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Music Media Businesses The Almighty Buck

EMI Only Selling CDs To Mega-Chains From Now On 334

Posted by samzenpus
from the another-brick-in-the-wall dept.
farrellj writes "According to Zeropaid, record company EMI has been notifying small music stores that they will no longer be able to buy EMI CDs from EMI, and will have to buy product from mega-chains like Walmart. Independent record store customers are some of the most loyal music buyers around. You are not going to find the back catalog, what used to be the staple of the music business, at your local Walmart. One wonders when the music business is going to run out of feet to shoot?"
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EMI Only Selling CDs To Mega-Chains From Now On

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  • CDs? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tenebrousedge (1226584) <tenebrousedge&gmail,com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:05AM (#28878063)

    I'm 15

    What's a CD?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by kspn78 (1116833)
      A CD is a funky mirror (at least according to my workmates)

      I can't imagine that this is going to do EMI much long term good!
      • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Funny)

        by morghanphoenix (1070832) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:26AM (#28878191)
        I thought CDs were those coasters AOL used to send you.
        • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:15AM (#28878459) Journal

          People here seem to taking the "music industry is evil and outdated" thinking route again. However when I saw the title and summary, I couldn't but think that they're starting to see how internet distribution starts to dominate.

          So now they're cutting extra costs by only delivering physical media to the largest retailers, and maybe putting that effort into online sales. If so, for me this sounds good.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            Now if only they'd distribute DRM Free lossless files online, and kick the RIAA to the curb so the artists can be paid more than the lawyers, they might get a customer back. But let's be honest, that will never happen.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by sopssa (1498795) *

              Actually they already do and every other record company does aswell. Lossless is probably just issue with the music stores. They also provide music to spotify [spotify.com] and equivalent where users can listen to music for free or pay premium (9 euros a month) to listen to everything without ads. Speaking about spotify, it's said to getting close to US release soon, so americans can also enjoy the service we europeans have been enjoying for a year now :)

              • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @08:16AM (#28880793) Homepage
                Deliberately posting as near the start of the discussion as possible to link to this comment [slashdot.org] which makes clear that this whole story is blatantly misleading and relies on misintepreting EMI's position.

                From a post by 'chpthrlls' in the zeropaid thread via the linked comment: "First of all "One Stops" DOES NOT mean Wal-mart and Best Buy. A one stop is a distributor that buys from the labels and sells to retailers. Most indie stores get their product from one stops anyway."

                Even before I'd read the correct explanation, I'd already realised that this didn't sound plausible, even for the death-wish record industry. My initial guess was that EMI were making them buy through their distributors (as normally happens anyway) and someone had- either through ignorance and/or a vested interest in their own position- misinterpreted this as the "story" that we were presented with.

                I was right, and I'm neither a genius, nor work in the music industry.

                If I spotted this, why did Wayne Rosso, ZeroPaid or Slashdot themselves not figure this out and spend five minutes checking the facts?

                Oh yeah, I know. Never question it if it makes a good story, even when it's blatantly fishy to anyone with an ounce of common sense.
                • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                  by CastrTroy (595695)
                  Very true. As someone who is quite familiar with the way the distribution chain works, I was surprised that small retail stores were buying directly form EMI to begin with. I would assume that, like in many other industries, that small retailers would buy off distributors, who ordered in mass quantities. I worked for a small shop once (although not in music) and my boss often told me they could go down to the local department store and get products cheaper there, when they were on sale, then buying them d
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by samriel (1456543)

                so americans can also enjoy the service we europeans have been enjoying for a year now :)

                Us Yanks already have Jango, last.fm, Pandora, etc. Spotify may be better, but I'd say we can get by for now.

          • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Funny)

            by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:41AM (#28878615) Homepage Journal

            Exactly! And now that they're cutting manufacturing and finally realizing the huge economic benefit of not having to produce and ship physical product, they're gonna drastically lower the price of downloads to reflect the drastically lower real cost of them! We all win!

            wait.. what? what do you mean no?

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mathx314 (1365325)

            So now they're cutting extra costs by only delivering physical media to the largest retailers, and maybe putting that effort into online sales. If so, for me this sounds good

            Y'know, a year ago I would've agreed with you. But in that year I went off to college and discovered a wonderful little record store just off campus. Prior to this, the only places I ever got music were iTunes, my friends, and The Pirate Bay. I'm going to assume that's the case with you, that you've never been to a really good recor

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by rbrausse (1319883)

          hey - he is 15. don't overstrain him with ancient relics like AOL

    • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Itninja (937614) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:45AM (#28878293) Homepage
      It's a Certificate of Deposit (ask your parents for details). I am still befuddled what this fiduciary tool has to do with EMI...maybe they are going bankrupt.
    • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wowsers (1151731) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:16AM (#28878463) Journal

      CD or compact disc is a physical medium that has spun off from the development of Laserdisc.

      The audio CD has increasingly been sold in standards breaking versions with record companies pretending they are genuine Red Book Standard CDs. These fake audio CD's that the music industry has flooded the market with are used to distribute computer rootkits, or other Windows targeting malware hidden with music.

      Music CDs are increasingly being marketed as remastered, this is usually a clue that the CD is basterdised in sound quality thanks to music industry obsession with loudness, making music completely unlistenable and giving ear ache in very short order. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudness_war [wikipedia.org]

      • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @07:38AM (#28880429) Homepage Journal

        Music CDs are increasingly being marketed as remastered, this is usually a clue that the CD is basterdised in sound quality thanks to music industry obsession with loudness

        Older ones that were originally on analog are being re-remastered (if they weren't already) because when they put the analog music on CD, they remixed the multitrack analog, and a lot of the early ones were poorly done. It's a rare album that's sucessfully mixed as well as the LP, or mixed faithfully.

        When CDs first came out I salivated for a player (they were very expensive then and I was poor), especially wanting a digital version of Dark Side of the Moon. When they became affordable and I bought one, that was the first CD I bought.

        I was very disappointed.

        It's a bit of an irony that they go for "loud". CDs have a superior dynamic range than LPs, yet going for "loud" wastes this. Back in the analog days the engineers strived for dynamics, and many titles used dynamic range for artistry - The above mentioned album is an example, as is Boston's first album, as is Santanna's Abraxis.

    • Re:CDs? (Score:5, Funny)

      by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:19AM (#28878491)

      What you burn your music to after you get it from bittorrent, if you want to back it up or make a mix for a friend.

    • by antic (29198)

      Shaun Micallef (Australian comedian) recently intro'ed a TV show "Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation" with something roughly as follows.

      "In 1979, the CD or Compact Disc was invented, and none too soon: it finally provided a use for CD Towers which had been invented 20 years prior."

    • by xaxa (988988)

      It's something old people buy, claiming that the sound quality is better than a music download. Unfortunately, their ears are wrecked from listening to too many of them, so they can't tell the difference anyway. The only people who can tell the difference are teenagers, but unfortunately they can't afford to buy CDs.

      (And thanks for making me feel old, even though I'm only 8 years older than you. For some reason (apart from the better sound quality, which I can still hear) I still like having CDs, even thoug

    • by Angstroem (692547)

      A CD is a data carrier on which the audio data is typically stored in way less corrupted way than the Generation MP3 is used to consume.

      Maybe my ears differ just enough from the average physical model, but listening to MP3 for longer time makes me dizzy -- and I see no point in buying artificially crippled audio.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:05AM (#28878067)

    It's been years since they stopped wanting my business. It's about times these stores stopped getting special treatment. Customers are overrated anyway.

  • What the hell? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:06AM (#28878073) Journal
    I'm obviously missing something here, how can this business model work when you're reducing your customer base? I realise that Walmart has the buying power but if they've paid for some sort of exclusivity deal then surely that adds expense back into their purchases unnecessarily?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LKM (227954)
      Presumably, one explanation would be that the profit from the smaller stores that it is smaller than the administrative cost of sending them CDs. They could ask for more money, I guess, but perhaps they just don't want the administrative overhead.
    • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:31AM (#28878219) Journal

      I'm obviously missing something here, how can this business model work when you're reducing your customer base?

      Ever hear of the 80:20 rule?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle [wikipedia.org]
      "roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes"

      Hypothetically speaking, if 80% of the sales come from 20% of the retailers,
      then you can cut your logistics costs by dropping the underperforming 80% of retailers.

      I say "hypothetical" because we don't know EMI's real #s,
      and I realize it's not going to be a popular opinion, but
      if cutting 80% of retailers leads to more than a 20% reduction in costs...

      This had to be a high level decision and I'm guessing the bean counters won.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        I say "hypothetical" because we don't know EMI's real #s,

        We do, however, have a pretty good idea of the general standard of their products. It would be trite to say "...and nothing of value was lost", but it would also be largely true.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I think it's over-reliance on rules like that leads to companies like EMI doing silly things to begin with. It's the same reason why Microsoft are doing so poorly at the moment while Apple is actually doing well despite everything else. It's as if they're operating their business by treating it like some kind of machine and trying to understand it's separate parts and systems, rather than developing a more realistic overall view of the industry (perhaps like Steve Jobs).

        • MS is doing poorly? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:56AM (#28878927)

          Is this based on real data, or stuff you made up?

          Looking at MS they have a P/E of 14.7, making their stock price low (20 is pretty normal). They have a 25% profit margin, cash way in excess of debt, and a 40% ROE. How is this "doing so poorly?" They are making tons of money, DESPITE the recession. They are not one of the tech companies in the red, and many are these days.

          Yes, Apple is also doing great, however that doesn't mean MS is doing bad. They both can succeed, and are it seems.

          Please let's try to keep facts straight here. "Doing bad," in the business world would mean that your company is having some real financial trouble. AMD is doing bad. They are losing money left and right, and were even before the downturn. Thus there is worry if they'll be able to stay in business. That is doing bad. Making a profit, and a healthy one at that, in a recession is not doing bad, that is doing great.

      • by jhol13 (1087781)

        if cutting 80% of retailers leads to more than a 20% reduction in costs...

        It still wouldn't make sense - in the long run. It might make sense if there were no competition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 91degrees (207121)
      What will end up happening is a distribution organisation will be set up (or one of the mega-stores will set one up), that will buy in bulk and take on the costs of dealing with small orders themselves.

      It's rather a shame for the small businesses who will end up paying for this, but I guess that's how business works.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by SepticPig (444148)

        Exactly, this is what already happens in other markets.

        A wholesaler that already distributes Tshirts, posters, joss sticks etc will take on this role.

        Upside for the supplier is they only deal in bulk.
        Upside for the retailer is that they can now combine their CD orders with the Tshirt etc orders to meet minimum order values and be able to order more frequently.

        It may cost the retailer a little more but that has to be weighed against the ability to reorder more often, from a stock aspect, the benefits of this

        • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

          by RDW (41497) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:18AM (#28878789)

          'Exactly, this is what already happens in other markets.'

          This is what already happens in the music industry. The zeropaid author has misinterpreted the original waynerosso article (which itself seems to be over-hyping the situation - see some of the replies to the post):

          http://www.waynerosso.com/2009/06/30/emi-to-mom-pops-eat-cake/ [waynerosso.com]

          This only states that EMI wants the independents to purchase from 'one stops' rather than directly from EMI. These 'one stops' are one stop wholesale distributors, not one stop retail stores like Walmart.

          From a post by 'chpthrlls' in the zeropaid thread:

          "this really isn't such a big deal. First of all "One Stops" DOES NOT mean Wal-mart and Best Buy. A one stop is a distributor that buys from the labels and sells to retailers. Most indie stores get their product from one stops anyway. Some labels do sell directly to larger indie stores that have a large volume, but this, and only this, is what EMI is halting. I should know, as I am an indie retailer. We have always used a one stop distributor, and will continue to do so. And F*CK Wal-mart!"

          From Jason Hughes in the waynerosso thread:

          "This is sort of a false story. EMI closed a few accounts that were doing minimal orders. No stores in Seattle, or in our coalition for that matter, were closed. The ones that were closed got 3 months written notice. I'm not sure where Wayne is getting his info but he should fact check it."

          From 'jack' in the waynerosso thread:

          "Wayne's post is inaccurate. Every year, all the labels take a look at their accounts and make changes. I know people at EMI and know EMI sent letters (back in February) to a handful of small physical retailers -- we're talking a fraction of a percent of their physical accounts -- and informed them they'd need to go through one-stops for product. They gave them months and months of notice and a list of options for one stops. They didn't just call them last minute as Wayne claims."

    • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by maxwell demon (590494) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:48AM (#28878311) Journal

      Probably more important: Why would an aspiring artist go to EMI and have a limited reach when he could as well go to some competitor and be sold also to customers of small music shops? The loss of small music shop customers may not directly hurt EMI (otherwise they wouldn't have done this), but a loss of content to sell will probably hurt them. And it will not be obvious until the current hot stars are not hot anymore, and the new hot stars are with different labels. And then it's too late.

      I personally think it's a bad business move. If I had EMI stock, now I would sell.

      • Re:What the hell? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thesp (307649) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:08AM (#28878419)

        Because often, aspiring artists are not being courted by many labels simultaneously. Remember, most in the music business are looking, and perpetually waiting, for their "big break" - a major label offering them a contract. No-one will turn down a label because they think they'll do better with another. Labels are not a service industry for musicians. Musicians are raw material for the labels' products.

      • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:35AM (#28878571)

        Why would an aspiring artist go to EMI and have a limited reach when he could as well go to some competitor and be sold also to customers of small music shops?

        As a long-time musical artist & bandmember myself, I can tell you why. Most don't know any better. Most bands and artists are so desperate to "make it" that any label showing interest in them is considered as being offered the gold ring. They're sick and tired of playing dumpy bars and clubs and making $50-$75 a night, two or three nights a week, four sets a night. That's if they can actually stay booked steadily.

        One of the things that being signed gets you is that it opens up a whole new level of venues to play, with a whole lot more money. A band goes from a few hundreds of dollars a show to two or three thousand. Billboards and radio ads go up ahead of their appearances, and crowds increase. Merch sales skyrocket.

        The fact that the label that's offering them a contract doesn't distribute to independent record stores doesn't even enter the picture to their thinking.

        Again, that's not all musicians/bands/artists, but most that I've encountered in my many years in "the biz".

        Strat

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:58AM (#28878933)

          You lie! Slashdot reliably informs me that it is fine to pirate music whenever I feel like it, because musicians should make their money from live performances yadda yadda Beethoven yadda yadda player piano lawsuits yadda yadda.

          Now you're saying that doing live performances is very low-earning and doesn't provide a decent income unless you are famous enough to be already filling stadiums. That is just un-possible. Slashdot readers are famous for expertise in business management (which as we know is a lame activity done by jerks that is nowhere near as difficult or intellectual as installing software patches or writing v23332 of the companies timesheet software).

          • Re:What the hell? (Score:5, Informative)

            by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @08:42AM (#28881159)

            You lie! Slashdot reliably informs me that it is fine to pirate music whenever I feel like it, because musicians should make their money from live performances yadda yadda Beethoven yadda yadda player piano lawsuits yadda yadda.

            Now you're saying that doing live performances is very low-earning and doesn't provide a decent income unless you are famous enough to be already filling stadiums. That is just un-possible. Slashdot readers are famous for expertise in business management (which as we know is a lame activity done by jerks that is nowhere near as difficult or intellectual as installing software patches or writing v23332 of the companies timesheet software).

            I know that you're being facetious, but I'll reply.

            Live performances are still the best income-generators for most bands, signed or unsigned.

            It's just that being signed opens up a whole new level of venues and opportunities that are out of reach for unsigned bands. Booking agents that handle the larger, more famous and lucrative venues won't touch an unsigned band/artist, regardless of how talented they may be.

            Gigging as an unsigned band is much like living like a poorer college student. There's a lot of Ramen noodles in the diet. :)

            The average signed act (not the top one-half of one percent of signed acts that become truly famous) still only makes $2K-$3K on average per performance. After expenses that go along with a top-shelf touring band, that still doesn't leave much.

            I'd love to have my bands' CDs "pirated" across the world! The promotional value would be tremendous! Even if my band were to be signed, I still would be fine with people "pirating" our CDs as royalties after the Hollywood accounting used by labels means that CD sales would still only account for a very small percentage of income. This leaves live performances and merch sales as still being the lions'-share of a bands' income, whether they are signed with a label or not.

            I view "pirating" of my bands' music to be an invaluable source of viral marketing, regardless of if we were signed or not.

            Strat

        • by jimicus (737525)

          How true do you reckon the arguments made by the likes of Courtney Cox about how the "gold ring" isn't such a great deal are, in general terms?

    • by SeaFox (739806)

      What's funny to me personally is that a number of years ago I stopped buying music at Wal-Mart because I mad at them for only selling "sanitized" music, and not always labeling it clearly saying so.

      So I guess now EMI will never sell another CD to me again.

  • Meet bullet

    What a bunch of numpties

  • by kawabago (551139) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:07AM (#28878077)
    They're out of feet, that was an EMI gonad.
  • by fyoder (857358) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:07AM (#28878085) Homepage Journal

    EMI is one of the big four RIAA member labels, along with Sony, Universal, and Warner. I stopped buying their shite ages ago, and I don't really care if I'm not buying it from a little store or a big one.

    • by fishbowl (7759) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:59AM (#28878365)

      I stopped buying EMI products the day the Harry Fox Agency accused me of being a criminal for putting my own work on the web.

      Not only did I stop buying things from this company, I went from being an *avid* collector to them being *dead to me* and unlike some others, I never looked back.

      At the same time, I started discovering independent music, *many* genres with artists who are far more interested in getting their message out than getting a 1/16th cent royalty from you. Many of these artists benefit from being discovered -- not by a record producer but by YOU, the person who might become a fan after listening, and who might actually attend a concert, not at a megastadium but at a club or a festival.

      I don't really care what EMI does, or doesn't do. They are dead to me, and I do not believe in ghosts.

    • Now we can feel even more superior about where we don't buy it: Walmart!

  • Legal? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:07AM (#28878091) Homepage

    Is it even legal to only sell to certain customers and not others based on size of business?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      I'm pretty sure that it falls under right to decline business. My understanding (not that involved mind you) is that the rules are basically limited to some fairly obvious racial/gender/etc discrimination that can't happen and anti trust monopoly stuff. As bad as things are, one record label is most definitly not anyone's definition of a monopoly, so it looks to me like they are perfectly within their rights. Now what would possess them to do it I have no idea.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        I'm pretty sure that it falls under right to decline business.

        Yep, at least in Australia, UK and US. This law is occasionally overruled if the company is a monopoly or the only source of something (in which case it the government normally gets it made by someone else under license). Smaller businesses may be able to start a class action or some similar large civil suit but this is not illegal.

    • by wbren (682133)

      How many "In Soviet Russia..." jokes will this generate? I'm taking bets...

  • by Lucky_Luke(void) (1608153) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:11AM (#28878109)
    Prosecuting file-sharers gives better revenue than selling music. No transportation/storage/etc.. overhead, Just some greedy lawyers to be paid.
    • Prosecuting file-sharers gives better revenue than selling music.

      Hey, you know what'd be great? If they didn't have a revenue stream like that. Y'know, if there were no pirates out there to prosecute. Then they'd be forced to work on their music instead!

      Ah, a world without piracy. That would be nice.

  • Artists involved... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gothic_Walrus (692125) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:11AM (#28878111) Journal

    From EMI's website [emi.com]:

    New Music finds and develops new, exciting and successful music. Its record labels include Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note, Capitol, Capitol Nashville, EMI Classics, EMI CMG, EMI Records, EMI Televisa Music, Manhattan, Mute, Parlophone and Virgin. Artists on EMI labels include Lily Allen, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Depeche Mode, Doves, Gorillaz, Iron Maiden, Norah Jones, Massive Attack, Kylie Minogue, Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Queen, Sir Simon Rattle, 30 Seconds To Mars, KT Tunstall, Keith Urban and Robbie Williams, as well as international artists such as Amaral (Spain), Camille (France), Empire of the Sun (Australia), Tiziano Ferro (Italy), Flex (Mexico), LaFee (Germany) and Utada Hikaru (Japan).

    Catalogue maximises the value of EMI's historic and extensive music assets. Seminal albums in EMI Music's catalogue include Hunky Dory and Aladdin Sane (David Bowie), Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (The Beatles), Pet Sounds (Beach Boys), A Rush Of Blood To The Head (Coldplay), Birth Of The Cool (Miles Davis), Come Away With Me (Norah Jones), Dark Side Of The Moon and The Wall (Pink Floyd), A Night At The Opera (Queen), OK Computer (Radiohead) and Songs For Swingin' Lovers (Frank Sinatra). EMI Music's Catalogue division also owns and runs the world-renowned recording studios Abbey Road in London and Capitol Studios in Los Angeles.

    There's also this page [emi.com], with a more complete listing of artists.

    EMI's catalog includes some of the arguably best albums of all time, and some of the most popular current artists. I don't see any way how this will end well.

    • by hemp (36945)

      there is no reason why e.m.i.
      i tell you it was all a frame e.m.i.
      they only did it 'cos of fame e.m.i.
      i do not need the pressure e.m.i.
      i can't stand those useless fools e.m.i.
      unlimited supply e.m.i.
      hallo e.m.i. goodbye a & m

      -Sex Pistols

  • Well, no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:12AM (#28878115) Homepage Journal

    You are not going to find the back catalog, what used to be the staple of the music business, at your local Walmart.

    Well, no. But you won't find the vast majority of that at specialist retailers either, they don't have the space. They would order it for you, but everyone knows its easier (and frequently cheaper) to get it from amazon or their ilk. The web retailer own that long-tail retail space, and that's not going to change.

    Specialist records stores will have to survive solely on the quality of information and advice their staff can provide -- it's their only market advantage.

  • Well at least this will give Slashdot to justify their pirating ways.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:23AM (#28878169) Homepage Journal

    ... if it only wasn't for the customers.

    This is the motto for the music industry these days. Do everything possible to minimize the number of customers you have to deal with, I can only assume they don't like having customers.

    • by msimm (580077)

      Maybe this is just the death of physical media. It's massively expensive to produce and push all this landfill material around. The CD even now is a relic. A generational gap. Obviously they aren't going away right now, but this could signal EMI beginning the inevitable change from physical media to digital. Perhaps physical media (disks, whatever becomes popular next) will be relegated to collectors and fans much like records or concert t-shirts are today. They can be attractive and can make nice mementos,

  • by geekboy642 (799087) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:24AM (#28878181) Journal

    Now, when I look for music at my local store, I'll have a higher chance of accidentally finding a non-RIAA CD to take home. C'mon Sony, you go next. Make my store a better filter, it's annoying searching RIAA Radar for everything I want to buy.

  • by schizz69 (1239560) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:27AM (#28878197) Journal
    It is motions like this which lead otherwise paying customers to pirate music that they just cannot find at big chains, as they are not 'Mainstream enough'. Well done EMI, you have just inadvertently promoted piracy.
  • by wbren (682133) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:35AM (#28878247) Homepage

    From the summary:

    Independent Record store customers are some of the most loyal music buyers around.

    When faced with the shear numbers Wal-Mart brings to the table, does loyalty actually matter? That's the problem here. A thousand loyal indie store customers are trumped by a million disloyal Wal-Mart customers. This is a business about making money, not about keeping indie shops afloat.
     

    Regardless of your answer to the above question, if I have 100 customers, and 90 of them buy my product through Wal-Mart and other large chains, I would concentrate on selling to the large chain stores. That number is just a guess, but I suspect it's fairly close. My guess is that EMI looked at their distribution costs versus the number of customers reached and decided, "These indie stores just aren't worth the distribution costs." I can't really blame them. It sucks, but I can't blame them. Distributing a physical product costs money, and what better way to cut down on distribution costs than to ship to your two or three largest customers and make the indie stores obtain your product from there, at their own expense.
     

    From the article:

    It's a odd turn of events for EMI, adding another blow to its physical CD sales while inversely arguing that illegal file-sharing is the real culprit behind declining revenues. If its concerned with losses then why get rid of customers? It just doesn't make any sense.

    This is a rare case of the music industry--well, at least EMI--moving away from a business model we all know is outdated, and people are still complaining? And no, phasing out CD sales has nothing to do with illegal file sharing. There are better, cheaper, more convenient, DRM-free options out there, like iTunes and Amazon MP3. They aren't trying to push away their customers; they are trying to encourage people to either buy from stores with cheap distribution costs or buy from digital stores with even cheaper distribution costs.
     

    I don't like the record industry, and I think the tactics they use are despicable. That said, it's stories like this that make me think they just can't win sometimes. The article makes it sound like EMI is a big mean company trying to crush indie competition, when in reality EMI is itself a business trying to keep costs down and phase out a wasteful distribution system. Give them a break.
     

    Cue anti-RIAA downmods.... now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by koreaman (835838)

      iTunes may be cheaper and more convenient, but how is buying a crippled (lossily compressed) file "better"?

      Even if your ears can't tell the difference, you still won't be able to do things like transcode it to other formats, or play it on the high-quality sound system you might buy someday.

    • by twostix (1277166) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @02:14AM (#28878451)

      In the days when free market capitalism wasn't a dirty word and huge corporations didn't think they had a birth right to cashflow and generally worked hard to make money - 10 or 20 cents profit per CD would have still been seen as profit and worth working for.

      Must be nice to have so much money that they can refuse to service customers because it requires some work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogjobber (880402)

      IMHO one of the main reasons the big four record industry goes through such dramatic slumps is because they do not pursue hardcore music fans. They make so much money off of blockbuster albums that they ignore building up a diverse portfolio of talented musicians that are consistently profitable but will never sell millions of records. They only market and promote music that teenagers or preteens like, or bands that are already famous. Everything else they pretty much leave alone. Even though very few ar

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Joe Mucchiello (1030)

        They've been doing this for decades! Name a recent band who has a hit album as their 5th or later release from a major label. Can't be done with more than a handful of bands that first hit in the 90s or later. It started in the 90s. Bands would get good advertising and good pushes for their first three albums and then they were on their own to pull in their existing fans. Today you get one album and then the labels move on the next group. But the trend started over 20 years ago. The only "mature" bands that

  • I can rid myself of EMI. I generally avoid RIAA member released CD's, but occasionally will buy one from one if it is something I really want. One thing I refuse to do however is to buy from the Walmart, Target or BB's of the world. EMI has made a difficult choice for me, and it isn't in their favor.
    • Pearl Jam dropped their label, and now will exclusively be in Target (as far as national brands go). Do you feel better now?
  • by JudasBlue (409332) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @01:51AM (#28878325)

    One stops are mid level distributors that carry product from multiple labels. Somewhere the person writing this article got very confused by what is going on here.

    If you look at the article comments there is a guy there who is also pointing this out.

    Not saying EMI isn't annoying as are most of the labels, but this article is seriously confused.

  • News Just In:

    2nd hand gossip about unverified phone conversation to unknown persons passes for news at slashdot...oh wait...

  • "Too many outlets in and out"
  • Educate kids, expose them to everything from Bach to bluegrass and widen their tastes. Make them realise the stuff peddled by the big chains is actually junk produced by performers whose only real merit to the RIAA members is that they are contracted to them. That will in the long term destroy the RIAA, because their business model works by trying to reduce the range of what consumers buy. The logic behind that being that they can create a monopoly only by restricting what the customers want. Anybody anywhe
  • by Cougem (734635) on Thursday July 30, 2009 @03:28AM (#28878825)
    EMI were a wonderful company once. They were not a mere record label, they were a leading electronics company. They developed the UK's first transistor-based computer, but arguable even more important is they helped Hounsfield develop his CAT scanner. The first CT machine was no the Siemes/General electric stuff we see today, it was an EMI. EMI have developed a machine that will probably save more lives than any drug (bar anti-biotics), for a tiny price (per scan).

    How the mighty have fallen.
  • I actually don't want to talk about piracy (since neither side can understand each other), but inability to get hold of "your special interest" CDs force people to piracy, as I will show here.

    I was on a education for 8 weeks and meet a person who truly was against piracy, really angry against pirates (of music, he didn't care at all about movies and so on) as he are a true music lover.
    He spend his life devoted to listening to music, all he was talking about.
    We had a great time arguing over the subject of pi

    • by jimicus (737525)

      That my convenience level against my morals are favoring me to piracy a lot easier, not that I don't want to pay (I really do), but no one wants my money in the way I want (to buy) my music.

      There's got to be a business opportunity right there. Producing a CD, printing the album cover and shipping on demand. There are on-demand publishers, so whyever not?

  • There's been buzz this week [msn.com] about the labels having finally persuaded Apple to offer a digitally-distributed "album" including liner notes, videos, ring tones, etc.

    So if you're the labels, you create the digital package, let Apple (and presumably others, either right away or down the line) distribute a gazillion copies at no incremental cost to you... and you ship a container-load of CDs to WalMart for people who're still using 25-year-old technology.

    Looks like they're just preparing for the shift away from

  • Isn't this just EMI saying they'll no longer send out small shipments because it isn't viable for them so you have to buy from a large wholesaler instead?

    I thought this was standard practice for most industries.
  • by HikingStick (878216) <z01riemerNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Thursday July 30, 2009 @08:11AM (#28880751)

    One wonders when the Music Business is going to run out of feet to shoot?

    Seeing as they are a bunch of snakes, I don't believe they had any feet with which to begin.

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