Friday, December 15, 2006

Shouldn’t the Record Companies love iPods???

Why are record company executives such morons? I mean, seriously.

They sit in their corner offices and espouse all this hatred toward music lovers; specifically, music lovers to take their music with them on portable music players.

Universal CEO David Morris is quoted as saying: "These devices are repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it." These executives are suggesting that a surcharge be added to every iPod, Zune, Sansa and every other portable music player sold. Microsoft has already caved, sending $1.00 for every Zune sold to the record companies. Are you kidding me???

The problem with the music industry isn't stolen music. Check most iPods. They aren't filled with stolen tracks. They are filled with music ripped from the user's personal CD collection (perfectly legal). They are filled with songs purchased from iTunes for 99 cents. iTunes has sold over a billion songs. And the record companies got their cut.

No, the problem isn't this so-called stolen music.

The record companies still can't get over their early rage about Napster and it's free music file sharing. They still assume every music lover is a thief and are trying to make them pay for their indiscretions.

Maybe the record companies should be thankful that music lovers care enough about their music to go through the hassle of ripping their CD's. The record companies should embrace these new technologies and make it easier for music lovers to get a hold of the music they love. iTunes (and other online music stores) are a great start, but there are still problems with Digital Rights Management and competing file formats. Most music lovers would like to think that once they purchase a song, they can do anything they want with it. Purchased a song on iTunes and want to load it onto your new Zune? Too bad.

Microsoft is trying to make it easier for music lovers to find new music. Their Zune digital media player has a cool new feature that allows users to send songs to one another wirelessly. It's a great idea, and the record companies should be thrilled in this innovative new way to spread their product around. If a friend was to send me a song and I liked it, my next logical step is to purchase more of their songs or their CD. But the record companies are so paranoid about this music sharing that they forced Microsoft to put restrictions on this sharing technology – so much so that the feature is essentially useless. I had a band a few (okay many) years ago. We never signed a recording contract, but if I wanted to send my music to my friends, I would be met with the same restrictions as a Jay-Z song. How can that be?

Instead of investing all of their time, money and energy in fighting these so-called music thieves, the record companies should invest in finding quality artists who can produce quality music. With the "music" they are producing these days, even 99 cents for a song feels like a rip-off.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Free Agent Signings

The Royals have been making a splash over the last two days. They signed pitcher Gil Meche to a 5 year, $55 Million contract, and reportedly have also signed close Octavio Dotel. The Royals are still pursuing Miguel Bautista as well.

A lot of folks are a bit up in arms over the amount of money the Royals are giving to Meche. Meche has been an average pitcher of the last few years, but is only 28 years old and still shows promise. But is he worth $55 million? Probably not.

But Royals GM Dayton Moore not only needs to rebuild the team’s on the field success, but also the perception of the organization. Signing Meche will not put the Royals in the World Series this season. But what it does is it tells the rest of baseball that the Royals are not the same anymore.

The Royals are telling the rest of baseball that they no longer will accept being the door mat. They are aggressively spending money to improve themselves. By signing players like Meche and Dotel, it improves the impression to the rest of the players, and next year or the year after it suddenly becomes much easier to attract players.

It’s the same tact the Tigers used after losing 119 games in 2003. They spent way too much money on players, but they were able to attract players and three years later it paid off with a World Series.

If Moore can stabilize the pitching, and the young players all come along over the next two years, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the Royals will be contending in a year or two.

That’s the hope, anyway.