Innovate Versus Litigate

I’m no Harvard MBA or highly paid business analyst. I’m a simple information technologist who has many hobbies and interests.

One thing I love is music. For many years I’ve paid attention to the inner workings of the music industry. The most interesting development in my life time besides CDs is the development of the MP3. MP3’s have changed the who, what, where, how and why people listen to music.

Unfortunately, there have been a lot of issues with the adoption of this new technology. But it is natural that whenever technology changes the way people in a society interacts with an important product or service they want there are always adoption pains.

From my perspective it seems as though the music industry under the RIAA leadership has taken the wrong approach to dealing with the growing pains. Napster is a common word in our language because it attempted to provide a service people wanted. The response to the desire of the consumer wasn’t to embrace and innovate new technologies to supply the demand for digital music, but to litigate the innovators out of business and consumer’s consumption practices.

Surely, Napster could have done a better job at working with the RIAA before providing the technology to the consumer, but I dare say we wouldn’t have iPOD and iTUNES had the Naptser’s of the world not started the revolution in the first place.

It just seems odd to me that the businesses that the RIAA represent could do a much better job at managing the revolution than they are doing. Case in point to this mis-management is the debate they are engaging in with Apple. In a pcpro.co.uk article, it reports that Warner Music executive, Edgar Bronfman, wants to dictate pricing for Apple music downloads and a piece of the iPOD revenues.

Now I don’t want to bore you with example after example. But, if you do your own research you’ll find that the record companies are out of touch with technology and their consumers.

Sure, many times in the business world you have to resort to litigating issues in a court of law to resolve disputes. However, when it comes to the quandary the music industry finds themselves in today, I think they would be better off spending their money on innovative technology engineers rather than lawyers.

If I were them I’d choose innovation over litigation.

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