Tuesday, 14 July 2009

EMI shoot selves in foot

Sometimes writing how the music industry get it wrong is really really easy.

Take today. EMI have announced they're going to stop selling CDs to independent record shops. The reports are from the states, but the ramifications are still big.

The large shops, especially in the US, feature almost exclusively top 40 releases. It's the indie shops, as featured in Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" that feed the powerful long tail of the industry - the people looking for catalogue titles, obscure titles or help with finding something in particular that an acne-scarred Wal-Mart teen won't be able to help out with.

I used to shop in a number of record shops - Record Time, Memories and Melodies, Repeat the Beat, etc. - in the greater Detroit area back in the day and NONE of them were remotely chain shops and all of them had the most knowledgeable staff you'd ever want to meet. I imagine I ended up buying more music via chats and their recommendations than I would ever have just shopping at Harmony House or Wal-Mart.

Now indies aren't completely out of the loop. They just have to source their stock from third parties, as EMI's decision seems to revolve around cost cutting. This is pretty much akin to you or I going to a shop and buying stock then trying to resell it without people wondering why they don't just get rid of the middle man.

If the labels really want to piss off the hand that feeds (well feeds outside the here today gone tomorrow top 40), they're doing a really good job.

It's hard enough surviving in the current economic climate without your suppliers pulling a fast one on you.
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