Tuesday, 15 January 2008

EMI and the Long Tail

This line caught my eye in the interview with Terra Firma's Guy Hands in the FT yesterday:

Mr Hands hinted at a clear-out of EMI Music's roster of 14,000 artists, saying just 200 of them made most of its revenues each year.

This sounds like someone trying to focus on the 'bankers' that sell well, rather than less popular artists who are hit and miss. How then does this fit in with the brave new world of the Long Tail? It seems like EMI could go in the opposite direction.

I realise EMI isn't an online business, but those it sells music to are. Weren't online music retailers one example of the long tail in practice? But if EMI isn't going to keep less popular artists on the books, how is their music going to end up getting liscenced on iTunes etc? Or am I missing something?


Skuds said...

Absolutely right. Very short-sighted of EMI. Look at the graphs and you see that the long tail has greater value than the, um, short body?

That was already the case with sites like Amazon. If I felt a sudden need for anything a little obscure I knew it would be on Amazon but not in my local HMV.

With the move to more downloading its even more profitable as there is no need to keep any physical stock of old Sensational Alex Harvey Band LPs just on the off-chance that someone might buy one and carry the risk of being stuck with it for longer.

Someone buying up the rights to those 14,000 artists' music could make a killing if they are prepared to wait.

Tom P said...

It's a strange move, but everything you read about EMI at the moment seems to be bad news of one kind or another (like Robbie Williams withdrawing his labour!).

Maybe Guy Hands is content with EMI becoming the Wal-Mart of music