Op-Ed: More Hands/EMI – By Bob Lefsetz

Venerable music industry Website hitsdailydouble is reporting that Guy Hands is installing a motley crew of newbies to run his recently acquired EMI in the United States. While he's at it, why doesn't he fire Jason Flom and give the gig to his nephew. Yup, the young pup has probably bought a few CDs, he's a FUCKING EXPERT!

Who do we blame for this sorry state of affairs. Wherein everybody who's ever heard a tune is qualified to run a major record label, as if there's no expertise involved. What's next, amateur surgeons? Me running Apple? Hell, I've been a Mac user for twenty odd years, I've pored over David Pogue's "Missing Manual", I've been to CNET, I'm an EXPERT!

You install the publisher of a fucking MAGAZINE? Last I checked, magazines themselves were on the brink of extinction, having lost advertising, readers flocking to the Web. That's what I think of when I listen to music, "People" magazine. And a guy from CLEAR CHANNEL? If terrestrial radio were any good, the major labels wouldn't be up shit's creek. It's stations' formulaic programming, littered with endless commercials, that killed the business. You just can't HEAR new music. As for giving a songwriter a gig, why not hire Thom Yorke. He seems to know a lot about the business this week. But truly, a great songwriter is a shitty businessman. It's INHERENT!

God, EMI needed a makeover. And to have a financial guy on top is not the worst turn of events. He sees the problems. But to throw out decades of experience to install newbies shows that Mr. Hands is not only clueless when it comes to the business, he has no respect for it.

I'll lambaste the majors for their failure to operate in the present, but I won't say the issues facing them aren't thorny. If there were a perfect solution, they'd execute. But the murkiness is what leaves them flummoxed and unable to move. We need boldness, not ineptitude. Allow those with experience a chance to fail. Don't hand over the keys to people who have no clue how to drive.

Now this is printed in hitsdailydouble's rumor mill. But most times, the rumor mill turns out to be fact. If this is true, you can count EMI out, it's a laughingstock. To get rid of Roger Ames is to let go of the ONE person in the operation who truly understands the economics, where the money is buried, how you MAKE money with a record company. You don't fire the financial wizard to put in liberal arts thinkers.

As for the underlings, the worker bees, WHO WANTS TO REPORT TO THESE FUCKS! Yup, I work at the Capitol Music Group. I report to people who've got NO CLUE! Talk about eviscerating morale.

Now if you installed people who knew money, I'd feel better about this overhaul. But giving the reins to these nincompoops is even dumber than Edgar Bronfman, Jr. handing over Warner to Lyor Cohen. A guy on his way out at IDJ. A king of intimidation in a new age where that quality is no longer king. Bronfman hired a soldier, when he needed a general. Hands appears to be hiring the guys from the university when he needs experienced men from the office.

And where's the tech expertise for someone going on about the backward business? Where's someone under thirty? Where's Mark Zuckerberg?

The stupidity of those running the record business never ceases to amaze me. Young 'uns with new ideas, you've just been handed the future of this business, BY DEFAULT!

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