Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien: “The recording industry dragged its feet over digital”

by Jonathan on January 21, 2010

Ed O'Brien

Ed and his awesome beard

Ed O’Brien will be speaking at the MIDEM 2010 Music Conference this week and has given an interview which you can watch. Here is part of the interview:

“I have a problem when people in the industry say ‘it’s killing the industry, it’s the thing that’s ripping us apart’. I don’t actually believe it is … (Pirates) might not buy analbum, but they’re spending their money buying concert tickets, a t-shirt, whatever.

It’s an analogue business model in a digital era. The business model has to change. You’ve got to license out more music – have more Spotifys, more websites selling more music. You’ve got to make it slightly cheaper to get music in order to compete with the peer-to-peers.

“BitTorrent is very utilitarian, it’s deeply unsexy. The Richard Branson of nowadays would be able to set up a really amazing website for 14- to 24-year-olds that deals with their music … and do something really innovative and make it really easy for people to buy music, and cheap.

“A lot of 14-to 17-year-olds don’t have credit cards, so how are they going to get music digitally? These are very, very, very basic issues – I find it staggering that the industry seems to be really dragging its heels on this –this is stuff that you could do in one week. Move quicker!

“That’s been the whole problem in the last 10 years. Why are we here now? Because the recording industry dragged its feet over digital.”

See the whole interview here.

(via paidContent)

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  • maybe

    it’s good to see that thom’s not the only one to open his mouth and defend a position. a position i totally support.
    you’re awesome ed. and the beard, man… love the two patches of white. wild!

  • Paul

    The industry invented the commercial internet, softwares and hardwares. It invented cd, dvd and blu-ray burners. It invented recordable cd, dvd and blu-ray media. And it decided to sell it all to you so you could burn them! It invents new ways of making money every day. Of course it is not dying. The industry knew it would create the file sharing and pirate world we live in. And, most of all, they knew that for people to share files and pirate products they would have to invest money to be directly injected where? In the industry’s veins! What a surprise, isn’t it? The low sales numbers it shows is just to toy with people’s mind, to play innocent. It knows what it’s doing and what part of the story it’s telling. And it is not the whole story. It knows the rules of the game it’s playing. And, above all, the industry knows how to make money.

  • Denise

    Finally a celebrity has the courage to say the truth: the model has to change.
    And I’ve always heard that the bands don’t get enough money selling their cd/dvd: that money goes to the records industry.
    All they get are from the concert’s tickets.

  • man of word

    I am the INDUSTRY

  • Daniel

    Nice. I really think In Rainbows itself, considering the distribution method, is the end-discussion proof of what he’s saying here. Good to see stuff like this from people with higher profiles than the average user and their blog. The only thing killing the industry is the industry. Its not dying from P2P, its dying because so little is worth buying. That’s the great thing about the digital age: we can essentially own something before we decide if we want to pay for it. Sadly, while its what those with good tastes (i.e. Radiohead fans) have known all along, few bands can actually deliver when faced with that task. If you want to become “famous” by delivering a one-hit wonder catering to trends-of-the-moment, having little concern if what you do is in any way original, creatively rich, or even classifiable as “music,” then expect your sales to reflect such.

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