In a Q&A session on popular Internet message forum Reddit, EMI Music’s VP of Urban Promotions, Craig Davis, did the unthinkable: He proved that someone in the music industry has a clue.
Mr. Davis was asked his opinion on the rash of proposed global Internet blacklisting legislation being debated in the U.S. Congress such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. The record exec’s response was surprisingly reasonable:
However, I do believe that a person should be compensated for their work. I feel that piracy is a big issue, and things like Spotify will assist in combating this problem.
Gabe Newell is correct, it's a service issue not an issue of money. Sales have gone up from sales concerts and merchandise, it's obvious that our fans still love music. We're just not giving them their music in an easier way.”
Davis’ reference to Gabe Newell is especially poignant. Newell is the guiding force behind Valve Software, owners of the Steam digital distribution platform for video games.
Gabe Newell made waves in the digital sales world by successfully opening up to the Russian market, long left untouched by many companies as a suspected hotbed of piracy. Newell brought Steam to Russian with the belief that the Russian piracy problem was due to lack of proper service rather than a popular mindset. He believed that if Valve could provide goods to the people that wanted them in a convenient form at a fair price, people would pay. The industry thought is was folly. Valve made a fortune.
While it is beyond refreshing to see someone so connected with the RIAA have a close encounter with Slappy the Clue-by-Four, don’t hold your breath on things changing. Craig Davis’ comments were his own and not to be taken a corporate policy for the music company. Furthermore, EMI is currently in the process of being devoured by Universal Music and it is very possible we will never hear from the enlightened Mr. Davis on this topic again.