Ged Carroll @r_c

Autumn of the Moguls by Michael Wolff

Published: (Updated: ) in 书评 | oprah time | 서평, 传播媒体 | media | 미디어, 商业 | business | 상업 by .

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I have been working my way through Michael Wolff’s new book Autumn of the Moguls and found some of it very predictable. Its obsession with disfunctionality amongst business leaders including Eisner and Messier.One thing that did strike a chord with me was the way technology had moved from saving the record industry from itself to becoming the industry’s kryptonite. Around about 1984 or so, the music industry had hit paydirt as Joe Public moved from their analogue recordings on 8-tracks, cassettes and vinyl on to CDs. Artists of the 1960s and 1970s were the money spinners, reputedly there was one CD factory in Germany that did nothing but make copies of Pink Floyd’s Dark side of the Moon.

Autumn of The Moguls highlights how this model then collapsed.

Then the internet came along and the record companies were slow to take advantage of this technology so the consumers did. Instead the industry created a huge knee jerk reaction blaming the customer for their own mistakes. From pages 283 and 284:

File sharing replaced radio as the engine of music culture.

It wasn’t just that it was free music – radio offered free music. But whatever you wanted was free, whenever you wanted it. The Internet is music consumerism run amok, resulting not only in billions of dollars in lost sales but in an endless bifurcation of taste. The universe fragmented into subuniverses, and then sub-subuniverses. The music industry, which depends on large numbers of people with similar interests for its profit margins, now had to deal with an ever-growing number of fans with increasingly diverse and eccentric interests.

Not a unique challenge, clothes manufacturers, car companies et cetera all have had to deal with the fragmentation of consumer interests. There is no longer any such thing as the teenager, when do people now get old? These are all similar challenges. The fear in Autumn of The Moguls isn’t piracy, it’s the ability of these businesses to manage themselves and adjust to a post modern society.

My own take on this is that the music industry has failed:

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