Double standards anyone?

Decline? Huh (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025654)

Their revenue [grabstats.com] says differently. It's grown. And during a recession, at that. And yeah, there is inflation to account for and whatnot. Still, grown.

Oh wait, piracy is destroying the music industry, blah blah BULLSHIT. Not that it really matters, most of their produce is as much bullshit as their claims. Unfortunately, a bigger cartel^H company is likely to be able to "lobby" for more Internet regulation.

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025766)

Yep - that's capitalism: decline = profits not climbing year after year... No such thing as meeting demand, profit must always increase otherwise your company is in trouble.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025878)

Decline is the tangent line on your profits curve approaching 0.

Re:Decline? Huh (4, Insightful)

dontmakemethink (1186169) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026240)

Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

Re:Decline? Huh (5, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026356)

You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians

Oh, now who doesn't know what the fuck their talking about? Point out where I "advocated piracy" in my post. Oh wait, I didn't. No, I am sick of the RIAA and compatriots bullshit, that is all. I haven't stolen your music, and I haven't advocated anyone else to do so. I'd tell them to read your post and make up their minds whether they want to support you afterwards.

I can't comment on your musical skills, but you might want to take a remedial English comprehension course if you expect anyone to take you seriously.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027702)

Classy, I hope you don't speak to your mother with that kind of disdain and lack of respect.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028980)

No, but I do talk to your mother with that kind of disdain and lack of respect. Sometimes, I even spit on her face.

Re:Decline? Huh (5, Insightful)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026376)

First, in this economy, 2% in this economy IS mind-blowing. I know as a musician you might not follow the financial news but even 2% decline would be seen as good news for some businesses.

Are you seriously blaming piracy for your industries inability to adapt to a changing marketplace? Guess what - most people have no problem with paying for music but the industry, instead of adapting quickly, took YEARS to react and when they did it was to squelch digital formats instead of embrace them.

Some can even argue that people who pirate music probably wouldn't even have bought it in the first place - at least not a full CD. Back before mp3s I can think of plenty of songs I liked that I didn't buy because I didn't want the whole CD so I just never got the song. Now I wouldn't hesitate to just buy that song so you are actually getting MORE money than you would have before.

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

CubicleView (910143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026716)

I can really relate to what you’re going through. It used to be easy to make money as a software developer, and then the internet came out, and all the jobs went to India, and oh no wait that was just another whinny post I read. I feel genuinely sad about the sorry state of the music industry, but whining about it isn’t any way to gain support.

Re:Decline? Huh (4, Insightful)

AdamWill (604569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026792)

"I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell"

Not gonna cry too much over that. I go to work every day and do a good job; I don't expect to then be able to retire a year later and live off the profits of that good day's work forever more...

Re:Decline? Huh (5, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027098)

This is kind of a good point. Since when did "being a musician" amount to only having to work for a year or two, and then be ultra-rich? Maybe musicians just have to work 9-5, 5 days a week, like the rest of us..

Re:Decline? Huh (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027204)

Even if this decline you speak of is happening, why are you putting the blame on piracy, which survey after survey has shown is decreasing, if anything. I'll admit I download a crapton of pirated music just for convenience sake (and because a lot of the music I like isn't readily available in the US.). But I also have a paid napster account, a paid pandora acct, a paid last.fm account, and I still buy individual tracks from iTunes that I can't get from the other services.

The real reasons that music has not increased more have nothing to do with piracy. The young artist today has to compete with the digitally pristine back catalogs of Queen, Nirvana, etc, and consequently is going into an industry where most items are commodity priced. And your band has to compete with 800 cable channels, 3d movies, xbox360 and thousands of fart apps. Back when all of my friends were into Pink Floyd for years, I could internally justify saving up 3 months allowance to see them, but today, even a Justin Bieber can't muster up Floyd type sales because artists can't dominate the demographic any more.

You want to blame something for the demise of music? Blame the cellphone, which has changed listening to music from something you do as its own activity in your house, to something you use as background noise while texting.

(smafti)

Re:Decline? Huh (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027260)

And what's your band's name?

Nowadays you need to be famous. Great talent is optional[1] maybe even overrated. If you're too obscure, you could be the best and tour as much as you want, nobody is going to attend your tours.

[1] There are many thousands of very talented musicians. Fact is you could be one of the best violinists in the world, but hardly anyone will care, unless you're gift wrapped in marketing and presented appropriately: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html [washingtonpost.com]

And why should they care? With the population growth and increase in opportunities and technology, there are more talented musicians nowadays than there have ever been in history. But the average lifespan of each person has at most doubled.

So why should people even give a minute's attention to your particular bunch of musicians. And without that minute of their life how are you going to even get a dollar from them?

Are many people even pirating your band's music? If more people are pirating other band's music and not your band's perhaps you should think hard about why that is happening and fix it - They don't know of your band? They don't like the music? They don't like the people in the band? They don't like the look or image?

Or you can just keep cussing, whining and blaming the pirates. Doesn't matter that much to me. Plenty of other stuff to listen to, many movies to watch, many games to play, many restaurants to go to, etc.

p.s. I'm actually happy to hear there are empty floors at Sony's offices.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028804)

The Joshua Bell thing is a bit silly. I'm a classical violinist myself, and if I were a DC commuter, I'd probably have run past him too so I wouldn't miss my train in the morning rush. A comment I remember from the time on a classical list-serve made a list of similar ideas. My favorite was that they could put Joshua Bell outside of a building that was on fire to see if the firemen would stop to listen.

I believe that most folks would recognize that Joshua Bell playing the final movement of Bach's d minor Partita is a pretty special and transcendent experience. However, in the morning rush for a train, the mundane will so clearly dominate.

Just a nasty publicity stunt to get the classical set pissed off. A set that should be equipped to see through such bullshit.

There was a nice article by the great Richard Taruskin in the New Republic a few years ago about this stunt and similar misguided attempts to show either the classical music is dying or worth defending called "The Musical Mystique: Defending Classical Music against Its Devotees" that deals with this better than I could. I can't find a link to it at the moment. (It's been reprinted in a book, so it is probably on Google Books somewhere)

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027316)

Of course they are, it's got nothing to do with the pirates, and everything to do with an incompetent industry.

Personally, it's this sort of bullshit self entitlement that is why I don't buy CDs anymore. I'm not about to pay money when I'm being bullshitted and guilted into over paying so some fat cat execs can get their bonuses. You made a choice to sign with a label and this is the consequence. This isn't like in the past where you had to do so in order to sell albums.

Re:Decline? Huh (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027342)

This, after the big music companies in Canada were recently forced to pay royalties that had been on their "back burner" for years? Just who do you think is really exploiting you, anyway? Hint: it isn't teenagers who want to listen to your music first before they plunk down your money (which is what studies have shown the biggest downloaders -- not "pirates" -- do).

And that's another thing: you need to get a clue and distinguish between downloaders and actual "pirates", who, by definition, make a profit from their copies. Like your DJs. But blame them, and not everybody else.

I think most of us who are actually knowledgeable about the situation know who is missing the boat here and who is not. You've been listening to the propaganda from the very music industry that has made a practice of screwing people like you over for generations.

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027476)

Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

By its self, it proves nothing other than they had a 2% growth, in a rather poor economy where most industries have seen a loss ( or complete collapse ). It says nothing about the whys or whats. Just that its +2%. it does not say piracy is killing ( or helping, or a negative impact ) the market any more than it says that the phase of the moon effected it.

So take your rant elsewhere please, it just makes you look petty and stupid ( and a bit jealous for those who have made it with their talents, which you obvious have not ). My advice is for you to do the honorable thing and fall on your chosen instrument and quietly remove yourself from the music scene, as you make the rest of us look bad.

Have a nice day.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027530)

So this gets +5 nowadays... Baloroth rightfully called the music industry on their bluff, and dontmakemethink makes up a story about him advocating piracy.

Your story is touching but has nothing at all to do with what Baloroth is saying. The least you could do is not act like an internet tough guy, that just makes you look bad.

Re:Decline? Huh (2)

lexman098 (1983842) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027544)

Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

Tip: people will take you more seriously without the bullshit analogies. If you can't tell the moral difference between stealing a car and downloading a song then you don't deserve to make any money in the music business.

here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music)

So you're blaming DJ piracy on your lack of venues?. That's absurd.

I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell

I'm of the opinion that a musician should be able to make enough money from live shows. Your studio work should be thought of almost like advertising with the CD revenues being there to recoup recording expenses + a small bonus.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027572)

Get a day job like everyone else. What makes you think you're even entitled to payments for copies of your work? For live performances, sure, but it's always baffled me that musicians and actors believe that they should be able to do good work one day, then live off that *same* work for the rest of their lives, while everyone else has to *keep* working, repeatedly forever.

For the record, I don't pirate music. I also don't buy music, because it's all crap.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027622)

Guess what? I don't care. Why do you think you are entitled to make a living doing what you love? Why must draconian lawsuits and intrusive freedom-corroding legislation exist so you can do what you love? What about what I love, why can't we twist your civil rights around so that what I love can be supported?

Producers, whatever. Go turn the knobs on a piece of industrial equipment churning out something useful for humanity instead of the dreck you are likely pumping through your mixers. Go teach some inner city school children how to deal with things other than savagery, lying, drug dealing, and cheating. Go help an elderly couple do something THEY loved years ago but can't any longer due to their health. There's undoubtedly MILLIONS of things more important than music.

Music is not necessary for human survival, and if you aren't making it, someone else will, and cheaper than you. Personally I could deal with less noise in our world today. I could deal with less people telling me their stupid, vapid love stories, sharing their stupid tales about bad things that happen to them, or other dumb shit. I could deal with less of the crap they play on radio. Your expressions through music are important to you, but not necessarily to me, and not so important in the scheme of greater things that anyone needs to suffer a million dollar lawsuit because I downloaded (NOT stole) a copy of it.

I'm going to isohunt now and I'm going to seed the top 20 music torrents just because of this parent post.

Re:Decline? Huh (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027840)

Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

Which band? You have a chance for some self-promotion, why are you ignoring it?

So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

Welcome to 2011, where anybody can make music, and where there's an ever growing amount of stuff to listen to. Your new music then makes a smaller and smaller addition to the whole.

People still buy ABBA CDs. It sounds perfectly good, and a lot of people don't particularly feel like trying to filter out the good songs of 2011 from the trash when they can just buy a collection of the classics and have something perfectly nice to listen to while commuting.

You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

No, I don't plan to shut up.

Here's where I stand: I care about my freedom and my Internet much more than I care about my music. If push comes to shove, I'll glady accept having the entire music industry bankrupt, if it means they stop trying to mess with my hardware, my Internet connection, and sneakily trying to reach into my wallet.

One day I looked at an invoice, and noticed that half the purchase price for some DVD-Rs amounted to a tax for the music industry. So, I decided to vote with my dollars. In the last 5 years I've not bought any music. Where I am, they tax recordable media, so I stopped buying DVD-Rs as well. They tax other media too, so I just have it shipped from another country (at extra shipping expense, purely for the satisfaction of not giving money to organizations I don't like)

No, I don't pirate it either, I just keep listening to what I have and find alternative things to listen to (music from Jamendo, TED talks, etc). That's just it, I'm tired of this music industry crap, and decided they will not have any of my money. No matter what anti-piracy measures are taken, no matter what laws are passed, I'm done with the music industry, and they're not getting another cent from me that I can avoid paying, even if it involves shipping hard disks from the other side of the planet. Sony has empty floors now? Good.

Only way I will pay for music ever again is if it comes from a street musician, or indie musician who is not associated with the various recording associations.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027976)

I download music. I'm a pirate. I made a conscience choice to steal music from the people that steal my money. Get rid of the tax on blank CDs and then maybe, *maybe*, we can get back to some form of sanity. Until then, FU, because I just don't care. You guys started it, you'll have to make the first move to fix it.

Oh yeah, your sobbing about the back catalogues not selling doesn't move me a bit. I built some shit years ago - am I still getting paid for it? No. Move on and do something new.

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

LanMan04 (790429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028268)

Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

That's several times the growth rate of the overall economy recently. Sounds pretty good to me!

US GDP Growth:
2007: 2%
2008: 1.1%
2009: (2.6%)
2010: 2.8%

Average: 0.825%

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028368)

Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

2% growth definitively debunks the claim is causing decline in revenues because the decline is nonexistant, despite so many factors that would lead one to expect decline even if there were no piracy whatsoever. That's the whole point. Your "stealing music doesn't hurt anyone" argument was never made - it is a strawman argument.

Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

Baloroth did not say that stealing does not cause bereavement. He did not say that insurance makes theft or any other harmful actions become victimless. He did not assert that either theft or copyright infringement is fair because of music sucking or the exploited being assholes.

Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

Less scrupulous DJs cheat musicians out of royalties and their cheating puts you at a disadvantage as a secondary effect and causes all sorts of trouble for you. I get that. It sucks. We get it. This perspective is insightful but it really doesn't have much bearing on what you're trying to say (namely, that Baloroth does not know what the fuck he's talking about, as you put it). I suppose you could just be leading up to this:

So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

This whole paragraph is built around blatantly implying that Baloroth [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominum]is a piracy advocate[/url]. He might well be, but there is no indication that he is, and it has no bearing on the strength of his argument.

You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

Here we go again. GP did not advocate piracy at all. Not even once. Anti-piracy sceptics and piracy advocates are not the same thing at all. You need to get that chip off your shoulder and you will find life much more bearable.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028472)

Let me be the first to tell you that I would never buy your music. Hell, I would never even steal it. Nor would I ever think of even copying it or mention it in a conversation with friends.

Trust me. You're not losing money because people are "stealing" your music, you're losing money because you are a worthless talentless hack.

That's why people don't buy your music. Simple.

When whatever it is that you like to call "music" is considered worse than whatever it is DJs call "music" these days, why do you blame inhabitants of Somalia, when you should be blaming the venues and the fans (or maybe, just maybe... yourself)?

Also, where exactly did you see grandparent make the advocacy of piracy?

If I wanted _that_ type of attitude from an artist, I'd go and pay to see Metallica, or something *rolls eyes*

Now, stand aside, and leave the grown-ups (you know, the people who actually make actual things for society, other than just fooling around and taking drugs) talk in peace. Kthnxbai.

Re:Decline? Huh (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028732)

Wow, a whole 2% annual growth, that's just mind-blowing. Definitive proof that stealing music doesn't hurt anyone.

Say, what do you sell for a living? Cars? I'm one of the people that's been stealing cars off your lot. You're losing money? Bullshit! You're insured! And your cars suck anyway! And you're an asshole!

Sorry folks, here in Canada, my band is postponing our annual nationwide tour because larger venues are doing less and less live music in favour of DJ bullshit (which many of them play pirated music) so we're now competing with Juno award winners for 200-500 seat venues. We now have to book a year in advance to get the key venues to make the tour profitable.

So you'll have to forgive me as I break ranks with other musicians who have placated piracy advocates. We're just being polite because our reputations require it. I've done over 100,000 miles of touring, I've seen members of hit bands looking for odds jobs because their back catalog doesn't sell, I've seen the empty floors at Sony's NYC offices, I know excellent producers that are hopelessly in debt, and I know musicians that kick the shit out of current pop stars but can't get 1/10th the record deal they could have in the 80's.

You do not know what the fuck you're talking about. No matter how you interpret the infinitesimal amount of information you have on the matter, your advocacy of piracy directly prevents me from doing what I love and providing for other talented musicians. I'm not going to pretend I can stop you from pirating music, but please shut the fuck up.

Boo Hoo...

My business is down 15% from last year, which was down 20% from the previous year, which was down 18% from the year before that...

2% growth would be a godsend in this economy. Most of us have had to become far more efficient in order to survive. We have tightened our belts. We have laid off employees. We have pushed off development that will not provide immediate returns. We have branched out into markets beyond our comfort zones in order to get by.

I hear you are hurting, but you can shove your self-righteous bullshit back up your ass, and "shut the fuck up" yourself.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029490)

2% growth in a global recession is fucking awesome..

But only if you live in the real fucking world where people have to actually WORK for a living and don't just get a free ride forever for making some music bullshit.

The entitlement you ooze is disgusting.

Fuck you and go broke you piece of shit.

Re:Decline? Huh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026330)

Guys, see this as a big win!
Two dead. Only three more to go!

Oh wait, I just found out that Vivendi Universal's single largest stock holder (Edgar Miles Bronfman jr.) and the person who made them big, now owns and controls Warner Music Group. And with them going downhill too, we could say, that essentially, it's already only the "big two". Nice. ^^

Everyone: We just have to share a little more music of independent musicians (I don't mean the "independent" genre! Eww. ^^), and they will be gone! Come on! It's the last 100 yards! We will win this one!

The music industry is in "such decline"? (1)

cmv1087 (2426970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025664)

Since when?

Eh? (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025682)

"buying the recorded music unit of EMI for $1.9 billion"

"It's expected that a consortium led by Sony will soon purchase EMI's publishing unit for upwards of $2 billion."

"company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

1.9bn for a single (apparently struggling) company. Wow. Wish my company was in such decline. Strange that an industry can decline while those producing the devices that music plays are and those selling music (albeit online now rather than physical) are at their most popular and profitable in the entire history of music.

Hell, those idiots only started counting digital sales in the UK Top 10 just about a year ago. In denial much?

Re:Eh? (2)

lgarner (694957) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026732)

"company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

This wasn't claimed by Universal or EMI, but by a blogger that wrote one of the articles. Consider it accordingly. A snarky comment may well be appropriate here, but not for this reason.

FUUUUU:.......... (4, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025684)

EMI has been the only label trying to shake some sense into the RIAA, read for example here [techdirt.com], tried to convince the RIAA that suing music fans MAYBE isn't such a great idea.

Universal, on the other hand, have been the FUCKING TROLL DOUCHEBAGS of the industry!

Re:FUUUUU:.......... (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025744)

Yup, the asshats just got a bit more leverage. It's a shame Google didn't try to buy them - not that I believe the whole "Don't be evil" bit is applicable to a company that large, but when it comes to resisting net censorship and moving with the times, their interests align with what benefits the rest of us.

Re:FUUUUU:.......... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025896)

At least Google did a lot of good by allowing me and everybody else to access a TON of publications online. Publications that would have been lost ot humanity, otherwise. If they'd have EMI's music catalogue, you'd see a ton of beautiful classical music made available. OK, I'm a classical music buff, so bear with me.

Re:FUUUUU:.......... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025922)

Google supports censorship when its useful to them, net neutrality, etc. They are not your friend. You don't want them to control more aspects of your life. You are being marketed to. You are not their customer, you are their product.

Re:FUUUUU:.......... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027442)

Is he the one who's been brainwashed, or are you? It gets hard to tell with all of the paranoia flying around.

Be afraid, be very afraid (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025692)

Fewer players means more control for those left. Also in my opinion, Universal has been the label most resistant to change and accepting DRM-free content while EMI seemed to be the most receptive. EMI was the first to offer DRM-free on iTunes while Universal was the last. On the Zune, squirting was only allowed on purchased content if the label agreed and Universal never agreed so you could never share their music. One reason why squirting was doomed. It was a good idea but so crippled that it wasn't really a feature.

Re:Be afraid, be very afraid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027480)

One reason why squirting was doomed.

Well, that and the name. People generally try not to squirt in public.

Wow, I would have given them $2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025716)

Anyway, one more step towards near-monopoly on mass-market music. A third of the way there is pretty impressive.

"Decline" is not an excuse for regulators to let companies move towards monopoly.

Great strategy! (1)

Grand Facade (35180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025804)

"company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline."

That way if the industry ever comes back they will be positioned to make a killing.

On top of all the additional "pirates" they will get to sue the balls off of......

True Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38025904)

At least we now know how much the stuff they're peddling is actually worth. All of the music they "own" adds up to 1.9 billion dollars... divide that by the number of songs and you get your per-unit cost. Then apply that to the average lawsuit, then counter-sue due to insanely inflated "damages" claims.

Re:True Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026050)

Statutory damages for copyright infringement don't have to equal the exact monetary value. This is what you idiots fail to understand.

Hang on a sec. (5, Interesting)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38025982)

So piracy losses amount to $12 billion annually in the US alone [riaa.com], but the copyrights to one third of the music out there are worth a measly $2B? Something doesn't compute, here. What am I missing?

Re:Hang on a sec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026194)

You are not missing anything at all. That was my first thought as well.

Re:Hang on a sec. (1)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026218)

According to TFA, EMI owns about 9 percent of the recorded music market.

Re:Hang on a sec. (1)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026892)

Okay, I see my error. The "one third" figure would be the result of the merger, not EMI's share. I think my point still stands, though, even if EMI only represents 9%.

Re:Hang on a sec. (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027124)

Ok, so the entire industry is worth ~$20B, still hard to see how they can lose $12B a year just to piracy and be collectively worth only $20B. I mean that puts the P:E on just lost sales at 1.5, about 10x less than what a slow growth bluechip is worth. Hell at $20B the tech companies should just pool a part of their pocket change (cash reserves) and buy the whole industry and stop the shenanigans and let people start using music in a way that isn't stuck in the era of wax cylinders.

Re:Hang on a sec. (1)

DaTroof (678806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38028432)

I imagine that the $1.9B purchase price reflects the value of EMI's recorded music in the current market, not what its value would be if piracy didn't exist. Nonetheless, I don't disagree that the RIAA's figure is grossly exaggerated.

Re:Hang on a sec. (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026308)

While walking home I whistled a few tunes without first obtaining a public performance licence. By RIAA accounting that should be another few thousand on the price of EMI. Could have been far worse if I'd been whistling in a crowded room.

Re:Hang on for yet another sec. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028534)

Whistling a tune wouldn't require a license from an RIAA member (unless a label holds the songwriting credit)—playing the recording in public would. For appropriate whistle licenses, see our friends at ASCAP. Typically, however, they don't require payment unless you sell tickets or receive a cover for your public performance. In my experiences, getting performance permission is not particularly difficult or expensive. Those rules all predate recorded music anyway. To record your whistling virtuosity, that's a bit more difficult and quite a bit more expensive. (analogous to getting permission to print sheet music, which ASCAP does not facilitate) The worst, however, as we all know, is trying to play a preexisting recording in public which does involve our friends at the RIAA.

I have found that for non-profit events, it has not been difficult to get permission from major labels to play recordings for free, provided that this contribution is acknowledged in fine print somewhere. There are also inexpensive group license schemes for non-profits to play recordings and movies, provided that each usage is appropriately documented and submitted to the licensing body (excluding Disney, of course, who are too expensive, making most elementary schools guilty of copyright infringement).

Contrary to popular belief, most of the **AA members aren't idiots. (Although their lawyers, boards, and executives tend to be) The labels know full well that an unpaid public performance of a recording can bring great rewards and will almost always grant permission (as long as it is not a for-profit event). I have a buddy at Warner who does a lot of placement advertising in movies, commercial subscription radio, tv, etc... (seriously, every kind of store has its own radio network -- so getting the right recording on the tea house network instead of the coffee house network can be a great benefit.) The big thing he is working on at the moment is to give free rights for the next prom season for a targeted set of songs. Creating a lifetime connection with a song from the HS prom is worth more to them than the piddly license fees they would receive. In fact, since all the labels do this, they will often provide some material assistance to the schools to beat the other labels.

Behind closed doors, they know that piracy isn't the problem. It's just something that the boards do to please the shareholders/owners to keep their jobs. They know that the business model, especially due to album dominance over the single of the CD era, is broken. Making the world hate major labels was a part of their strategy since around 2001. The idea was to allow the "faux-indie" labels to take over rock, hip-hop, R&B, and basically everything other than true pop which the majors would keep. That way, hipsters could buy their "independent" records and feel cool, authentic, and rooted and those who don't care would stick with top-40. The trick is that most of the indie labels are not just owned by, but run by, major labels. The financial crises of 2008 ruined that strategy and several years of prep work. In bad times, people don't tend to care about "authentic" music and just want a bit of escapism. In good times, folks like a more authentic vibe.

Reading through the comments, it sure seems like /. readers really hate the RIAA, but somehow think that the RIAA doesn't know this. They do know it and have integrated your hostility into their business models. Had the financial crisis not happened, we would most likely be in the midst of an indie boom comparable to the early 1990s. The labels like the repetitive cycles of pop music history. By placing them about 15-20 years apart, it keeps folks from seeing the patterns. We all tend to stop finding new styles and artists in our mid-20s if not earlier. Then, our children get to deal with the same ideas that we did "back when music was good." (One day, read the Billboard Hot 100 charts for each year. In nearly every year, 75 of the songs will be shit, 10-15 of them we like, but pretend to like only ironically, and only about 10 genuinely interesting and exciting songs. Most pop music has always sucked)

Re:Hang on a sec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026416)

They're suing a handful of file sharers for $10B.

Re:Hang on a sec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026836)

1. One out of four is one fourth, not one third.

2. $1.9 billion is a projection of the discounted earnings stream, not revenues. Revenues will be far higher, but much of it will go out the door as costs or expenses of various kinds.

3. In the article you linked, the RIAA is making a claim based on "total losses to the economy". That's a cute way of claiming a multiple of revenues using standard economic theories of the "multiplier effect" (the record store owners and employees, and the musicians would've spent at least half of what they made on other goods, thus helping out Guitar Center and beer distributors...)

4. Oh, and since rampant piracy IS a reality for the music industry and isn't likely to go away, potential buyers have to consider the earning stream after piracy has been accounted for - not in executives' ideal fantasy world of no piracy. So you are really comparing apples to oranges, or football with fantasy football, etc.

Re:Hang on a sec. (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026868)

That piracy has killed almost all value in the music industry? No, wait probably not it but there's no inherent disconnect here. The market price is based on the current and future cash flow from that music, if the market thinks that few pay now and less in the future and those who do pay will pay less then the market price will go down. What people "ought to" have paid won't go into the market price unless they think they can actually make people pay it in the future.

Re:Hang on a sec. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38028528)

That's the distribution rights, isn't it? I thought the artists owned the copyrights.

That's ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026020)

That's ok Apple controls them all anyways.

EMI!!!! There's unlimited supply!!!! (2)

vm146j2 (233075) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026038)

And there is no reason why [youtube.com] They only did it cause of fame!

Re:EMI!!!! There's unlimited supply!!!! (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026250)

And there is no reason why [youtube.com] They only did it cause of fame!

I felt a song coming on three years ago [slashdot.org], and I suppose it's time for an update.

Are you suggesting there's an unlimited supply?
That there's no reason why?
$1.9 billion for their name,
Why, any longer, care for fame?
(Who?)
EMI! EMI! EMI!

M&A lawyers make a fuss,
For gigabucks they acquired us,
Not quite unlimited amount,
Let the shareholders scream and shout.

Mp3.com was crucified,
For business models that had died,
It was a website that was rivaled by none,
(never ever never...)
And you thought that they were faking?
That it was all just money-making?
You don't think EMI will steal?
Even if they lose their last appeal?

Oh, don't judge a band by its cover,
Unless another you discover,
And blind acceptance is a sign,
of RIAA fools who stand in line
(like)
EMI! EMI! EMI!

Unlimited edition,
With an unlimited supply,
That was the only reason,
MP3.com said goodbye,

Unlimited supply (EMI!)
And there is no reason why! (EMI!)
One point nine billion for a name,(EMI!)
The business model still so lame!
From four to three, UMG rules (EMI!)
The big three are still useless fools (EMI!)
Unlimited supply.

Hello, Universal. Goodbye, EMI.

- With apologies to the Sex Pistols, and you should still be grateful I can't sing, or I'd have dubbed it onto the original track and uploaded the result to MP3.com as a parody.

34 years after the Sex Pistols, it was Universal who would carry out Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 25-year-old threat to Buy EMI! [youtube.com]

Re:EMI!!!! There's unlimited supply!!!! (1)

vm146j2 (233075) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027274)

- With apologies to the Sex Pistols, and you should still be grateful I can't sing, or I'd have dubbed it onto the original track

Can't you scream?

Re:EMI!!!! There's unlimited supply!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027854)

That was awesome! And a Sputnik reference as well! She's my man!

The music industry is tiny (3, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026212)

So, EMI accounts for about one-third of the music sales in the country, and it's worth about $2 billion. That means the entire recording industry, copyrights and all, is worth about $6 billion total? Google could buy the whole thing out of its pocket change if it wanted to (and if regulators let it).

Heck, if we had one multi-billionaire who was devoted to the free content movement, he/she could put an end to the RIAA and music copyrights once and for all for a relatively small price.

Remind me again why these idiots have so much political power? Lots of other industries are worth a hell of a lot more than $6 billion and we never hear of Congress bending nearly this far backward for most of them. Even Senate malapportionment can't be an excuse here, since the music industry is overwhelmingly California-based and they have only two Senators just like every other state.

Re:The music industry is tiny (1)

jittles (1613415) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026340)

You're forgetting about Nashville, TN. That's 4 senators now... I am sure there is some back scratching going on in just CA and TN though.

Re:The music industry is tiny (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026498)

Agreed, and the subject has been brought up on Slashdot before. [slashdot.org]

Google just spent almost $13 billion on buying Motorola. I know it would have been a far bigger regulatory hurdle, but they could have bought all (or even just half) of the music industry instead. Then send a note to Apple: "Stop suing people over Android or the iTunes store will lose access to half (or more) of its music." Yeah, i'm sure there would be legal issues involved that i don't know about, but it's a nice dream.

Re:The music industry is tiny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38026530)

Why should Google buy a business model that has to threaten its customers with lawsuits to make them accept how the product is delivered?

$6 billion for the entire music industry doesn't seem much but the future is that artists rather use new business models like iTunes or YouTube partnership to distribute their art instead of having Associations remove their work from the public eye.

That value of $6 billion will keep falling until we have a SCO of music that has only rights to old music left that it will use to make up annoying lawsuits.

Google is smart enough to realize that their business model is (soon) worth nothing anymore. The idea to buy them now for $6 billion is laughable.

Re:The music industry is tiny (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026896)

No one is suggesting Google would be buying the business model. They're more interested in the catalogues each company holds. Once they own them, the business model previously used to fuck customers can simply, and effortlessly, disappear.

Re:The music industry is tiny (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027918)

That value of $6 billion will keep falling until we have a SCO of music that has only rights to old music left that it will use to make up annoying lawsuits.

But that old music matters; an awful lot of people care about it, and it isn't going away. It isn't like software where you can phase out an old legacy system once you have the new one online. People are probably still going to be listening to the Beatles decades from now.

Can we bring this price up... (5, Interesting)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026216)

... next time someone tries to get a multi-million dollar fine against a file sharer? I would say ($2 billion) / (the number of songs in the catalog) = EXACTLY what a single song is "worth".

Re:Can we bring this price up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027314)

... next time someone tries to get a multi-million dollar fine against a file sharer? I would say ($2 billion) / (the number of songs in the catalog) = EXACTLY what a single song MASTER is "worth".

Since the $1.9 billion figure gives Universal the masters AND distribution/licensing rights to each song, I'd say an individual song (a copy) is worth considerably less. Buying a song on iTunes does not give you the same profit potential/assets that buying the f'n record company/catalog does!

Hmm well. (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026342)

Seems their barking about how badly pirated music and videos have been over stated/estimated if they have nearly 2 billion to toss around.

What a bunch of lies. (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 2 years ago | (#38026984)

"...Although the enlarged Universal will now account a third of all music sales worldwide, company executives believe they can persuade regulators to allow it to swallow the business whole because the music industry is in such decline...

Ah, in a word? Bullshit.

Sold out concerts. Pop "stars"(a.k.a. one hit wonders) racking up Platinum sales in record numbers. The music elite making even the 1% look conservative. Bigger music stars "becoming" music execs(gee, no conflict of interest there) for nothing more than the tax write off. And yet I'm supposed to believe that this is an industry "in such decline"?

And if the company execs end up "convincing"(a.k.a. buying) the regulators on this deal, then we might as well sit back and take in the fact that nothing will ever change when it comes to regulation in any industry.

Re:What a bunch of lies. (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027252)

Well for most part, concert sales go to the artist. Naive artists let the record company handle their concerts and take an even smaller cut. That's why artists fund their own concerts and why they tour so much. Very little of album sales go to the artist. Experienced artists also build their own studios as the record company would charge them exorbitant fees to use their studios.

2 lousy billion? (2)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027054)

Another poster mentioned that EMI constitutes 9% of the recorded music out there. And it's evidently valued at somewhere around $2B. It is utterly astonishing that such an insignificantly tiny industry could have such enormous legal and political power.

$2B is less than a one-time $10 fee for every person in the USA. It's less than we, collectively, spend on chewing gum in a year. For that puny amount, we could put 9% of all recorded music in the public domain. Wow.

Re:2 lousy billion? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 2 years ago | (#38027948)

Or to think about it another way: if Americans pooled all the money we spend on CDs, iTunes fees, etc. in just one single year, we could buy all the music, and actually get to keep it and do whatever we want with it.

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38027842)

imple8entation to

Article quote is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38029484)

The music industry is not in 'decline', as the Guardian article states. More artists and groups are no longer needing the big music labels to function.

Why do I know this? Because I'm part of that group that doesn't need the 3 or 4 music labels to function. We aren't opening for Muse, but then again that's not something we expect or plan for. Money is nice in the scheme of things, especially to keep the gig alive, but it is no longer the main goal for a lot of artists who want to make a consistent living playing live music. This is something the major music labels, DO NOT GET, especially when they want insane copyrights to your music and monetary compensation for 'signing you'.

Their 'decline' as they put it, is due to their own greed and long-term control of an industry that is still continuously changing, despite them.

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