On this Thursday morning at Ears To The House HQ, we all feel like Dennis Nedry. You might remember him from the 1993 film Jurassic Park. In an exchange with Lewis Dodgson, he says “Dodgson! Dodgson! We’ve got Dodgson here!” to no response from surrounding people. To which Nedry replies with “See? Nobody cares.”.
Which is how we basically felt on seeing the latest Music Business Worldwide podcast – something we occasionally listen to. This week, the podcast are discussing an issue which will truly tug at the heart strings – so long as your names are Lucian Grainge, Rob Stringer or Stephen Cooper. Yes, they’re having a chat about the threat to the market share of the streaming cash cow for the majors.
Apparently, the majors are getting increasingly annoyed about DIY distribution platforms, who prioritise independent music over whatever rubbish the majors are generally peddling at that moment in time. And not only have people started to take notice they’ve got other options, but they’re using them too.
Their attitude is entirely understandable, however. Because they have no new ideas of their own – and they haven’t in decades. Illegal downloading on the internet only took off because the majors showed no interest in creating a legal way of doing it until it was too late. Then Daniel Ek basically saved their backsides in the late 2000s with streaming – something which the major labels piggy-backed onto with glee.
Not content with owning shares in Spotify for years and having their artists constantly promoted ahead of everyone else, the majors are now thinking of demanding Daniel Ek pays them more money to compensate for the fact more people are going to other streaming outlets which prioritise the independents instead. Has any of them stopped for a moment to consider what would happen if Ek said no? Are they going to turn around and start their own streaming services instead – having to create a new platform, advertise it and get people to pay for it all over again?
It honestly remains a mystery to Ears To The House how the majors still even exist. And if it’s seriously the best brains in the business who are in charge of things, that mystery has just got a whole lot deeper…