Over at Ars Technica, Eric Bangeman reports that a judge has ordered record labels to cough up actual figures on download expenses, and that the damages sought by the RIAA are unconstitutionally excessive. Duh. But in a double smackdown, showing that the music industry is a giant, painful learning lesson of what not to do in every sense with regard to digital media and the Internet, New York Magazine gives a nice opinion piece about Universal Music Group CEO Doug Morris’ admission to Wired that they never even bothered to put a digital media strategy together until it was too late to make a strategy. He’s a prime example of the dying media dinosaur, and everything they’re taking to their tar-coated graves. It’s, like, so cute when they flagrantly disregard technology and consumers!
In Ars Technica’s Judge tells record labels to cough up download expenses, we learn that the wholesale price of music (not previously disclosed) is a mere .70 a song. And if damages are as they suggest no more than ten times the 70-cent loss, then file sharers would only have to pay $7.00 per shared song. Snip:
(…) Beckerman has argued that the RIAA’s actual damages are in the neighborhood of 70¢ per song, less than 0.1 percent of the minimum statutory damages provided for by the Copyright Act. The RIAA initially fought to keep its wholesale pricing secret, but its lead counsel has since admitted that the 70¢ figure is in the right neighborhood. Beckerman would like to see any damages capped at no more than 10 times the amount of actual damages should infringement be proven.
But the real laugh-a-minute is over at New York Magazine in Universal Music CEO Doug Morris Speaks, Recording Industry in Even Deeper Shit Than We Thought, where we get to read:
In a way, he almost comes off as cute, like if your grandfather were accidentally hired to run Google (at one point, Morris hilariously compares his embattled industry to a character in “Li’l Abner,” a comic strip that stopped running in 1977).
As for his actual digital strategy, it’s pretty much what we expected — Morris’s singular goal these days is to limit the power of Steve Jobs and iTunes. He puts most of his energy into designing Universal’s own Internet music store (Total Music, which is definitely doomed to fail), cutting deals with Apple competitor Microsoft for a piece of those massive Zune profits, and heroically doing all he can to make it even more difficult for consumers to justify paying for music online. But then he says something so ridiculous it sort of blows our minds. (…)